A no-brainer for the vulgar in me, Shin-Chan is the resident fart joke mainstay for all infantile minds everywhere. Myself included. Here’s the first appearance of Shin-Chan then in Crayon Shin-Chan The Storm Called! Flaming Runner!!, available, or maybe not, on the Nintendo eShop.
The reason for the availability thing is a bit unclear. I bought Crayon Shin-Chan The Storm Called! Flaming Runner!!, from Bushiroad, on release day, but a week or so later, it said that it was unavailable – for reasons unclear. At the time of writing (17:12), it’s back up on the Nintendo eShop, but for how long? Nobody knows…
If you’re unfamiliar with Shin-Chan, he’s supposedly a 5-year old kid from Japan who has a penchant for older ladies, has a habit of dropping his pants at random moments, and often mixes up this honorifics with the wrong thing to say. A lot of it doesn’t really translate into English, and a lot of it is wasted on western audiences unless they have a rough understanding of Japanese nuances. However, a fart joke is universal and in Crayon Shin-Chan The Storm Called! Flaming Runner!!, there’s next to no depth to the game, so no need to overthink it.
Crayon Shin-Chan would fare well as a free-to-play mobile game instead of the £8.99 I paid for it. All you have to do in the game is jump. That’s it. It’s a 2D side-scroller where Shin-Chan automatically runs the length of each level, collecting sweets along the way. You can’t backtrack or reposition yourself, you just press the A button to jump, or keep it held down to do a special move (a modifier) and that’s all there is to it – no story, no mini-games, nada. Then why do I keep playing it? The addictive charm of unlocking new costumes and seeing if there’s anything new to win.
Each level consists of a row of sweets to collect, along with a supply of golden balls that if collected, unlocks new costumes and support characters. As mentioned, all you need to do is jump to collect the sweets, over gaps and enemies (green peppers or carrots) and random fireballs. It’s all straightforward but surprisingly addictive as the more golden balls you collect, the chances of unlocking new costumes or upgrades increases.
A card system represents new costumes; spend X number of balls and unlock a new card. They rank in order of rarity – from common to rare ++. In all honesty, they don’t really do much other than offer a few modifiers such as a footballer version of Shin-Chan doing a pirouette or hovering mid-jump when dressing as an astronaut. Unlocking new costumes is random, but in the likely event that you earn the same card, it automatically levels that costume. The best comparison would be the mobile game Mario Kart Tour – only you needn’t spend a fortune on Crayon Shin-Chan The Storm Called! Flaming Runner!! – albeit the overpriced fee of £8.99. You can level up Shin-Chan and the supporting characters by grinding the levels. It’s a standard affair; EXP for levelling up, coins to unlock new characters and golden balls for costumes.
Before you start the game, you undergo one of the most pointless tutorials known to humankind. Do we need to be told that pressing A allows you to jump and being hit by projectiles or evil-looking vegetables will kill you? It seemed like a good few minutes until it was over, the only redeeming feature was the host of the tutorial: Action Bastard. That name alone made me laugh out loud and not reach for the home button.
You can only play as Shin-Chan, but there are a group of adults that you can add to your runs that offer a few buffs. Again, one of the highlights for me was the aunt whose speciality was having a fat ass. It’s utterly childish and serves no real purpose, but it’s a nice break from some of the more serious titles out there. Without a doubt, the presentation is on par with the anime (I’m using this as the example as it’s full colour, naturally) and there are lots of references for fans of the series.
Something I have to mention is the English language menus – they clearly haven’t gone through quality control. While I’m not sitting there analysing every line, the translations are very literal. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the developers put all the existing Japanese text into Google translate and Kosuke or Yuri, who excelled in English at elementary school, polished it up a bit with what they thought translated. It’s not as bad as the no-smoking sign I once was saw stating ‘No Sumo King’, but it’s a little off.
As is the norm for this site, I tend to source Japanese titles whenever I see them on the eShop and except for Kuukiyomi: Consider It! and Mom Hid My Game!, most of them are pretty crap and forgettable. Crayon Shin-Chan The Storm Called! Flaming Runner!! fits somewhere in between; it’s not a bad game, but equally, it’s not a title you can expect to be playing a week or two after downloading it. This is the kind of game that would be better suited on my mobile phone where any situation where I needed to kill a bit of time, I could give this a quick go. As a standalone title on the Switch, however, nope.
What I found more disappointing (and another possible reason why this was temporarily unavailable) was the inability to select anything from the menu. One moment I’m running a level and obtaining a high score, the next I’m at the menu system and can’t select anything. I press the home button, and everything works perfectly, but jumping back into the game, the same thing happens again, and it just results in resetting the game. It’s hardly a complicated game, so why it’s so buggy, I don’t know. Regardless, it only reinforces my view on the price again.
So who is it for then? Mostly for fans of the franchise. The visuals, sound effects and music are spot on. Yes, anyone can pick up and play the game, but even younger players made find it a little too repetitive, and depending on your parenting stance, maybe you think the content us unsuitable for your rug rats. There are a few select choice of words I didn’t find to be what I want my kids repeating, but it’s typical playground toilet humour – and no doubt while I can relate to it.