My Time At Portia Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Pathea games

Published By: Team 17

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to Team 17 for providing a review code

Please note this review was written before the May 21 2019 update.

It’s hard these days not to compare pretty much every title with farming to Stardew Valley. It just did everything so well, and it happens to be my second most played game on my Switch. If there was another game to rival Stardew Valley I would have originally thought My Time At Portia would be the one. After playing My Time At Portia I’ve realized that it’s a game with some heart, but it doesn’t meet the expectations that Stardew has set.

Story

My time At Portia begins with you the player. You have full freedom to customize your character how you see fit. After your character is created the story begins with a ship that brings you to Portia. Your journey to Portia is all because, you’re taking over the workshop that once belonged to your Pa. Pa has left Portia and entrusted you to head his workshop with nothing, but his old workbook and the clothes on your back. It’s there at this workshop where your whole will begin to develop. New adventures and relationships will form and It’ll be up to you, to help Portia flourish.

The lore of My Time At Portia is something that you may find yourself getting very invested in. There’s a large amount of religious undertones and symbolism used throughout the story. The “Church of Light” and the research center both clash a lot throughout the game. I won’t get too much into it, but you can discover relics of the past during your playthrough and the research center will want to harness the information and learn from it, while The Church of Light will want it destroyed. Maybe it’s me thinking too much into it, but it seems My Time At Portia sets out to create this clash of science vs faith. I don’t think it does it to be political however. No My Time At Portia does it in a more thought provoking way that makes the player think a bit about it without totally going down the rabbit hole. I appreciate the thought that when into this part of the story, because the rest of the story is relatively tamed and not overly exciting.

Before I begin the Gameplay section I want to let readers know that I will be handling this review a little bit differently then I handle other reviews. Because, there are so many elements to My Time At Portia I will be breaking down each one in their own paragraph. Please be aware this is going to be a long review.

Gameplay

Quest & Commissions

Quests and commissions make up a large chunk of My Time At Portia’s gameplay. The entirety of the game is based around these tasks. When you first arrive at Portia you will be given specific tasks to do, so you can progress in the story. these tasks will usually involve opening up new parts of the map. For example, the first big task you’re assigned into build a bridge so you can cross over to one of the smaller islands. As you progress more quest like this will come up and suddenly you will singlehandedly be expanding Portia into an even bigger city.

Completing missions will always require you to build a specific item or gather a certain number of resources. To gather resources you’ll have to chop down trees and dive deep into the mines. Be careful, however, because you do have a stamina bar that drops every time you perform an action. Once your stamina reaches zero you won’t be able to do any more task besides walk around and talk to people. Your assembly station is where you will put together your bigger projects. You’re going to need lots of different tools to create all your essentials. Furnaces, grinders, and cutters are just some of the different workstations you’ll build in order to be able to create items to satisfy everyone’s needs.

Side quests are also found throughout the main story and can be timed or untimed. They usually involve a fetch quest of sorts and over up some rewards, that are usually less than what you would receive from a story missions. these side quests can sometimes yield items that may be hard to come across, so they’re always worth doing.

Commissions are where you will earn the bulk of your extra funds. Depending on the level of your workshop new commissions will be posted every day. You’re allowed to take one commission at a time. You can complete one every day if you have the resources to finish them. They start out not offering much, but it won’t take long until the commissions start paying out well. Something else that’s also gained from doing quests and commissions is relationship points.

Relationships

During your time at Portia you will get the chance to meet a diverse cast of characters to develop relationships with. Not only will these characters give you quests, but you can also chat with them to get to know them better. You can also find items to give as gifts to people to increase your friendship points with them. Depending on the character an item may earn you more or less friendship points. If you want to get romantic you can even gain a high enough relationship with someone to eventually marry them

Even if you decide not to marry anyone and ride solo on your playthrough it’s still very beneficial to develop relationships with characters. If you reach certain levels of relationships with characters you actually gain bonuses from them. Make friends with one of the many residents who owns a shop and you might just get a discount the next time you go. I really liked the fact that relationships actually gave you a passive bonus for developing them. It was a really nice addition. However. what I felt was a bit annoying was how long it takes to increase your relationship level with someone. I found it took way longer than it needed to.

Another problem with My Time At Portia’s relationships are the characters themselves. I just couldn’t seem to really connect with most of the characters and was only increasing my relationship with them for the bonus. They just weren’t overly likable and didn’t have the uniqueness to make any of them really stand out.

Mining

if you want to be able to build anything you’re going to have to adventure into the mines. My Time At Portia has multiple abandoned mines you can visit to search for ores and other treasures. The one difference about the mines here compared to other games is that you have to pay to get into them. Yes, that’s right capitalism has even taken control of the mines in My Time At Portia and you’ll have to pay a price if you want a pass for a week (I joke about the whole capitalism bit.

After having sometimes to explore the minds I can definitely say it was my least favorite part of My Time At Portia. The mines aren’t like in Stardew Valley, where each section differs and has its own environment. No these mines are quite boring and lackluster. When you enter you’re given a scanner and a jetpack. The jetpack is nice, because it helps you fly around the mine and get yourself out of any big hole you dig. The scanner is used to find objects and artifacts that are hidden in the mine. Some of the objects you need to complete quest are found specifically in the mine like the old disk which are given to the research lab to unlock new designs.

The problem with the mines is that they’re boring and looks terribly bland. You just stand there and mine ores and that’s it. There’s colored parts of rock in the mine and that signifies that there are specific ores in that area which makes mining a bit less tedious. Overall the mining is just not fun and exhibits no charm like the games other tasks do.

