Review – My Time at Portia

Since it was announced I’ve had my eye on My Time at Portia’s development, watching as it went through early access and how it developed throughout that time. These are the type of games that always really interested me, I love sim/open world games like this that just give you the freedom to play the game how you want.

Portia’s tale starts off with you arriving on the island to take over your Pa’s old work shop and get it up and running again. Fairly run down and with no equipment, you have to forage away for materials while completing quests from the towns folk. Due to the previous events, you find yourself building bridges, public transport and signs to put up in the town. These starter missions will have you getting to grips with basics, getting the correct machinery as well as gradually increasing the complexity of the items you craft.

Random quests can occur with missions being placed in your letter box giving you the option of whether you take them or not, most of these are timed, so I have usually looked to see how easy it would be with my current set up and whether the materials would be easy to gain. You really do need to be careful with the ‘commissions’ you take on because if you run out of time or give up on it, this has a negative effect on the score for your workshop, and you don’t want to be known as the guy who gives up on everything. What I really liked about the quests within the game was that it eased you into things, the game seems to concentrate a lot on crafting and creating, which I guess is the main point of the game, to build a better Portia, but I liked how things were eased to you, it was a relaxing experience where you weren’t pushed to do something within a certain time, you were given the time to explore and enjoy the surroundings and get the materials you needed in your own time.

The world of Portia is lively, the town is quite a maze when you have to navigate it but after a while you kind of remember where everything is. The mini map is fixed with no way to change it and I found this quite confusing as the way I was turning on the screen, wasn’t the same for the map. Much confusion!

I love the design of the game, the colours used and how the world has been presented, its clean, crisp and vibrant enough to keep you entertained with the wildlife living in the outer areas. This was one of the things that attracted me to the game, how it looked, the first screenshots that were released for it, I instantly fell in love with the game and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

When you bring the map up I didn’t really find it to be of much help, a lot of the places were clustered in the town so trying to figure out how to get to some of them, especially those higher up was more of a hit and hope when finding the right path up.

The crafting element of the game was a little confusing at first as you’re working from a ‘craft book’ that was left by your Pa. The craft book basically shows you the design with inscriptions of the elements needed to build it, and maybe others to let you know if another piece of machinery is required first. It was a quirky and novel way of doing it and after a couple of go’s I managed to get my head around it.

There is a combat element to the game in which you can slay animals for resources or beasts that are found in ruins and also on the surface. The combat is simple and as long as you’ve got your sword equipped it’s a simple slash, slash, button bashing. Easy enough.

On the technical side of things, I’ve played both the PS4 version and the Nintendo Switch version, and I must admit that this game is designed well for the Switch, to be able to take on the go and play where ever you want to. The only problem I found was that on the Switch version there were times when there was a significant frame rate drops, only for a second or 2, but the stuttering was off putting, this was mainly when the level up display would come onto the screen, or when I was chopping down a tree/pickaxing a rock and it came to the tree or rock breaking that the game would stutter, even when pressing to go into inventory or into the machinery menu to create something, there would be a slight delay in it going to the menu. I did find this very off putting, especially when coming from PS4 version where this was minuscule and barely noticeable. I’m really hoping that this is patched at some point soon. I did reach out on twitter to the official feed to see if this was something that they were working on, but didn’t get any response. I have emailed in, so will see if I get a response.

One of the games strengths is within how much variety there is to do, just like in Harvest Moon games, you can craft, do missions for others in the town, get married, divorced, adopt a cat… seriously… adopt the cat…. I love pinky!

There are times when I’m sat playing and can feel the game getting repetitive, especially after continuous missions of creating items for the towns folk, the good thing I found was to head elsewhere, maybe going into an abandoned ruin and seeing what treasure I could find, or to areas of the map I hadn’t frequented very often.

Yes, I believe that some may find the game repetitive, but it’s what you make of it that matters. Set goals to achieve such as upgrading something in the house, working towards something new in the work book, My Time at Portia is an adventure that you create and the game allows you to play how you want to.

My conclusion, it’s a brilliant game with a magnitude of things for you to do, a wonderfully crafted world with quirky inhabitants. If you’re into these type of sim games, I would highly recommend.

8
The Good
Wonderfully crafted world
Multitude of things to do
The Bad
Some frame rate and technical glitches hinder gameplay