REVIEW: My Time at Portia

Aaaah, sunrise. The sounds of chickens clucking, bees buzzing and cows mooing. You open your door and get greeted by the sweet scent of pies baking. You think to yourself, maybe today is the day that I’ll finally chop down that hardwood tree. So you select your axe and take your first swing *BONK*… And then a message pops up. You need a stronger axe. You wake up from your marvellous dream to realize you are living in a dilapidated shack, your floorboards are busted and you just have a single bed. You barely have any land and your stamina runs out so fast you’ll be hitting the rack after just 3 to 4 hours working. Does this ring any bells? Oh, and you arrived at your farm/work shack after you got it from a dying or dead family member. That’s right! That’s Stardew valley. Or at least, its love child. Because if you want to describe My Time at Portia? Then I would say that it was a mix-up between Stardew and Ragnarok Online. Yes. Ragnarok! So let’s introduce it! You start off being led to your workhouse farm. There you’ll be presented a letter from your father. A quick tutorial later and you’re dropped into the game, hoping you can swim. So, want to bring out the best farmcarpentmasonworkfighter inside of you? Then put on your whatever helmet and sharpen your best hatchet, because this one is a biggy!

Old McAlexis had a farm…
  • Price: Though not a feature of the game, it’s got to be said. For what you’re getting? The amount of content, the amount of detail and overall quality? MTaP ‘s selling price is absolutely not overkilling it for what you’re gonna be experiencing! There are triple-A games out there that give you a barebone shell and can be completed in a few hours. Not My Time at Portia! So don’t let the price stop you at any time if you’re interested in picking this one up, that’s for sure!
  • Beautiful graphics: Though realism or realistic graphics are not the aim of My Time at Portia, you surely are treated to some amazing details and lovingly put together surroundings. Everything looks fresh, lush and just pops out at you. It all looks believable and with some imagination, you could easily picture yourself walking around in this bountiful environment. Every season has its color. And the color is just one of those things that this game scores best at. I could not picture a better representation of a life simulator game than this. From the grass to the animals, they all look cheery and well put together. Amazing job!
  • Customization: Oy vey! So many possibilities. Lets first start off with your ranch/workshop/plantation. You expand your lands, exponentially increasing your building territory. On this bountiful land, you can place whatever you desire, if you unlocked it through science or monuments? You can place it. Then you can upgrade your house itself, giving it a different look, inside as well as outside. When it comes to inside decoration? It’s just the same as the outside decorating. Did you find, for example, a couch? Then you can place it in your house. Be mindful of what you sell off though, these items boost your stats as well. So not only are they nice house fillers, making it homier. They also are useful in the long run! And then we come across the character customization. When you start your character, you can choose how he/she looks. Afterward, you’ll be able to buy new clothes, hairstyles,… So if you want to create your own Ol’ McDonald? I’m pretty sure that MTaP has got you covered as well!
  • Smooth fighting: You know when a game offers you A LOT, that they sometimes tend to fail at certain parts? Not MTaP! The fighting doesn’t feel like a tacked-on system. No siree bob. It has a fleshed out feeling, although nothing to shake your fist at. You smash the button as hard as you can until your opponent dies and gives you its jiggly bits. Nowhere does it feel clunky or broken.
  • Events, quests,…: When I said that this game offers you a lot? I really mean a whole lot. MTaP has a quest system, these can either be by a commission, or letter, or just a random person that has a demand for you and work just like quests do. Complete it, and get a meaningful reward. Besides these, random occurrences tend to happen. For instance, there can be a hosted event. Just like catching fish for instance. These are events into which you can freely choose if you want to compete or just skip them. Some are season bound as well! Yes, there are seasonal events here. So if you do decide you want to compete in a specific one? Remember then that sometimes you’ll have to wait for quite some time until it starts again.
  • Community: You’ll quickly come to notice that you’re not just playing a game. But you’re contributing to a living and thriving town. One where everyone has their jobs and tasks. Where competitions are being held, and those who are interested? Partake in said competitions. There’s life, there’s love. You can have a conversation and play games with whoever you want and nothing will stop you from doing so. Of course, you’ll get quite the same responses most of the time. But there’s an off chance where you’ll actually learn new things, get hints or tips like meetings or what’s going to happen in the near future. So, just like in real life? Take a chance. Talk to someone, you’ll never know what you’ll learn.
If this was me in real life? My luck would have it that the ax head would fly off and hit me in the head before I even knew what happened.
