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Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation - The Endless Seven-Day Journey (Switch) Review

by Alex Culafi - August 22, 2022, 7:19 am EDT
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Japanese preschool journalism simulator.

I don’t know Japanese, but I often wish I did. There are a lot of cool games out there that never see an official English translation for one reason or another. I became a fan of the Yakuza series around 2010. Prior to it becoming a tentpole Sega franchise, we had to wait three years to see Yakuza 5 translated for Western release (and digital only at first!). I have imported many other games that were less lucky (looking at you, Yo-kai Watch 4).

Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation - The Endless Seven-Day Journey feels like a game that was supposed to remain in Japan. It’s a slice-of-life adventure game starring the main character of 30-plus year old gag manga Crayon Shin-chan. It is also a spiritual successor to the Boku no Natsuyasumi (“My Summer Vacation”) series by developer Millennium Kitchen. These games, which each follow a Japanese child through a summer vacation in rural Japan, never made it West; the only game from this developer that previously has is Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale on the 3DS eShop.

I’ve wanted to play a Boku no Natsuyasumi game for a very long time, so I am extremely happy that this title made it worldwide. The final product is good – sometimes extremely good! It’s also flawed in a number of ways, and it ran out of steam a bit by the time I rolled credits.

Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation follows five-year-old Shinnosuke Nohara on a one-week trip to visit his mother’s childhood friend in a rural community named “Asso” (a play on real-life Japanese city Aso). When the Nohara family arrives at their destination, a mad professor gives Shinnosuke a camera that produces an illustration each time it takes a photo. Everything proceeds as normal on the vacation until that same professor starts using time travel technology to summon dinosaurs with the intention of wreaking havoc.

This is the overarching plot defining the game, but it’s played mostly for goofs. In reality, once you settle into the hosting family’s home, you can kind of do whatever you like.

The game is a third-person fixed camera adventure game (think old Resident Evil) where you go from one area to the next in service of exploring Asso. Broken down into a day and night cycle, you wake up, do some morning exercises and eat breakfast as a family. You are then let loose to do whatever you like.

You can catch fish and bugs, deliver goods to small businesses in order to earn cash, talk to members of the community in order to learn more about them and the town, and do other little activities like a fun rock-paper-scissors turn-based battler that pits dinosaurs against each other.

My personal favorite is the newspaper subplot run by Cap, the elder patriarch of the family you’re visiting. As you complete quests (catch X number of bugs or do X task, etc.) and progress the main plot, you can submit this progress to the newspaper as “articles” which gain readership and progress a funny storyline of Shinnosuke trying to win a date with a young staffer. Well, mostly funny other than a late game plot development that dips into mildly uncomfortable territory.

These days take about 20 to 30 minutes on average (you can tweak day length in settings) and are followed by a 5 or so minute night segment where you can check in on characters before going to bed.

The experience of playing Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation is overwhelmingly chill. Most of the gameplay is fairly simple – the bug and fish catching is a heavily reduced version of what you do in Animal Crossing, for example – and most of what you do is exploring and talking to people to progress a low-stakes story.

It’s incredibly relaxing though, and the experience of running across a rolling field or watching your dad drink a beer against the dim glow of a restaurant beverage machine is something special. At its peak, the best moments here pull me back to the best moments of playing Animal Crossing on GameCube for the first time as a kid. The game is outright beautiful, and its sound design is top notch.

This is bolstered by a strong cast of characters, each with their own little stories. Although it’s based on a silly comedy manga, everyone feels grounded enough that I got invested in the little moments of drama occurring across town.

It can also be pretty cute and funny at times, though I feel the jokes could have been punched up a tad. The main bit, for instance, is just Shinnosuke mishearing what an adult said ad nauseum (dangerously close to “Exercise? I thought you said extra fries!”). I’ve seen the anime enough to know that the game is somewhat in line with Crayon Shin-Chan humor, but the comedy aspect of this franchise felt underutilized here.

At the end of the week when Shinnosuke and his family leave to go home, the professor uses his time travel abilities to reset the week – hence the “endless” part of the title. The week then keeps repeating until the core narrative is resolved. It took me a little more than eight hours across a few loops to resolve the story, but I was fully engaged with the game’s features so I don’t know if it could take four or five loops for someone else to resolve everything. I’m guessing it’s pretty much on rails, based on my experience.

Either way, this brings me to my biggest knock against Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation. While it makes a really compelling package out of limited gameplay features, it runs out of steam by the end of the story. By the beginning of my final week, I had fully finished the bulk of the available sidequests and was just running out the day’s clock to see the story progress and wrap up. There are also some cutscenes and dialogue bits that more or less repeat weekly and/or daily that drag the pace down, and players will have fully squeezed the juice from this game’s map by that point.

I also took small issue with the game’s fixed camera perspective. While I’m aware that this is how other Millenium Kitchen games are, I was regularly entering the wrong screen because of the game’s slightly confusing orientation. When day progression is locked to screen changing, it gets a bit annoying. I don’t dislike the perspective itself, but the navigation needs a bit of work.

Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation - The Endless Seven-Day Journey is good and sometimes great. If you love old Animal Crossing and modern Persona games, the slice of life experience here may get its hooks into you quite deep. It’s not perfect though, and I think your mileage is going to vary on some of its slower aspects. Still, I can’t believe this was released worldwide in the first place. What a time to be alive.


  • Beautiful visuals and sound
  • Chill, nostalgic vibes up the wazoo
  • Grounded, likable characters and story
  • A couple sus plot points
  • Runs out of steam by the end
  • Slightly confusing navigation at times

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Game Profile

Genre Adventure

Worldwide Releases

na: Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation
Release Aug 11, 2022
jpn: Crayon Shin-Chan's Summer Vacation
Release Jul 15, 2021
RatingAll Ages
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