Items & Creations

My Time At Portia gives you access to tons of different items and furniture that can be used for actual task or just as furniture. Items like chairs and tables can be placed in your home and will actually provide benefits to your character. These benefits usually include increases to your maximum health or stamina.

You can also build other items that will open up new activities for you to do. There’s an option to build a grill to start creating new recipes, or you can build a fishing rod to start fishing during your free time. There’s tons of activities to do and they’re sure to keep you busy for quite some time. I encourage you to try all the different tasks, because you can have tons of fun with them.

Combat

Unfortunately, the combat is another area where My Time At Portia doesn’t excel. The combat involves dodging and striking enemies with whichever weapon you have equipped. The combat just feels wonky as it hit boxes are a bit off and all you’re doing is striking enemies and hoping you don’t get hit back. When you hit an enemy, it seems to stun them so they can’t hit you back. This, however, is not always the case as I had enemies hit me after I had already hit them. Furthermore, this becomes problematic when you have two enemies fighting you at the same time as you can only get out one attack before you’re unable to attack anymore. There’s also no stunned animation so once you get hit by an enemy, you simply stand there and just cannot attack. The combat effects overall look bad, and the combat is so weird and not well developed that I tried to avoid it when I could.

Farming

Unlike many other games of this type My Time At Portia doesn’t have a heavy focus on farming. I spent a lot more time building items and finishing commissions then I did planting crops, or tending to my animals. You can plant tons of different crops and trees in planter boxes to harvest when they’re finished. Certain ones will grow during specific seasons, which is important to note, but besides that the farming is very simplistic. There’s no need to water your crops and the only extra thing you can do is add fertilizer to increase your total yield. Farming also doesn’t make a large amount of money, therefore its main purpose is for cooking or stocking up on gifts for players. I was a bit disappointed to see that the farming mechanics weren’t overly fleshed out, but they weren’t terrible. Farming is definitely much more fun in My Time At Portia for very casual gamers.

I know that I mentioned a lot of negatives about My Time At Portia and it seems like didn’t have much fun with the game at all, but that’s not true. I actually had a great time with building new items, and collecting the abundance of items in the world. Exploring the town and visiting the shops and other spots was really enjoyable. While some mechanics aren’t done as well as I had hoped and the people may not be the most charismatic there’s still some pleasure to be found within My Time At Portia

Presentation

If you’re looking for beautiful visuals then you have definitely come to the write place. My Time At Portia has created a genuine and colorful world that is breathtaking to explore. From the shops, to the fields, to your own little home everything is just filled with vibrant energy. The atmosphere is so “homey” that I truly felt like I was in my own little second home while I was playing. Some of the enemy designs aren’t the best and I reiterate that the mines still look bland as can be, but everything else is fantastic.

I was really happy that the developers managed to nail the 3D visual design so well. The soundtrack is also really nice and uses soft soundtracks to make everything feel a bit less stressful. Honestly, that’s one big positive about My Time At Portia. Everything feels much less stressed than other similar titles. It was nice to actually feel relaxed while I was sitting back and playing.

Technical Issues

Regrettably, I have to talk about My Time At Portia’s technical issues. I feel that My Time At Portia is a good experience that is really hurt by its technical performance on the Switch. The frame rate is okay, but it often dips below 30fps and sometimes there are massive freezes for more than a few seconds. These frame rate problems are usually accompanied by problems rendering objects which I have seen very often when I’m getting close to a large group of farm animals or monsters.

Another problem with My Time At Portia are the bugs and glitches. Invisible trees that never appear, no tool in your hand appearing when you use it, conversation that never lets you leave so you have to reset your game. Each of these may seem small, but when you add them all together and they’re happening on a semi-regular basis they’re really annoying. There’s plenty of other bugs to be found to as I have gotten stuck in a few different objects. A recent patch was just released to smooth out a lot of issues and I’m thankful of that, but they didn’t fix everything.

Now I think the worst problem out of anything are the load times. It takes me approximately 2 minutes (I timed it to make sure) to load up My Time At Portia. Then to exit your house when you wake it takes another 10-20 seconds. These load times are severely damaging to the experience as a whole and really hurts the ability to play the game in short bursts in handheld mode. Maybe 2 minutes doesn’t sound like a long time to you, but it’s far too long to wait every time I want to play.

Summary

If your a person that’s able to look always at the positive side then you will be able to see through My Time At Portia’s flaws and find that it’s a genuinely fun experience. Exploring and crafting is great, and while some mechanics are underwhelming the package as a whole is a truly nice experience. Now if you’re a person who has a tough time looking past a game’s flaws, then I wouldn’t blame you if My Time At Portis isn’t the game for you. The lackluster combat and mining, mixed with the mediocre characters and terrible technical performance was enough to make me question how I truly felt about this game. In the end My Time At Portia made me enjoy it more than I felt frustrated by it. I don’t recommend this for everyone, but if you can look past its flaws and are here for an interesting new adventure then My Time At Portia may just be worth your time.

7/10

Pros

Cons

  • Interesting Lore
  • Fun to Explore
  • Beautiful Visual Design
  • Nails The Crafting Mechanics
  • Commissions & Quests Are Enjoyable
  • Tons of Activities
  • A Whole Boat Load of Stuff to Collect If You’re Into That
  • Nice Visual Design
  • Actually Relaxing
  • Mediocre Characters
  • Takes Too Long to Increase Relationship Levels
  • Mining is Incredibly Bland
  • Wonky Combat System
  • Awful Loading Times
  • Significant Frame Rate Issues & Numerous Bugs/Glitches

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