Milano no Arubaito Collection
Release Date: 1999
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Milano Itali is an eleven year old girl, who’s spending her summer vacation with her uncle in Zucchini Town. But instead of just lounging around, she’s given the opportunity to take up various time jobs in Milano no Arubaito Collection (“Milan’s Part-Time Job Collection”), an amusing minigame collection/simulation.
The summer break is 40 days long. You have some free time every day, during which you can study, watch TV, do chores, feed your pet and so forth. At night before bed, you can peruse the mail order catalog for stuff to buy, read a book, or stargaze out your window. Your activities influence Milano’s statistics, which include Intelligence, Heart, and Happiness – these, combined with the weather on a particular day, determine which kind of jobs you can be hired for. There are eight jobs altogether – you can milk cows at a ranch, catch falling fruit at an orchard, wash dishes at a Chinese restaurant, deliver pizzas while riding on a scooter, serve customers at a fast food restaurant, make cakes at a bakery, work in a hospital curing patients, and perform songs at a concert. Alternatively, you can also just spend your dat off relaxing, eating popcorn and people watching at the park. Harder difficulty levels pay more money, plus your performance determines your salary, as well. You can use the money you’ve earned to buy new furniture for your little house and decorate it as you see fit, or purchase new recipes to cook food for yourself.
It’s all rather simple – it seems to have been made with children in mind – but there’s an indelible charm thanks to the absolutely stunning 2D artwork. The developer, Westone, was known for their brilliant visuals in the Wonder Boy/Monster World series, particularly Monster World IV for the Mega Drive, one of the most visually splendid titles of the 16-bit era. The developer moved away from this style after transitioning to the next generation, so Milano no Arubaito Collection is a good way to imagine what a 32-bit Wonder Boy game would have looked like. It’s also particularly amusing since Milano and her family (who all also have Italian themed names) seem to be the only humans in Zucchini Town, with the rest of the denizens consisting of assorted oddball anthropomorphic creatures. Even regular animals, like the winged cows and bird/pig hybrids at the ranch, are silly and unusual. There’s no real way to lose either, so it’s relaxing just to sit back and watch Milano live her life at home, giving the game a very laid back vibe, in spite of its capitalistic nature.