It is a hectic time of year. As someone in the US, the drama surrounding the November 2022 elections got to me. Holidays are around the corner. Even though I’ve gotten my latest COVID vaccine booster and my flu shot, it seems like everyone I know is getting sick with something. Not to mention jumping back into a job I loved again and needing to get up to speed, making sure I’m doing all I can for people who depend upon me. It can get to be a lot. Which is why I’m more thankful than ever Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation – The Endless Seven-Day Journey released this year and can’t recommend it enough.
Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation is basically a Boku no Natsuyasumi game with Crayon Shin-chan flavoring. That means the goal is to “be.” It is summer vacation. Shin-chan is in a tiny rural village called Assou for a week. Do whatever you want while you are there. Spend your days how you’d like. Catch bugs. Fish. Talk with people around you. Buy snacks. Get involved in folks’ lives. It is a game about experiences. Don’t save scum. Take things as they come. When you’re done, go back for another week.
Not unlike Animal Crossing titles, Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation does give you both spoken and unspoken goals. Restaurants put up bulletin boards asking for certain vegetables. Shin-chan can grow things at Kurokami farm to meet those requests for pocket money. There are Fish and Insect Encyclopediae to fill up. (To make things easy, there’ll be a sparkle when you see certain new bugs, as a way to let you know that you need this one. It means there’s still thought and effort required to accomplish tasks or make a difference. However, there’s no pressure on you to do it.
What I also loved is that while this is a Shin-chan game, it is welcoming to those unfamiliar with the series. All you need to know is he’s a smart aleck kid. His precocious quips are kept to a minimum, and he’s never malicious. Rather, he’s a spunky lil’ dude getting a chance to make a small town his own. The humor from the series isn’t overwhelming. It comes up from time to time. The thing is that if it bothers you, it’s usually a quick aside before you get the chance to move on and take in more of the town.
However if you do want to embrace that silliness, there’s that too! A good example is the dash button. It uses Shin-chan’s “butt dance” to send him zipping around the screen. But in a more tasteful and minimalistic adjustment, it’s the ability to determine how verbose he gets when chronicling his adventures. “Fastball” lays things out in a matter of fact way. You see the picture commemorating the memory and the facts. If you go with a Curveball, more of Shin-chan’s personal flavor is added to the description. While not always “funny,” it is always more memorable.
There even is a chance a chance to be competitive or get a little more “into” things. There are Dino Cards in Chocobi. If you get cards, you can fight children with your dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Shodown minigame. But again, the execution means it feels much less stressful than other card games. The stakes are low. You’re fighting literal children. It’s fine if you only use dinosaurs you like or don’t make a heavy investment into collecting cards.
Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation is a delight for the same reason Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Stardew Valley remain so welcoming. It is a way to escape to a perpetually pleasant world. There’s a slower paced life here. It’s one filled with joy, friends, family, and an optional “to-do list” you can chuck by the wayside. It’s a delight, and the kind of game that will remain timeless as a result.