My time at Portia. Living in a builders paradise.

My time at Portia. Living in a builders paradise.



I was supposed to have written this review at least a week ago but I had a commission to make some ropes for someone. And there were a bunch of items missing from the towns folk , so that a mystery I could not pass by. My supply of hardwood and copper were running low too, so a quick gathering and mining trip could not hurt much , right? Then old Sophie asked me so nicely to deliver some of the milk , I could just not say no to that little old lady. Had a chat with Emily after catching those naughty chicks of hers again, they keep running away. And oh yeah , I just won the martial arts tournament. Strongest fighter of Portia right here folks! Not that I mean to brag or anything. And I still have a laundry list of things to do but it is time to sit down and jot down my thoughts on the latest game by Pathea.

 
What is it
My time at Portia ( as in Por-sha) is building and resource management game with a solid dose of RPG lite exploring and relation ship simulator thrown in. Drawing inspiration from games such as Harvest Moon, Dark cloud 2, Animal Crossing and a good dose of Stardew Valley, the game introduces you as a return citizen at the town of Portia. The time has come to take over the family business as your fathers abandoned workshop awaits a steady hand. You are greeted by Presley , commissioner of the Portia commerce guild. He shows you the ropes and soon you are off to start your own business and partake in the little town's economy making friends and rivals along the way.

Soon you realize that everyone needs something in this town, including yourself. But it is not all building all the time. You get to explore dangerous ruins, fight a variety of beasties and monsters and collect rare technology items from civilization long forgotten. A civilization that relied on technology until it was lost in some apocalyptic event. But this post-apocalyptic world is not dark and empty,instead it is filled with color, nature and a town of fellow villagers always looking for a chat or a celebration. So keep an eye on your mailbox for invitation to one of the towns grand festivities. You don't  want to miss it. And it is good to take a break from all that hard work.

Gameplay
The main gameplay loop in My time in Portia is gathering resources and building things. Some things you make are for your own workshop so you can expand your catalog of products. Others are commissions for the locals or quest items as you progress through the game. The circle of gathering materials , turning them into construction material in order to make a final product is smooth and balanced enough to be challenging without being frustratingly hard or so easy it makes you tune out and get bored. There are items you can make directly from your workbench and others take time to put together and often involve your assembly station and many different tools plus time to put together.

All the items you can create are in your "workshop handbook" but it has to grow overtime with experience and research. As you mine for resourced in the abandoned ruins you will find data discs . Some of these carry secrets of the old times and the scientists in the research center can decipher these for you.Or you can turn them into the church who will gladly dispose of them for you and award you for your contribution with wholesome farming technology. In other cases you get build plans and recipes handed to you by villagers who ask you for a favor or two.

There is also some combat involved and even though you can avoid a fight if you want to, there will be a time you need to get involved in order to get the right resources. Because buying them from other vendors just gets too expensive. Combat is light and involves mostly clicking the mouse button to attack and the right mouse button to evade while you move around with the arrow keys. Food items, portions and medicine can give you buff to outlast a fight or to recover after.

All this work will deplete your stamina points , so eventually it will be time to go home and sleep for the night. Which is how you also save  your game. 

And even with all that you still need to find the time to build good relation ships with the people around you. Talk to them , give them gifts, play games with them and keep in touch. You can even get married if you impress someone enough and buy them a pretty ring to give them during a romantic proposal.

All this does not even scratch the surface of what you can do and how the game keeps pushing content to keep you busy. You can upgrade your house, workstations, buy more land, lasso cattle, fish in the rivers, have a meal at the local diner etc. etc.  The 24 hour days in which each minute is a second real time is just too short to do everything you want to do. So  you make choices and prioritize. Wake up, run the smelters and saws and grinders. Make sure they have enough fuel. Go talk to some people , go do a little mining, turn in some research and be back in town for one of its many festivals. Then you go back to bed and a new day awaits.

The scope of things to do is impressive and you do not have to worry about choosing the wrong activity because you gain experience on almost everything you do. As you progress you move up levels and you can assign skill points to a progression tree making you a better fighter, builder and/or communicator. each with its own advantages

Presentation
With a colorful pallet, diverse cast and a cartoony style, My time at Portia paints a most lovely picture of a post-apocalyptic society. But the do not be fooled by the "simplistic" artstyle. The is a lot of variety in the way people look, move around and converse with you . The environments look beautiful and particularly during sunset. Because yes there are day and night cycles, weather patterns and a lot more going on around you.
The enemy and animal variety is abundant and feels fresh and inspired instead of retreading the same look we have seen so many times.

 The background music is low key and reactive to what is going on but never grinding or overbearing. There is voice acting in the game , but not for all characters or all lines. From what I understand they are still adding more dialog into the game over time so this will change as the game develops. The only problem with the voice acting is its consistency.  This is on a technological level as some recordings sound like they were recorded in a bathroom, to lacking direction ( I even heard one character pronounce the town name wrong). But it is nice to have a voice for the characters you meet. Including the one you play. Important moments play out in a small cut scene and automatically get screenshot into an album. A nice little touch to revisit those moments later on.

In most cases the game is pretty clear on what is expected of you and what to do next, even if you are not ready for it yet. You have a logbook for your quests, inventory management is easy and it even comes with an autosort. Here the only problem for me was having to keep using the quick equip slots to place items. It felt like an unneeded extra step.  The amount of glitches I encountered were small and even if they happened were not game breaking so far. But the game has been in open access for a while so that must play a big part in this.


Parent Recommendation
The ESRB rating for this game is set to E10+ due to some mild violence and alcohol references. It is all bare minimum. Perhaps the fact you can walk up to a colorful fluffy rainbow lama and take is too much for the littlest ones. but there is nothing more then a puff of smoke followed by items you gather from it. No blood or gore involved.  I feel that the choices you get presented and the relationships you can build with the town allow for character development and minimize the level of violence introduced into the game. The mini games, town events and discovery of ancient relics ensures the game has something to offer for young and old. You do need to be able to read the conversations and quest logs but all build plans have clear pictures showing what you need to progress and finish the recipe.  This is a game the kids can watch being played or  play themselves  without constant supervision.

Overall Recommendation
My time at Portia offers countless hours of content in a friendly space within a light sandbox RPG. Failing does not bring dire consequences as the attraction to the game is the gameplay loop and discovering that next big thing you want to make. It has become my go to game away from high action shooters to just relax with. And it offered me way to many "just one more thing" moments that I just could not say no to.  Soon the game will be launched on consoles as well, including the Nintendo Switch and that seems like a perfect platform to be on.  Even though I normally do not gravitate to resource and builder games I can recommend with confidence to check out My time at Portia.  Now if you excuse me it is time to build 6 stone tables for my client and deliver them by morning. After that I will go to bed. promise.



Game information:
Title: My time at Portia
Developer: Pathea games
Publisher: Team 17
Release dateJan 15, 2019 (PC)
Platforms: Steam ( Switch and PS4 later in 2019)
Version Reviewed: PC ( Steam)
Official Site:https://portia.pathea.net/
ESRB: E (everyone) 10+ (Alcohol Reference, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes)

No comments

Powered by Blogger.