My Time at Portia: Preliminary Review

My Time at Portia is an enchanting game currently in development by Pathea and is slated for release this coming October. Currently, an Alpha version is available on Steam to demo. This open-world RPG/sim game combines farming and relationship-building elements from games like Rune Factory and Stardew Valley with the crafting, combat, and scavenging of Terraria and Minecraft.

Set in a quaint, post-apocalyptic town sitting in the wake of a ruined city-scape, your character inherits a shabby workshop once owned by your father. While farming is present, the meat of the game is focused on crafting and growing your workshop to be the best in town.

According to Pathea’s website, in Portia, each character has their own story arcs and daily schedules. You can build up friendships and romance with characters and eventually get married. There will also be multiple, distinct geographic areas to explore, each with their own creatures and items.

I’ve played a few hours, and I am already in love with this game. The start reminds of Terraria, utilizing the crafting ability to set up shop and improve your gear. The art style is charming and whimsical. The music is orchestrated, relaxing and dream-like. The battle music is fun, energetic, and catchy.

The character customization is deep like The Sims. You get two tones of color for hair, eye, and skin to play with for highlights and lowlights. I used blue and black to make my character’s hair (see below). You can customize the style and length of your hair as well as the shapes and sizes of your facial features and stature. While there is no female player in the build yet, there is an icon that indicates there will be one. It also feels like the customizing options are just a taste of what will be in the full game.

The mining mechanics are unique, using terraforming in a way that feels like you’re really on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to turn up. Like Terraria, the color of the ground is indicative of the material you obtain. It costs money to enter the mine, but I feel that’s a good roadblock to prevent the endless gold stream like you get in Story of Seasons games. Pathea’s website states that there are two types of mines, ones for gathering materials and ones for fighting monsters. I like that the two will be separate.

The crafting feels very hands on like you are a master mechanic putting struts and beams together to make cool things. There doesn’t appear to be any terraforming in the outer world, and I like that. You can expand your land and improve your house with the aid of a construction company, similar to Story of Seasons.

As an avid Terraria player, the similar action bar makes this game an easy transition. There are also quite a few quests available in just the demo alone, including main-line ane side-story. As a World of Warcraft veteran, the tracked quests on the side with the mini map is also another familiarity I enjoy. There are also seasons, festivals, and (I’m assimung) birthdays like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley.

The combat is non-turn-based RPG style, basically a hack and slash with dodge routine. You get a dodge roll ability from the start. Stardew Valley players will need to keep in mind that combat (and dodging) deplete stamina. Your character acquires levels and each creature has a level as well.

crafting station

Minor Spoilers Ahead
The following information appears in the demo, so if you plan to play and want to experience it organically, skip to after the next photo.

While there is no story in the demo, there are hints at a few things that could play into a larger plot. Your father leaves a letter saying he’s halfway around the world and apologizes for not being present in your life. Where is he, and why did he leave the workshop? Is he some kind of traveler and adventurer?

Before your first foray into the mine, the Civil Corp member tells you that any relics of the old society need to be turned into the Temple of the Light for destruction. If you venture into the research lab, they request relics be brought to them instead of the church. It gives off a Horizon: Zero Dawn vibe. What happened to cause the apocalypse? What are these pieces of tech that you will uncover?

One of the loading screens also mentions “the ever-present pressure from the Duvos Empire.” This may give us a clue to the nature of the story’s antagonists.

corroded buildings in the distance

While this is just the Alpha build, there is already a lot to do in the game. You can collect resources, adventure into the first mine, craft items for clients, shop, fish, and explore the immediate area. There’s already so much content in the demo, and I can’t wait to see the rest. It feels like it’s going to be a 100+ hour game for me.

The devlogs sound extremely promising, trying to minimize the shortcomings of farming sim games (the tedium… the TEDIUM!) and focusing on the workshop. We also got a glimpse of some character models that are absent in the present build as well as the female player character.

If this sounds like a game that’s right up your alley, give the demo a shot. Pathea is open for feedback to improve the game before launch. Just on playing the demo, there are two things I’m hoping for in the finished game. I would really like to customize my hot keys since I usually play FEDS instead of WASD. I’m also hoping that we can zoom out more for a bigger field of vision and the ability to save whenever we want to (not just when going to sleep).

If you would like to stay up to date on My Time at Portia before it’s release in October, check out the devlog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s