Hello citizens, This is my review of My Time at Portia, developed by Pathea and published by Pathea and Team 17.
My Time at Portia is a life simulator, with a focus on building your home, outdoor workshop and, creating a life for yourself on the world of Portia…That sounds very futuristic and Science Fiction but that’s just promotional material. It feels more like Portia is the name of the town even if it’s not. There’s this idea of Post apocalyptic survival, that… really isn’t here. This game is very similar to Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, and games like that. Throughout the game, players will meet people, explore, gather resources, and what makes My Time at Portia stand out from the crowd is building structures and objects.
I’m covering this game because it’s in the Humble Monthly Bundle of December 2019 which is the last Humble Monthly Bundle. It’s there along with Soul Calibur VI and Yakuza Kiwami, but we’ll focus on My Time at Portia for this video. However I will have a video on that specific bundle and if you are interested, definitely hit that subscribe button, it will help this channel grow.
Now before we begin with the proper review, I will admit something, I didn’t finish My Time at Portia due to the size of the game and the complexity of it. There’s time left this month, but I already invested over 60 hours and have earned about a third of all the achievements. I’ll talk more about why I stopped at the end of the review, but 60 hours in, I don’t think I need to see much more to make a final opinion even though I’d love to finish it one day.
Graphically, My Time at Portia is extremely solid. While the game can look odd here at the beginning of the game, you quickly become used to the look of this world and some of the style decisions that makes the characters and objects pop a little more. This helps you to differentiate items and characters at a distance.
Each character in the game has a distinct design that gives them a feeling of their own, and this isn’t just stereotypes. The guy who runs the restaurant wears an old pirate’s coat and practices swordplay in the morning. I’ve even seen a kid join him, then he goes and works his job. There is a group of characters that run a daily course around the city, including one of the city guards, a big beefy furniture maker, and more. These little quirks add more life to the city, even if you’ve seen this routine play out over a hundred times it shows you more of their day to day life.
These all make the town interesting but little spoiler here, the town and the area you can reach grows quite a few times, and these are important parts of the game. There’s a life to the world itself and it helps make the game feel unique. It’s a rarity for a game to do it once, but My Time at Portia’s town and area is constantly growing, evolving, and changing in minor ways.
There are also enemies in the world, well more beasts than true enemies. You kill them and you can grab items off of their corpses, like fur, bone, even feces. There are also uber versions of most beasts, but those aren’t that special, just a variant that has different drops, not even necessarily better loot.
You have your yard that you can build your workshop in, and it also allows you to grow your yard, buy new land and more. This is a big piece of the game but you can set up your workshop as you want, whether beautifying it or making it just a workshop to complete your various tasks.
There’s also not much to grow here. Farming is a minor part of the game and we’ll talk about that in gameplay, but you’ll be more focused with building. Speaking of let’s talk about the story.
My Time at Portia’s story felt odd at the beginning, in the preview I mentioned that I didn’t think there would be much to the story. You come to town to take over your father’s shop and from there you’re given tutorial tasks to get you to do minor actions.
But, wow, My Time at Portia is heavily focused on these quests. There are randomized quests, but also a series of Main Quests, stuff that gets asked of the player to do and these tend to be big tasks. The main quest is the meat of the game, while there’s a ton of other stuff to do at almost any point and these large tasks can be anything from building a specific item, completing a specific commission, or adventuring.
But this story is still going after 60 hours, over two weeks of my time and I’m having a great time with the story. There are new characters, new locations, and events happen all the time. You’re building towns as mentioned, bridges, new items. You’re creating new machines to use and even entering new locations.
I won’t go too heavy into the story, it’s not extremely deep. The set up is mostly event, quick response, and task. There are storylines like a group of hustlers who try to shake you down for money or a new cave that opens that you can explore. There’s very little repetition here.
With that said the core of those 60 hours I played was more gameplay related, with the story only driving a part of that gameplay.
A big piece of My Time at Portia is about playing your way. You might have specific tasks, such as getting bridge supports, or bus stops, but oftentimes the story will just give you a quest and part of that quest is figuring out how to build the object.
