Imagine if Stardew Valley was played from the perspective of Robin the Carpenter. That’s My Time At Portia.
People are going to point to Stardew, Harvest Moon, Minecraft etc for inspiration and comparison. I personally feel vibes of Dark Cloud 1&2, an old PlayStation game. There are also hints of Planet Explorers the developers previous project. Whichever lens you want to look at My Time At Portia through is fine. All of these are great games and combining any element from them is going to catch my attention.
My Time At Portia starts off with a very familiar setting. A mysterious parental figure leaving you some land for this or that reason. Abandonment issues aside, you have to take this old workshop and turn it into a thriving business. Your shop has holes in the floor and isn’t exactly the nicest place to live, but who cares? Portia is a beautiful town!
As a matter of fact, the vibrant and wonderful trailer is what caught my attention. I usually don’t judge a book by it’s cover but in this case I knew I had to play this game. Thankfully, I wasn’t let down in any regard. My Time At Portia is currently in an alpha state but it shows great promise even having that addictive quality we have come to love from these types of games. “Just one more day, just one more.”, I found myself saying as I obsessively played the alpha.
While everything is obviously subject to change, the structure of My Time At Portia is very different from your typical farming sim. There are no crops; there is metal, instead of a shipment box; you have contracts. There is also a lot more of a focus on gathering and resource management. You are the town fixer and constructor. The entire alpha is about completing a bridge project for the town, which requires numerous metals, woods, and tools.
Between the main contract you can take smaller contracts for cash. Making bricks for a destroyed path or copper saw blades for a mill. I hope these mini-contracts get a little bit more involved. As of right now they serve as little more than just fetch quests, which isn’t super exciting. Building in this game is rather fun to do though as you construct your own work stations and constructions on a platform and add piece by piece. It’s very cool to see your hard work come together into a final product.
There are minor hiccups such as the bridging the gap between getting into the mine which costs money and contracts which usually require materials from the mine. This is easy to overcome but did have me scratching my head for a moment.
Of course if this game was purely about construction this would be just another survival game. There is also mining, fishing, town relationships, festivals, all of the things that make these games a fantastical escape. There are also levels, land purchases, customization of your character, vehicles. Yes vehicles, you can get a sweet ride and ditch the horse. These areas are going to become deeper as development continues, currently they aren’t as robust in the alpha.
As an example you have to the option to spar with certain towns people. What purpose this serves beyond working out some aggression is yet to be seen. It’s certainly a unique mechanic though that I haven’t seen before in any of these types of games.
To encapsulate everything that the alpha of My Time At Portia has to offer would be quite difficult. What I can say is that it runs fairly well, not great but fairly well for an alpha. There are though some blemishes in the game that need to be worked out. The game engine itself has some issues with hit detection, stuttering, and optimization. The mouse sensitivity had to be dropped to zero as maneuvering can be quite difficult. Combat is very odd and clunky. This is all to be expected as it’s in alpha.
This fact is important to mention. Chances are that by the time this game is done, everything may look very different and work differently. Look up the early versions of Stardew Valley and you will be shocked by how much it changed. My Time At Portia has many of its core ideas in place but time is needed for those to be expanded upon.
My Time At Portia has amazing potential if the developers keep fresh ideas in mind and take the time to explain them. The mining in this game is a wonderful idea that I enjoyed, once I figured out what I was doing. Mixing relic hunting and mining, you hammer away at the ground, gathering materials and occasionally finding relics from the past. These relics are key to making improvements in technology. The mining itself is very different than what you would expect and more akin to Minecraft/Planet Explorers. As you hammer away at voxels, the terrain shifts and bends with each swing. I loved this and it felt very fresh as it fit into this type of game.
To wrap up, My Time At Portia wears its inspiration on its sleeve. You will feel comfortable with this game and you know this game but it does offer some unique ideas to make it stand out. I just hope those ideas keep up and don’t get diluted with trying to do everything. If there is no farming, fine but make sure that the construction aspect is as deep as the relationship system, fishing, etc. Things can certainly become diluted if they tried to add farming on top of everything. It’s an ambitious game but from what I played is going to be well worth the time, wait, and effort that is going into it.
This is a game to watch as it progresses through development. I highly recommend checking the alpha out for yourself and giving the developer the feedback they need. Currently, My Time At Portia is on Itch.io and Steam. Make sure to follow the developers on their site and social medias. I hope you have a lovely time while you are in Portia, I know I did.