Moving to a new town is always kind of intimidating, especially when your father left a legacy of greatness there. You know, after he abandoned you and your mother to move there and died unexpectedly, leaving his dilapidated workshop to you.
That’s how you enter My Time at Portia, a game which has you build up your reputation as a craftsman by building things that people want, from wood, stone and the ruins of civilisation. Oh, I didn’t mention that this world was built on top of ours post-apocalypse? Yeah, the game rarely focuses on that. Just know that the people are scared of CD-ROMs and fascinated by broken washing machines.
You begin, as usual with these games, by meeting everyone and getting the briefest of tutorials on how to start crafting things. However, you soon run out of things to construct because you lack the materials, so that’s what the next 80% of your playtime will be sunk into.
There are several places you can enter which are basically mines. You have to dig up metal ores, design schematics on CDs and all manner of “old world” junk. You have to pay for the privilege, because you’re loaned a jetpack and special goggles that enable you to spot where the digable stuff is. As you level up and get more stamina, this leads to a curious position of finding enough time to mine for things, as well as take orders for things to craft from the town hall.
Everything takes time, and My Time at Portia has a day/night cycle. You can go to bed at any point to restore your stamina, but it will skip to the next day when you do. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for some bronze bars to smelt themselves, or maybe copper pipes, so will have nothing to do until 7am - so just go to bed. There are events that happen at set times around town, but you’re usually notified in advance by post, where it gets added to your calendar.
Once you take an order, and have the materials to craft it, you hand it over and get paid. It’s that simple - make money, craft bigger things, afford to dig in more mines… It’s pretty simple in its current state. There is a dating mechanic, but I didn’t have much luck. It seems I was concentrating on my career as a crafter too much, since no matter how many times I spoke to people, challenged them to rock, paper, scissors or beat them up, they never wanted to go on a date with me. You can spar with people to get those relationship points, I wasn’t just picking fights…
Which reminds me, I didn’t mention combat. Each swing of a weapon/your fists uses stamina, just like digging or picking up random stones or sticks. You can also roll to avoid enemy attacks, but it’s really just a case of battering whatever you want to kill.
The character and enemy designs look great, they wouldn’t look out of place in a children’s cartoon. Even the boss monster looks kid-friendly. If the developer Pathea Games is looking at getting an all-ages audience, then they’re definitely going along the right lines.
If you wished that Harvest Moon had less farming and more crafting, then you should definitely look into My Time at Portia now that it has hit Early Access. Just remember, copper and tin makes bronze, you can’t mine that. No, of course I’m not speaking from experience of trying to mine it for two days before I remembered!