The latest Shin-Chan game, also called Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation has a special place in my heart for various reasons. Primarily because this is a Boku No Natsuyasumi game set in the iconic world of the 4Koma manga of the same name. And the game delivers just that, a cosy, adventure game.
While the developers got the first aspect of the title correct: providing a cosy experience, the PC port is disappointing. Made and published by Neos Corporation, Shin-Chan: Me and the Professor makes a beautiful summer vacation frustrating because of the PC port.
Step in the footsteps of Shin-Chan
The title makes players play as Shin-Chan, the five-year-old main character visiting his mother Misae’s friend’s house in Asso. On the way with his family, he meets a professor who hands him over a camera allowing him to make pictures taken as stickers. And thus, Shin-Chan’s month-long summer vacation begins in Asso, running around taking pictures of bugs, fishes and more.
The overall game, including the story and the art style, has Boku no Natsuyasumi written all over it. Boku no Natsuyasumi was a Japan-only PlayStation title where players lived through a summer vacation doing things like catching bugs, fishing and more.
This title near-perfectly emulates that feeling, starting from the setting of Asso to the tasks given to players. Writer and Designer Kaz Ayabe uses his knowledge from Natusuyasumi games and applies it to this title, hitting that sweet spot in the process.
On top of this, I cannot stress enough how beautiful this game looks. The game uses a mix between 3D spaces and 2D spaces, presenting everything like water-coloured artwork, giving the title a familiar feeling of cosiness hardly seen in modern titles. I once started feeling nostalgic about my childhood during the summer vacation because of the art style.
Live the Summer the way you want
The credit for the cosy feeling also goes to the simple and laidback gameplay that the title introduces. Since the theme is Shin-Chan enjoying a vacation, we do things synonymous with summer vacations. Players can do the main storyline at their own pace, presented as chapters.
Most of the gameplay boils down to exploration and tasks like catching bugs, fishing, growing crops and running errands for people in town. These errands involve gathering veggies or items for them to do their job. Doing these tasks rewards players with Yen, which they can use to buy items.
It is worth pointing out that while the game is pretty lenient on exploration and gives players the freedom to do things at their pace, it gets restricted by a timer. There are two things which players need to keep an eye out for: the stamina bar.
If it drops down to zero, Shin-Chan will faint, skipping the time to the next day. Replenishing stamina requires players to buy snacks and eat them. Buying snacks requires Yen. Hence, it is necessary to do these errands as they provide the means to purchase items. The other is the natural time of the day.
End of the day, players get to add their adventures and findings to a diary, which documents Shin-Chan’s journey. This scrapbook also gets used to publish news in the game’s newspaper company, which provides monies.
The overall loop of the game is playing through Shin-Chan’s summer vacation, letting players explore the town of Asso at their own pace and get engrossed in the atmosphere. If one expects a fast-paced, action-packed experience here, they will be sorely disappointed.
The PC port is Barebones
While the overall game does a stellar job in its presentation and themes, the PC port is disappointing. It is so barebones and low-effort that if Gordon Ramsey looked at it, he probably would’ve screamed, calling it raw.
I tested the title on a Ryzen 2600, paired with RTX 3060 and 16 GB RAM. Performance-wise, the game ran effortlessly on 60 frames. The problem begins when you go to the graphic settings of the title. There is none.
The only thing changeable is the resolution of the title, which maxed out at 1080p. So, no 4K for people who own the monitor. Apart from resolution, players can change the output of the game from Fullscreen, Windowed and Exclusive Fullscreen and the ability to turn off v-sync.
The biggest frustration is the button inputs for DualShock. Someone at the studio thought using Nintendo Switch input prompts for a PlayStation controller is a great idea for an International release. The circle on the controller gets used to confirm, with X used for going back.
The game allows rebinding of keys, but surprise, rebinding doesn’t change any of the inputs. None. It still defaults to the original DualShock inputs, even though the updated prompts show up in-game. Furthermore, L1 never worked in my game, which is annoying because that button is used for going back. I prefer using controllers for games like these on PC, and the above-mentioned problems frankly add to the frustration.
And it doesn’t help the cause when the title is priced almost the same as an average AAA title for the most-world but cannot get the basics correct.
Closing Thoughts on Shin-Chan: Me and the Professor On Summer Vacation
I have very mixed opinions about whether I should suggest Shin-Chan: Me and the Professor On Summer Vacation to someone or not. On one hand, this is a gem of a title, following its themes of summer vacation and using iconic Shin-Chan characters. This is the closest we would get to a Boku no Natsuyasumi experience on the PC. Not to mention the fact this is a near-perfect adventure game.
On the other hand, the PC port is seriously barebones with its features and the lingering problem with its controller. I don’t see that getting fixed anytime soon. When you take the pricing into factor, it gets very difficult to suggest this title to anyone.
Hopefully, the developers look into the problems in the PC port, especially the controller issue. Shin-Chan: Me and the Professor On Summer Vacation is a brilliant adventure game worth your time and warrants a playthrough. Just not on PC.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for coverage purposes
Shin-Chan Me and the Professor On Summer Vacation
Shin-Chan Me and the Professor On Summer Vacation takes the DNA of the Natsuyasumi games and provides a wonderful tale of Shin-Chan enjoying summer. However, the PC port is anything but good and requires some fixing by the developers to make this a solid title.