My Time at Portia Reviews

AuthorReview
Hazar Khall
555,674 (345,766)
Hazar Khall
TA Score for this game: 3,410
Posted on 09 August 19 at 12:26, Edited on 09 August 19 at 12:40
This review has 3 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
Hello, and welcome to my review of My Time at Portia.

For those who have not played it, or who have been on the fence about it, it is very, very similar to Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper, games like that.
I start with this as my first impression was of a game like Minecraft or Portal Knights, due to the crafting, but it is NOT a voxel game, and it can't really be considered a world builder.

This game was still incredibly enjoyable to me. Though I loved it past its flaws, those flaws are not going unspoken of.

With no further delay, lets start the boat ride together to the mainland, and see what our time at Portia was really like.

STORY
Spoiling as little as possible, the story goes over 300 years before the start of the game, the world was thrown into darkness by warring cities and factions, using advanced weapons (guns, nukes ect).
While this "darkness" *could* be seen as literal or figurative, the in game spoken of hero "Peach" was said to have brought light back to the world, and is thus famous everywhere. As the game uses mail and telegraph as its sole way of long distance communication, this may or may not be a tech based "light".

The player travels to Portia to take over their fathers old workshop, having received a letter it was deeded to them upon the passing of their father.

Though the game branches into a more in depth and serious setting and story, initially? You are looking to start out on your own, and become a builder of your own right.

CONTROLS / GAME PLAY
Played in the third person point of view, the game is a crafting rpg game similar to Graveyard Keeper. It takes place in a post apocalyptic (Ruins like FF10, not wasteland like Fallout) world, in the City of Portia, a town part of a "free cities alliance". The player characters father was a well renowned builder, and explorer of ancient ruins, which hold tech pieces from what is referenced as the "Old world".

In the setting, builder is a term used for those who mine/smelt ore, use furs/leather, build/create/make things from the old world. Because of this, outside of the Civil Corp, adventurers and defenders who protect cities and the roads between them as well as investigate crimes and ancient ruins, builders are seen as the major problem solvers for anybody running into a material they need, a design they want built, or just your average fetch quest.
This is done by, you guessed it, mining, gathering, building, and so on.

You wake up at 7:00, most shops typically open by 7:30- 8, close by 18:00, and going with the 24hr clock, the game will cause you to "pass out" at 3:00 if you haven't slept in your bed (advances time one day, saves game) causing you to... wake up in your bed. No penalty, just at your home, next day starting... which was actually useful at times when I was strapped for time.
You play the game through the 4 seasons, each season being a month. At the end of Winter, the next year officially begins, allowing the seasonal games and prizes to be had again.

The levels and tiers of the materials, buildings, schematics are heavily tied to the story, however. While this makes partial sense in, say, Portal Knights, where the new materials really are behind portals you just need stones for, In MTAP, you will, say, build a lift. Great, Well there are two other areas you could easily do this at, no joke, easily noticeable, in theory with the exact same tech you just built by hand...
...but, you can't touch them, can't place things near them, can't do a thing until it either comes up in the story... or just doesn't get done period for reasons not touched upon. While world shaping is cool, you will be disappointed looking for the chance to do it constantly here.

In typical RPG fashion, you gain experience as you complete quests and tasks, such as tree chopping, workbench creating, smelting and such. You gain perks as you level, split between bettering your combat, crafting, and social/reputation level as well as increasing rewards from quests.
UNLIKE usual RPG fashion, the player has an inventory, with tabs just like any game of its kind, sure, but in THIS game, you unlock inventory tabs, at any time, with the in game money.

You have a small workshop to place items at, and a house to fill a room, later with two small additions. Otherwise, that's it.
Though it is cool to see items you create/build later show up in the world/on the characters in the world, ultimately, you aren't given much space to utilize your workshop requirements AND your design wants/needs. It costs a LOT of time/money to increase the size of your yard, and near the end of the game, when the factory (automated building, takes VERY little space compared to otherwise filling your yard) is finally unlocked, you are potentially 20-28 out of the games 30 achievements, and 85% through with the story.
On TOP of that, MANY of the items placed in your house, are their SOLELY for the stat boosts they provide, as certain items, place able only IN the house, are the only ones that can raise stats, so you are actually limited to what you CAN decorate inside the house if you DON'T want to struggle in game.
In a game with hours and hours worth of play, ruins exploration and the decent number of items there really are, limitations like this really just took away from the experience.

GRAPHICS / SOUND
The game, even with its story riddled with loss, war, and struggle, is still played in a bubbly, layed back fashion. A gentle soundtrack, either an light orchestra, a cheery tune or even just the sounds of nature are played in the background.
Little dings, bings, flashy sounds and whoops accompany the games item pick ups, text bubbles, and experience gains, much like games such as puzzle quest, candy crush, the sims and the like. Some what cutesy at first, though I'll admit after the first few hours, I'd mainly just listen to music, as the sound really isn't important for this game.

The graphics are ever so slightly cartoony, which goes with the vibe the game tries to give off.

The game had subtle differences in summer/spring, which was a nice change. Rain, snow, cloudy days, these occurred, but mainly just to change how the in game NPCs acted, it otherwise left the game play itself unchanged.

There is spoken text at times, usually during cut scenes or important events, but otherwise, the game usually just had written text.

DIFFICULTY
The game isn't too hard. For the most part you are looking a 4/5 difficulty at best, and that's when you are first starting out, trying to figure out the routine of the game. Escapists and Graveyard Keeper seem hard until you do the same.

The combat can be annoying at times, though outside of NEEDING to duel tough Civil Corp members early on, and ruin diving where you get "chances" (think lives, 0 HP = -1 life), you aren't punished for failing in combat. Even Story missions place you right outside of levels, and even bosses, that you have failed at.

In truth, MTAP is a grind. Much of the game is spent resource gathering, much to be expected. Other than that, you are given designs, access to materials, and special items as needed, or are directed to how to get them. When you realize how to prioritize, even that becomes simple.

SCORE / COMPLETION
Just like Graveyard Keeper before it, MTAP is at the top of the list of my favorite 100%s, even with its flaws.
I will still be fair despite what I just said.
MTAP just barely hits 4 stars.

For completions, this game isn't too hard. It is time consuming. For full disclosure, at the time of writing this I am currently packing, in between my old job and my new, and many of my buddies are unavailable, so this game took a week and a half of pretty decent play to complete. Game play wise, I finished by Year 2, Month 1, Day... 20 I believe.
For a point of reference, a certain character is plotted to die 5 in game years after the games completion. I did everything there was to do outside of a small epilogue and a single ruin site. I am unsure if other events exist like that.

The game is obviously meant to appeal to those who loved Stardew Valley or Portal Knights. Its laid back setting, hours worth of ruin diving, creating, yard and house design (outside of the obvious "penalty") and learning of the characters in the world made MTAP a pleasant experience.

The limitations you are presented, the parts of the games that are grinds for no real reason, the railroading of resources and items, and just how late in the game you can actually start to utilize your sense of design make this games replay value much lower than I'd have at first expected.

On the same note, while the story was interesting, while it was fun exploring ruins to see what "artifacts" the old world had to offer, and while character interactions were actually rather fun, replaying the game would be like replaying a Telltale game and choosing a few different choices. Marrying Gust over Phyllis only makes certain things cheaper over others. Oh hey, just got iron, better designate where I know 4 more furnaces and 2 cutters are going.

Its a great experience to play through, though its not something I can see being able to go back to, even as one of my favorite experiences. On a similar note for comparison, Child of Light was a game I held to that standard as well.
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