  • Soundtrack: Though I found the soundtrack soothing and relaxing? And at times even reminding me of Ragnarok Online! I couldn’t help detecting the slight irk inside of my soul at the repetitive nature of the tune. Sure it changes like, for instance, when you’re going into battle. But that’s the same track as well. Of course, I could be nitpicking here. But C’mon, you invested so much in other parts of MTaP, developers. Why didn’t you just put a little bit more oomph in its soundtrack? That felt quite disappointing after a long play session…
  • Crafting system: The crafting system is multi-faceted. The resources, and the crafting itself. Let’s first tackle the resources. Everything that you can craft, requires a fixed set of building materials. These you’ll have to either farm for or you’ll have to go out and dig them out of the ground. Once this is done, you’ll have to refine them into the basic materials. Sure, no problem you’d think. And I would’ve agreed. If not for the gazillion different kinds of materials, basic materials, and whatnot! MTaP really has a serious case of item management, and it’s the only prescription are your storage boxes. Because these will soon be overflowing with whatever you come across in your adventures outside. And trust me. This really is A LOT! But that’s not the only troublesome thing. For your basic materials, each set that you refine? There’s a waiting time. For instance, if you want to smelt a Copper Bar? You’ll have to wait a few minutes until it’s done. Want to have a stack of Copper Bars? Good luck, because that’ll take you an entire in-game day to finish. Got all the needed materials? Then you can craft your item. Which is instant by the way… The other part of the crafting system is the building mechanic. This is where you assemble your workstations. You get the blueprint and outline of the workstation, and you put the required materials where they are meant to be placed. If not for the dodgy and finicky placement system, this would’ve been okay. But some of the parts only pop up if you are standing at a precise spot or angle, which I kind of dislike as you really need to find that ultimate sweet spot.
  • Hard to read minimap: When it comes to objective tracking, MTaP still needs to up its game. You’ll be zooming in a lot to find the precise spot as to where your objective is. But it doesn’t factor in height so you’ll still be doing some overall searching. Not a big one but still noteworthy!
Imma poke a hole in this son of a *died* DAMNIT.
  • Digging is a B….: The overall digging element in MTaP is okay. You aim your pickax at the ground and you start wailing away. Until you come across the dark blue material. Not only does it take a lot of time to clear just one part of it. Finding the sweet spot until its life bar (yes! life bar!!!) pops up, will take you a lot of time. Not only that but if you aren’t hitting it at the right angle, you actually dig away the dirt that is BEHIND it and get the materials from what is BEHIND it. I mean… What? Why does this even HAVE a life bar! Please Pathea, you already require this to have an upgraded pickax… Why put the mining of said material on a life bar as well, that you only are able to hit if you are looking at it at the right angle. I mean… Those patches are HUGE. Remove the life bar! Please!
  • You’ll be spending a lot of time in bed: If you want to just rush for an item or building? You’ll be sleeping a lot (in-game). As just getting everything through the refinement takes up a lot of in-game time, to instantly build whatever you want afterward. Tweak this PLEASE. Because if it was for time management? MTaP would BOMB so badly! Make the materials crafting instant as well…
  • Overwhelming!: I have to say this. There is a lot for you to do in MTaP. So much so in fact, that if you don’t pace yourself? You’ll actually be overwhelmed. Gather this, fight that, do this commission. There’s so many details and intricate design in here, that this really feels like a chore to get through sometimes. The commissions keep coming, the resources never dwindle. If you really want to enjoy MTaP to its fullest, then you are best off playing the game for the long run. Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out pretty quick. So please take this into consideration. As this really is a quality game, give it time to show it’s true colors to you. You’ll fall in love with it. Just be sure to take it in strides, and not leaps. Then you’ll be good!

β˜… Score: 80%
I got to admit, this game is a real mouthful and then some. Not only will you be having an amazing time, but you’ll also be losing a lot of time as well. Though I overcame the time management system by just having a lot of other stuff to do, you’ll still feel like it’s a drag to complete some of the commissions that are given as every item has its fabrication time. But if you liked Stardew Valley in any shape or form? You’ll absolutely fall in love with My time in Portia. Not only is it cute and beautiful, but it’s also excellently created although it has its flaws! You can definitely feel that this was a project Pathea put a lot of love and dedication into and it shows!

Developer: Pathea Β  Publisher: Team17
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PS4 – Switch and PC
Alexis spent over 100 hours digging, farming and crafting.
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: If you want to unlock everything you’ll be spending A LOT of hours into this game!
Perfect for: Stardew Valley fans, Players who want a change in their game routines and are willing to spend a lot of time in a game. Anyone who wants a game for THE LONG RUN!
Xbox Game Store link: Click here