You might have to farm, build, gather resources, create new machines to build pieces of something larger, wait for your various workshops, finish cutting wood or more. But sometimes this can be waiting for something else to complete. You might need to wait until some research gets completed to get the right workshop item, or you might need to unlock a new area on a similar quest that comes at the same time.
Much of the progression of the game is linked to these main quests, including new resources, and those workshop objects I mentioned. The handholding you get at the beginning of the game to teach you the rules of the game ends within the first hour and suddenly you have large goals but no hand holding to let you know how to reach them. Players are expected to experiment and that works for the most part along with exploration, but there’s also always a wiki that is useful when you can’t find something specific.
Still, nothing is too difficult with the system in My Time at Portia. You just have to realize what is the next step of making the next big object, and the one part that can confuse players or take a large amount of time is the research facility that may have to research or invent a new piece of hardware and then the player will be required to build it.
Still, the growth in the game is consistent and almost a few days you’ll have another big task or some new hardware to play with and build new objects. This keeps the game fresh because you’ll be doing more and more rather than building the same objects for the hundredth time.
Players won’t have to farm resources too often. At least I didn’t. There were long periods where I either had all my resources or I only needed a couple of items. I might have to go slaughter a few beasts to gather fur for instance, but the only really hard item to find was tempering liquid, though there is a way to get that, and again thanks to the wiki you can look up some of the harder to find resources.
I would have to go to a mine to farm ore, but often I would spend one day in the mine and be set for two weeks, maybe even a month, depending on what was needed. Resource gathering is a part of the game, but it’s limited in its repetition.
There are a few parts of the game that feel unnecessary. True farming like Stardew Valley isn’t that important. I never raised animals. The big thing that I didn’t spend a lot of time at was the relationship system but at the same time, completing tasks and beating quests still earned me relationship points with most people in town. You find yourself gravitating towards the rest of the game as you realize over time you’ll befriend people, which is true even in real life at times.
Finding favorite gifts for the relationship system is quite frustrating, Some people like fruit salad like Emily, some people don’t. Though the game does remember everything that each character gives a non-neutral response to on their character sheet. Dogs like Dog food, but not meat. Cats like ONLY fish, no milk, nothing else, just fish. I still don’t know what pigs like, Most humans are even harder to understand.
There are a few relationship minigames that feel out of place. Rock Paper Scissors is fine, but it’s only that, and there’s not a huge reason for it. At the same time, there’s a sparring system that works fine when there’s a town wide event for a fighting tournament, but makes no sense when you can beat the neighbor girl just because, or you can fight the town guard to improve your relationship. It’s a simple enough game but feels like it’s put in there because they had the game, not because it was a fun part of the game.
There are a lot of ways to get different resources, however. The big one is mining. All the mines I’ve been to so far have no enemies, just that amazing system that allows you to dig into the walls, floors, and even the ceiling. While it does remind me of Red Faction (yes, I worked on Guerilla and Armageddon), it’s just a fun little way to explore these mines, though there’s no real danger here. The resources you need from each mine is plentiful except for the rarest artifacts.
There is a real dungeoneering system, but it’s similar to sparring that it doesn’t feel like it’s a major part of the game. You can run through a level and collect useful loot, but there’s not much reason to run a dungeon outside of the initial run that the game will force on the player.
There’s even a fishing mini game, which works well, but feels like a simple way to kill time, even if it is enjoyable to fish. It’s a nice diversion and is done better than Stardew Valley.
Diversions are the key to this game. While the main quest might take days or even a week sometimes, there’s always something going on in the game. There are about 8 celebrations in a single year, special days where something happens. A single year in this game takes close to 50 hours to play through, so don’t expect to run through this too fast.
The special events have special activities, commemorative gear and currency so you have a reason to participate. Outside of those days, the daily routine is well defined. My daily list was to get up, check on my machines, go to town and grab a new community commission. These commissions give the player points for a workshop leaderboard, relationships with neighbors, money, and more. Every weekend the commissions would switch inspections which are fun minigames where the player is trying to find errors between two copies of an object.
