My Time At Portia Review

PC/ Adventure

My Time at Portia is one of the most endearing, intriguing, and engaging games to take a crack at the Stardew Valley / Harvest Moon formula that I've ever seen. With so much to see, do and interact with, be prepared to happily volunteer countless hours to this amazing little title.

The Basics

As a builder, you'll take on commissions to make everything from furniture to vehicles for the local government and populace. Along the way, you'll slowly uncover not only the story of Portia and the greater world, but the individual stories of each citizen you befriend. With everything from mining to building, farming to dungeon crawling, the game never lacks for things to do. In fact, if you don't budget your time and resources right, you can quickly find yourself drowning in commissions and favors that you can't possibly complete.


Story & Flow

You are a builder who has moved to Portia to take over your father's workshop. The world at large is recovering from an apocalypse and as a result, many people fear the technology that existed during the dark times. Because of this, most cities are small and rely on the people within for everyday needs, and this goes doubly for builders like yourself.

The real key to this title are the relationships you'll build with other residents. Of course you can befriend, romance, and even marry many of the townsfolk, but it's the way the game delivers these interactions that makes it so engaging. As a builder, many people have private commissions for you, either to help their business or just something they personally want, and out of these interactions, you can further friendships that allow dates, both casual and romantic, to further increase your relationships.


This game continually surprised me with how intuitive it is. Quite often I found myself saying "You know, this would be even better if they had a system that did X," only to stumble right into that very mechanic. Are you making strides in your relationship with Alice? Well, her little brother gets some of that spillover progress because you're such good friends with his sister. Want more attention from townsfolk needing private commissions? Why not take out an ad in the local paper? Don't want your main squeeze to get mad that you're dating someone on the side? Well, don't take them on a date where they can run into each other.


The game's lore is revealed gradually, day by by, special event by special event, and personal interaction by personal interaction. It takes very little time to become engrossed in this world and really start to care about the people in it. Everyone has a schedule that varies from day to day, even more so if the weather is inclement, and it all adds up to a living, breathing world that you really feel a part of.


Things in Portia aren't all sunshine and kittens, though. The days often feel too short to accomplish everything you'd want (largely due to how long crafting takes), you can occasionally accept contracts that you are literally incapable of fulfilling (thus guaranteeing a drop in the relationship with that person and in your reputation as a builder), and to top it off, it has a very frustrating save system. Rather than letting you save at anytime, you can only autosave when you sleep at night. It's not bad at first, but if you have to pull away from your game for some reason, you either have to finish the day and be late to whatever real world engagement you have or drudge through the same morning and afternoon you already spent time on. This also means that if you want to make backup saves so you can explore different options (like romance,) things aren't easy. The game only retains about a week's worth of saves, though (and I had to search for this) you can back those saves up. Better than it could've been, but still not where I'd like to see it.


Graphics & Sound

The game's graphics aren't anything that's going to tax your system, but they are quite nice for the feel of the game. The town, the creatures, the world, they all look gorgeous and feel alive with swaying grass and realistic weather. Sounds are just as good, though occasionally (mostly in dungeons) it can be difficult to figure out the source of some noises.


The characters themselves are beautiful. They all look and feel unique, helping to add to the attachment you can gain just by interacting with them. None of them feel generic and it looks like real time and effort when into each one's creation. Unfortunately, while most interactions are voiced, you can find specific characters that don't have voice lines that other characters do. For instance, there is a group of three sisters, all nearly identical. Two of the three have audible voices for nearly all interactions, but one seems to be missing several voice over files. This can get a little annoying when there's no consistency in which characters will have voice overs for which scenarios.



 If you're a fan of either Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, this is an easy choice. It's those games, but in 3D and with a unique charm. Even if you're not a fan of grinding in the mines all day or spending hours chopping trees, there's still something here for everyone. The personal relationships and the level of interaction with the townspeople is pleasantly surprising, usually making the long grinds worth it. The seasons change, the people react, contracts you don't take are fulfilled by other builders; life moves on in Portia, with or without you. But with as much as this game offers, I'd wager you'll want to be a part of that life.

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