My Time At Portia PreviewPlatforms: PC
Naturally with the success of games like Stardew Valley it is inevitable that you see other versions of the farming sim/ life sim genre popping up here and there. The most important thing for these games is that they stand out from the crowd somehow. My Time At Portia does this by being set in a post apocalyptic world, it is a pretty chilled out version of one for sure though which is good because the game has a lot for you to do and it takes a fair chunk of time to do much of it.
You play someone who has inherited there Pa's workshop and this is pretty much all the story you start off with. You work your way through various tasks as you go and unlock new things to build and get stronger as you go. The tasks ramp up pretty quickly going from build an Axe and a Pickaxe straight to build a bridge which is immensely more complex and demanding. To get a lot of these materials you need to go ruin diving.
Ruin diving is a pretty cool idea, you go into ancient ruins and find bits and bobs from the old cultures while occasionally fighting off the monstrosities you come across using whatever you have crafted to defend yourself with. You have to pay to go spelunking but the fee gives you access to a jet pack and a device that lets you track down relics in these abandoned areas. With all of this you can literally just dig straight down into the ground to get materials and uncover treasures which is pretty satisfying due to the loot but not immensely varied.
Using these treasures you can learn how to build new things and also earn some money as you go. Certain things are given to the church to destroy, which is more than a little creepy, it gives the otherwise chilled out game a somewhat sinister feel and it'll certainly be interesting to see how this develops as the game becomes more complete.
Aside from the mechanical things there are plenty of townsfolk to talk to and with each person you can a few different things. You can play rock paper scissors with pretty much everyone and you can spar with a surprisingly large amount of the townsfolk too. Thankfully you can also just chat to them and give them gifts too if you don't want to beat everyone up for their lunch money.
Everything you do nets you some experience and as you level up you can put points into one of the three trees, fighting, gathering and socialising. It is an interesting breakdown and it allows you to focus more on the aspects of the game you like which will help to stave off some of the less desirable tasks.
Both the graphics and the sound design are great. It has a really interesting children's cartoon vibe to it which is very winning. It is genuinely enjoyable to wonder through the town and the scenery encountering the various different people and critters as you do so.
Going back to the building and crafting itself, which is pretty much the core of the game. While it is incredibly satisfying when you get something complicated finished it can often feel like it has taken far longer than you were expecting. Crafting certain composite materials takes a fair chunk of time and it can often feel like you are waiting around for something to finish smelting. This kind of interrupts the feel of the game but you can always try and be more efficient and just accept this while doing some other tasks.
So far the game has a lot of promise and a lot of interesting ideas. Watching it evolve into the final product will certainly be interesting and if the developers can fix a couple of the gameplay flow issues it will definitely be a game to get lost in for a slightly different life sim experience.