My Time At Portia is an excellent post apocalyptic crafting, harvesting, and fighting game. It feels like a mix of Stardew Valley and Minecraft. The game is about you, who inherited this farm from family and can take their place, helping take care of the citizens of Portia with whatever they need. You will take jobs to upgrade the town or complete errands for the citizens, like building items or harvesting materials for them. Along the way you can have relationships with characters, even romantic ones. The further into the game you play the more you will upgrade and improve the city and get to know its people.
This game can be as intense or as casual as the player would like, and has many different paths and activities that they can participate in. They also have different groups that you can participate with, depending on who you want to associate with and what you want to do with the game. You can customize your character to be whoever you want. It's fun to se your customized character in the cutscenes and in the 'memories' you can access afterwards. Later, once you hit a certain point, you can pay a character in the game to change your appearance, so if you don't like who you are you can change the character if you have the money.
This game does have an experience and level system. As you play and craft and complete jobs and fight monsters you will gain experience. You have a few skill trees to choose from, depending on your play style and what you are focusing on. If you want to play more of a harvesting and peaceful gameplay, there are skills for that. If you want to be more social, you can choose skills and perks that will help with what you are doing and with whom you are associating. If you want to go more of the battle route you can choose health and combat centered boosts to help with the fighting. There are ways to reallocate your points if you want, which may be worth while later in the game as you get end game weapons, armor, and tools.
At certain points in the year there are events and contests, so improving certain abilities will benefit you if you want to participate in the competitions. For example there is a martial arts competition where you can fight different people in the city, and you'll get points depending on how well you do, how well you place. You will get points to spend at the seasonal shops for limited time items as well as other items that may improve skills.
As mentioned above you can have relationships with the citizens of Portia. As you complete tasks for the villagers you will gain levels of trust and respect. There are certain members of Portia that if you would like you can take them on dates, eventually having a romantic relationship with them which could lead to marriage and children if you would like. There are different benefits for marrying one citizen or another. One citizen will allow you to have a certain pet while another will give you certain items or help on your farm / workshop from time to time. There are a lot of different personalities to meet, so if you don't find someone you're interested keep looking.
During the weekdays, in the mornings, you can go to the city job board to see what tasks or requests the citizens may have. There are other engineers or builders in town, so if you aren't there early enough they could choose a quest or job that you may want. From time to time there will be major requests from the mayor in ways to improve the city. For example you may need to build light poles to illuminate the city or taxi cabs and stops to improve travel around the city and countryside. Not all of the jobs will progress the story, but many of the ones that do require an effort to complete the requested product. Some of the jobs are time sensitive, so you have to complete them within a few days or weeks, depending on how intense the request is. Before you take the job it'll tell you what is being requested, how long you have to complete it, and how much you'll be paid upon completion. This is one of the best ways to make money and gain reputation.
As you start you are given a broken down shack with cracked windows and a busted floor. The outside fence is falling apart and you have a very small yard with very little space to do anything. You have your crafting table and assembly area, where you will put together larger projects that require multiple parts, like a bus, blimp, light pole, elevator, or bridge pieces, just to name a few. There is a list of the different items that require the assembly area, as well as the required parts to make it and their raw pieces. As you get more and more jobs you'll need more and more tools and crafting stations so you can produce what you need for your requested jobs.
Some of the citizens have different shops where you can buy and sell goods. Some people will only accept certain products, and depending on the day you will buy and sell for different costs. If you don't want to harvest and refine products you can purchase some of them from the shops to help in your jobs if you need. The shops are a good way to make the last few coins you need for upgrades or to get rid of the extra junk you don't need laying around the workshop.
You will work with one of the people in town to improve your house, fence, crafting table, assembly area, and can build other upgraded stations for you to work on. Some of those will be required as you progress through the game, as you will need improved tools and tables to build more complex machines and complete more difficult jobs. You can purchase or build different furniture and ornaments for your house and yard so you can have it look however you would like. You can and will need to purchase more land adjacent to your current property so you can build more tools to make the products you need. You can readjust the layout of your yard and workshop whenever you need, and can put different crafting and refining stations in your inventory so you can change how things look and flow around and in hour house.
There are different activities that you can do during the day, such as harvest materials, grow crops, talk to the people of Portia, fight monsters in the different combat areas, or simply stay at home and make things in your local workshop. You can dig in the different abandoned dig sites, fish around the rivers and in the ocean, chop trees in the tree farm, go on a date, or catch a bite to eat in the cafe. You may not do the same thing each day, as there is a variety of things to do. You can blitz through the game and get it done as fast as you can or take as long as you want to do anything and everything. It's as casual or as intense as you want it to be.
Overall the game is one of my favorites I've played in a long while. I found myself playing until the late hours of the night, wanting to do one more day or complete one more job. I was enthralled with improving Portia and upgrading my house, as well as getting and creating more and more intricate items. I stayed up late taming llamas and riding my horse around the town. I fed and raised my chickens, ducks, sheep, and cows. I visited the barren desert, the soggy swamps, the snowy mountains, and the bubbling hot springs. I took my date out on hot air balloon rides and played on the swings and talked under the tree. I grew to like the citizens of Portia, learning their different personalities and quirks. This game is a great game to play whether you have a few minutes or a few hours to play at a time. It would be worth the cost at full price and completely worth picking up on sale. It gets a little grindy at points but is definitely worth playing at least once.
There is a good variability of gameplay options, depending on how you want to play.
Controls are easy to pick up and master.
The music accentuates the gameplay without drawing away from it. It does get repetitive, so it's really easy to forget.
Crafting is very well done. Many items require other items that need to be crafted, so it adds a level of difficulty for the end tier gameplay.
There are great characters in this game. A lot of them are very tropey and cliche, but that's to be expected a game like this.
PROS / CONS
- Simple yet difficult
- Lots to do
- Dynamic gameplay
- Enjoyable challenges
- Only saves when you sleep
- Simple yet difficult at the same time
- Steep difficulty spike with certain projects
- Irritating characters