My Time at Portia Preview — Building a Charming Future
My Time at Portia is about building, and thanks to Steam Early Access, it can only build upwards from its great first impression.
Imagine a world where technology got the better of humanity and the world crumbled underneath the imposing weight of it all. Now, look at the image above. Does this description match the picture? What if I were to tell you they were one in the same? My Time at Portia is technically post-apocalyptic, but it’s so light-hearted and lovable that you can barely tell. The distant skyline features decrepit old factories and fallen skyscrapers of days long past, but the city of Portia is a lovely, cozy little town filled with well-meaning and good-hearted people.
In reality, My Time at Portia is a game similar to a 3D Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, except instead of farming being the focus, it’s building machinery and dungeon diving. It’s now available on Steam Early Access, so while a good portion of the game is playable, there are plans to add more as they develop further.
Much like Stardew Valley, you’re given a workshop handed down to you by your father (as opposed to grandfather) and have to fix it up and build various tools to help you along the way. You raise money by taking on requests, creating the items requested, and delivering them promptly.
Again like Stardew Valley, the game’s nature can often have you playing for hours, toiling away for that next significant (or insignificant) personal achievement without even noticing where the time has gone. What differs in this game, however, is that while stone and wood are readily available in the surrounding areas, many materials like marble, copper, old machine parts, and power crystals can only be found in dungeons found throughout Portia. These dungeons differ in difficulty, but the more dangerous, the more rare materials can be found.
While dungeon diving may sound like the biggest difference in My Time at Portia compared to previous life sims, that portion of the game could use a bit more content. Mining can feel like a bit of a grind, and compared to the rest of the game, it doesn’t have as much variation. The caves in Stardew Valley were similar in theory, but in practice, going floor by floor and getting a save spot every five floors made it seem like more than just a resource gathering mission. My Time at Portia’s dungeons are more open, which is a welcome change for a 3D game of the same genre, but they seem to lack a goal other than “I need to get 50 copper.”
Harder dungeons have enemies in them, so adding additional objectives or even scripted boss battles seems like a possible feature that can be added in the future if that’s the prerogative of Pathea Games. It would round out the otherwise enjoyable title.
The portion of the game that shines in this Early Access build is what you do in town. The building mechanics are creative when it comes to bigger projects. You pick a blueprint from your catalog and it appears translucent on your workshop floor almost like a hologram. Then you must physically bring the parts required to where they go in the design. The difference between this and a simple building menu is subtle but absolutely appreciated. You can even leave a project half finished until you get the required parts, making it honestly feel like a work in progress instead of an option in a menu.
The townspeople are also pretty unique, even this early in development. While they’ll hopefully gain more depth as the game progresses, they’re all visually unique and detailed. They’re currently partially voiced with a solid sense of character. Players can give them gifts and talk to them daily to increase their relationships with them. Hopefully, this is fleshed out in the future, but that seems to be the plan currently.
Overall, My Time at Portia is a great Early Access title with tons of potential that can only get better. Being an Early Access title, it’s pretty much guaranteed to add content as it continues to develop. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the title as it progresses. If you’re a fan of games like Stardew Valley, but want to try something a little different, My Time at Portia may be worth a look. It’s currently only available on Steam, but certain developer partnerships may allow a console release in the future.
My Time at Portia is available now in Early Access for PC; the game will be available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One later this year.