If you get the commission or the inspection, you’ll probably spend about a couple of hours working on it and then give the object to the neighbor who asked for it.
Most of the time you will be done with these tasks by noon, and now can do anything else until 3 am. While that bedtime is enforced, you don’t have to return home, as staying out past 3 am just returns the player to bed. From there the player would be able to start the next day. Now players could go to bed at any time to advance the timer, but there are no penalties for staying up as late as you can.
There are smaller things to My Time at Portia that stand out for the quality of life upgrades. The biggest ones are that you won’t be bored with everything the game offers for you to try out or missions the game gives. I personally rarely went to bed early because there was always a new task for me to do, or something to try to gather at this time rather than later.
The inventory system for your workshop considers all the items in your chests, so if you store an item you can use it as a resource to build something else.
Money is never plentiful but always there. I found that I didn’t have to chase money, but there are big goals, such as a bigger yard, bigger houses, and workspaces to spend your money on.
Even the stores are well designed with kiosks allowing you to buy anything you want even if the owner isn’t there for a story event, a special occasion, or just an animation. You can just leave your cash for your purchase on the counter.
And yet there are still some issues with My Time at Portia. The biggest is the interface which can be dreadful. After 60 hours, I was able to get more comfortable with the system, mostly I wasn’t trying to use the parts of the game that was the most awkward, but I got more comfortable with almost every screen in the game. Though this comfort only started to become natural after about ten to twenty hours of play, which is a substantial amount of time.
Finding specific items can be hard if you need them in your inventory. The inventory system at your house does allow you to tab between all your chests in a home, however the inventory system doesn’t have a search function so if you don’t have a very specific organization system, you’ll be hunting through 12 chests and can’t remember where you put the “wooden boards”.
As mentioned, many characters don’t let you know what they like or don’t like. Toby, for instance, seems to like fishing, but he’s more of an adventurer, but he also doesn’t necessarily like all loot gained from enemies. What does he like exactly? My Time at Portia’s gift system requires more trial and error or just repetition.
As mentioned, I played 60 hours of My Time at Portia, so the big elephant in the room is that I didn’t finish but loved almost every minute of it. As also mentioned, there’s always something new to work on, or a new piece to play with.
But I stopped playing because after 60 hours I found myself wanting to rush to the end of the game which meant I was playing more to beat the game, rather than enjoy the normal gameplay pace and from there I decided to curtail my gameplay. I still want to return when I’m not under artificial time limits, or a desire to publish a review. There are at least 60 hours of content in My Time at Portia, but it could be closer to 80 or 100 quality hours, and as such, I am happy to put it aside with the understanding I’ll return at a future date.
Overall My Time at Portia is an extremely solid game. It is an enjoyable game with tons of content and a rather large story that will keep gamers interested for a very long time. While it might not have the action or adventure that other games can claim, it’s not attempting to do that and succeeds at most everything it tries to accomplish.
I am awarding My Time at Portia a
I’m quite happy Humble Monthly released this as part of its bundle because it gave me a chance to finally play it. There’s even a chance I might be talking about it again next month in the year in review.
This is what I love to find, very solid games that help define and grow a genre instead of just attempt to be a copy of other games. That’s really what My Time at Portia is about. It’s more for the people who like Stardew Valley and want to see the transition to a 3d world, 3d graphics, and perhaps more story quests, but it shines in what it attempts.
I’ll be back soon to talk about the Humble Monthly Bundle for December like I said, that is the last Humble Monthly, we’ll be switching to the Humble Choice next month. If you are curious about that or other games I’m planning on reviewing, throw me a subscription, it’ll help the channel grow and for that I thank you.
Last week I put out a new video about how long games take to complete, talking a bit about My Time at Portia and Stardew. If it’s interesting to you I’ll pop it up on the screen. This also isn’t the first 3d version Stardew Valley I reviewed, Check out my video of Staxel if you want to compare the differences between that game and this one. That’s night and day with this game.
Until next time, I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.