My Time at Portia: Review


This game - where have you been 10 years ago?

My Time at Portia is a quaint simulation RPG game where you rebuild your father's workshop and create a new life in the land of Portia. You start off as repairing the dilapidated workshop to gaining fame by completing commissions from the citizens of Portia. As a workshop builder, players will need to help Portia prosper and fulfill commissions as requested by the numerous NPC citizens throughout the land. However, there's also a few rivals that will try to compete for business. You are after all the newcomer in Portia.

My Time at Portia is a cute and happy game, although it takes place on a dark setting of a post-apocalyptic world. It's developed by Pathea Games and published by Team 17 (publisher of Worms 3D, Survivalist, and Overcooked). The graphics remind me of a cute MMO - and honestly, it plays like an MMO too. It would've been great if this game was released ten years ago, because there's a lot of playtime in this game. 

Here is my computer system:

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9700k CPU @ 3.60GHz
RAM: 16 GB DDR4
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080S 8GB GDDR5
Display: 27" MSI Optix AG32C 165Hz

PROS
- an inviting story
- build, craft and explore
- many characters to interact with plus the romance
- beautifully painted graphics & intricate details
- long play simulation
- supports some mods

NEUTRAL
- saving progress

CONS
- crafting/building can be tedious
- choppy fighting animation
- I can't play too long on it


An Inviting Story

My Time at Portia takes place in a post-apocalyptic time of rebuilding in the land of Portia. The player is entrusted to take over the family workshop and to start a new life as a builder. The player will get to explore Portia and will be muchly involved in its rebuilding, so that the world can become a better place again. Players will unravel as to what had happened to world which lead to its post-apocalyptic state. Players can also participate in in-game calendar events which adds more life to the game.

Build, craft, and explore

There is a lot of things to do. If I'm not exploring, I'm focused on fulfilling commissions or selling my craft. I would also need to interact with the people of Portia, so I can make more friends and be able to start a family. There's also the thing where you need to upgrade the workshop in order to get married, and expand the lot to add more things and build more things. Find materials by hunting and mining. Build stuff. Explore Portia. Feed the pet. Uncover the mystery behind the Day of Calamity. Oh, I do wish this game should have been released ten years ago.

Haha. Neighbor, Emily says. You're waifu desu.

Many characters to interact with plus the romance

There are many residents to befriend (or annoy) in Portia. For example, Siwa and his six siblings plus his grandmother. Players will also be able to marry since rebuilding society is a central theme in the game -- a laidback one. Each character has a specific taste, thus 'gifting' characters can be tricky. I mean in real life this feature also exists. High relationships also grant perks such as price discounts. The point is, the residents have stories to discover and they're part of Portia rather than treated as props in the landscape.

Beautifully painted graphics & intricate details

Can you buy me a cup too, Presley? I'm broke.

I noticed the tiny details in the game such as NPCs having their own schedules each day and during a particular time of the day. I noticed a pig named QQ running and I was curious, then I discovered that the NPCs have their own activities in the game. For example Presley enjoying his coffee in the morning, Gust painting near the Amber river at 4pm with his pet pig in tow, or Emily hanging out in the restaurant. It demonstrates a breathing Portia community.

The pig's asleep btw.


Long play simulation

There's a lot to plant and harvest, a lot of building and selling, a lot of exploring and collecting. That's one aspect, the other is getting to know more about Portia. Given the many residents (bachelors and bachelorettes), one partner is different from the other. Players may be trying out one session as to which is better, but the game doesn't really end. Players don't receive a stiff penalty too when they completely lose their health; you don't die; by 'dying', you're teleported at home afterward with your items intact similar to getting bit by a tarantula on Animal Crossing getting or depleting stamina on Harvest Moon. 

Supports some mods

Mod support is a positive, but also a neutral for My Time at Portia. I'm waiting if a mod is remotely possible to have a workshop on the other biome in Portia. It's a budding list of mods customizations to  character clothing, namely inventory resizes or early item unlocks; the latter two are borderline exploits; but I'm afraid this is as far as mods for this game goes. It depends on how "malleable" the game is on mods.

Saving by Sleeping

Players can only save by sleeping in which is neither a good thing or a bad thing. I can't complain if saving is done this way as this means that you may miss out on the good things after proceeding through the day if you quit half-way. It does make sense as we would often think back and remember on our bed about how the day went. This is how I always spend my time on bed before actually falling asleep.

Crafting/Building can be tedious

What I found a little tedious is crafting items in the game. Smelting copper ore would take some time which means side questing while it's finished. Some raw materials are not readily available which will require players to delve into dungeons and there's a lot of items to craft early on. Crafting can also get a little confusing early on since we're starting from scratch. 

Choppy Fighting animation

I don't find it satisfying to see a choppy fighting animation. The melee should be much more fluid in my opinion.

I can't play too long on it

Perhaps I've played similar adventure games (although My Time at Portia has its own charm), but I just can't get hooked similarly to Forager, Fable or Skyrim. There's something missing early on. Granted that the setting itself makes players curious on what had happened to the world, there aren't any early indications on what the player has to do except getting registered as the new builder in Portia. Afterward, the player is free to pursue what they like whether start crafting more items, exploring, or harvesting raw materials. There are no readily available early quests without completing a lengthy list of item components. I think if there were simpler bite-sized quests, the player will get a sense of achievement and direction on the story in the game.

Yes, it's a post-apocalyptic crafting game.

Conclusion

It's not too late to pick up and play My Time at Portia. In fact, the sequel My Time at Sandrock is around the corner. It's a friendly game, with much exploration, and things to discover. I recommend this if you're into crafting, exploration, and also like to interact with a story-rich world. I give My Time at Portia a 3.5 out 5.
THE HARVEST GAMER
Sam1, a portmanteau for someone, is an aspiring novelist in the romance, comedy, and horror genre. He is a university graduate with a degree in Business Administration and Applied Computer Science. He is an indie game-developer on itch.io and also an avid gamer. He currently works as an Exams and Adaptive Technology Coordinator.

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