Early Access Review: My Time at Portia


A lovely post-apocalyptic vacation spot

In the not-too-distant past of 2016, a little game called Stardew Valley came along to eat up an alarming amount of my free time. Stardew filled the void left by relaxing social and farming sims like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing

I spent over 100 hours farming, mining, and interacting with the inhabitants of Pelican Town, and now another of these time-consuming games has come along to charm the pants off of me. Just as I predicted back in July, My Time at Portia is my new obsession. 

My Time at Portia (PC [tested], PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
Developer: Pathea Games
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
Release Date: January 23, 2018 (PC), fall 2018 (consoles)
MSRP: $19.99

My Time at Portia is set in the seaside town of Portia in a post-apocalyptic world, though the place is a bit more Ghibli than zombie-infested hell hole. The island is complete with rolling fields of colorful llamas, towering buildings, and ancient ruins to explore.

Upon your arrival, you're greeted by Presley, the first of many townsfolks you'll be able to spend time with. He directs you to the old workshop your father left you; yes, a rickety shed to call home. In no time at all Presley has you registered as one of the town's builders. You can pick up requests daily at town hall to fill construction projects for the denizens of Portia.

Some projects are simple, like using your cutting table to craft some wooden boards for the local construction company, while bigger projects require you to use a sort of staging area in your yard. For example, you can build Dee Dee transports (three-wheeled taxis) as well as Dee Dee stops at the Mayor's request. Doing so even opens up a fast travel system.

The base progression of My Time at Portia is simple: accept building jobs to make money and get more materials. Doing so will allow you to take on bigger jobs and do things like upgrade your house and crafting workbench. Some of the bigger building jobs progress the main plot, though there are only a handful of these in the current build. Some jobs will open up new areas to explore by constructing bridges or repairing lifts.

If farming is more your speed, you can craft planter boxes to grow crops, but not all of these contraptions or the materials required to craft them are available off the bat. To gather raw materials and acquire more blueprints, you'll have to explore the abandoned ruins.

You'll need to pay for a pass to enter the abandoned ruins, but it's well worth the price of admission. When you enter these huge mines, you'll be loaned a jetpack and a pair of X-ray goggles. You'll need to bring your own pickaxe to carve through the rock walls and find the treasure within. 

The goggles can be used to mark rarer items like broken machines and relics from the old world, but you'll also want to grab things like copper and iron ore, sand, stone and most importantly data discs. These discs can be studied by the local research center to uncover new blueprints for you. You can also donate them to the church if you would rather destroy the forbidden machina

In addition to abandoned ruins, there are hazardous ruins out in the world populated by enemies like giant rats and ancient robots. You'll be able to find more valuable materials here, but you'll need to craft yourself a sword and bring along some healing items. The floors of the hazardous ruins are procedurally generated, but be prepared to see a lot of the same room layouts repeat themselves. 

The combat is a little rough, but serviceable. You'll want to make sure your character is a high enough level and has poured enough skill points into combat to overpower your enemies as there's no real blocking mechanic or lock-on function. You can dodge roll, but it feels a bit sloppy.

My Time at Portia's big story beats are slightly more involved than you might expect from one of these town and farming simulators. One such mission began with rumors of multiple villagers having their possessions stolen and soon led to a full-blown dungeon complete with a boss encounter. 

The whole town is oozing with charming colorful characters from the pudgy cheerful mayor to your dickhead building rival Higgins. My favorite citizen by a mile is Papa Bear, an anthropomorphic bear who hangs out in a bathrobe. You can chat with the townspeople or give them gifts to build up your relationship. You can even challenge most of them to fights or play a friendly game of rock, paper, scissors. 

Portia even has some lovely music to enjoy! The overworld theme, in particular, reminded me of Windwaker's Outset Island theme

If you're not into the idea of jumping into an unfinished game then you might want to wait to begin My Time at Portia, but even in its current state the world is full of things to explore and I'll definitely be diving back in with each big update.

[This review is based on an Early Access build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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My Time At Portia reviewed by Rich Meister


Rich Meister
Rich MeisterNews/Reviews Contributor   gamer profile

NY Resident and lifelong gamer. They let me write here for some reason.  more + disclosures


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    Filed under... #Alpha #PC #preview #Role-Playing Games #Simulators



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