It took a full year in early access to be ready, but we can finally confirm it: My time at portia he made it. It is, we remember it for the latest arrivals, a valid hybrid between Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon and Fantasy Life: one of those games in which apparently all you have to do is enjoy the desired life, while (without realizing it) you are working hard to build it brick by brick. The developers belong to the practically unknown team of Pathea Games, but the publisher behind them is the much better known Team17: the same Team17 that in recent years has believed in the success of many unknown indies, which have thus managed to attract the attention of a good number of fans of their respective genres (the same fans who now adore them). We have a hint that the fate of My Time At Portia will be more or less similar, happy and lush, especially considering that at the moment the competition on current-generation consoles - except for Stardew Valley - is not at its level. Let's try to understand with this review who should give My Time At Portia a chance, and for what reasons.
After just a couple of minutes of gameplay, My Time At Portia immediately brings to mind Animal Crossing, perhaps one of the most important exponents of a genre that we could define as a "disengaged life simulator". Yet the first of the two basic differences between the productions immediately stands out, namely the plot game (the second will be the RPG component). Where Animal Crossing has never really had a plot, a supporting narrative or a purpose, My Time At Portia instead has them, and it does so from the beginning of the narrative. The protagonist arrives on the island of Portia to inherit the paternal shop, since his parental figure at some point decided to disappear to go wandering around the world. The mayor welcomes him willingly, accompanies him to his new home (a shack that will be duly restored) and gives him the few (but precious) things that his father left behind before leaving, that is the tools for the crafting.
From here on, a slow but detailed tutorial will follow that will gradually put the player in a position to know everything (absolutely everything) that he needs to know to get the most out of the Pathea Games title, with commendable clarity. The plot of My Time At Portia, however, will not end up abandoned shortly thereafter; the player will have the possibility to determine how best he believes his life in the new city, to make the choices he prefers, to marry or remain single, to weave social relationships or to become the antipathetic of the area, but always within a delicate narrative frame. Among the main protagonists, apart from the more than 50 non-player characters with whom it is possible to chat and interact in various ways, there are representatives of science and the local church. The player soon learns that My Time At Portia is a delicate one post-apocalyptic world: There have been some wars related to certain artifacts of enormous power that have devastated it. The church therefore believes that only some of these tools should be used: those capable of making the lives of the inhabitants better; on the other hand, science is driven by a healthy interest in any instrument coming from the past.
However, there are no extreme positions on both sides: the game remains perfectly usable by a very wide range of users, from the youngest and very young to older adults. The immediate approach to My Time At Portia remains fundamentally casual and the title is configured as a full-bodied indie suitable for everyone and all ages. Completing the main narrative will take several hours, which may increase or decrease slightly depending on the player's approach; in general, however, it will take a very long time to explore Portia and the neighboring regions in each ravine, since various secrets and mysteries are hidden everywhere. You never know around which corner, for example, you might find a dungeon that you didn't notice before.
As if all the basic contents weren't enough, My Time At Portia also has a large number of precious trophies on its PlayStation 4, including the coveted Platinum Trophy. Unlocking it will not be particularly complex, but it will take a very long time: apart from completing the main game plot, in fact, you will have to dedicate yourself to a very large number of side missions and meet all particular conditions. Reading the complete trophy list (spoiler-free) is a good start.
My Time At Portia draws its elements from immediately recognizable and intuitive games: Harvest Moon, the aforementioned Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Dragon Quest Builders and Minecraft. If the main goal is to enjoy a healthy life in the countryside, relaxing and exploring the surroundings at their own pace, a more dynamic direction comes from the components related to the crafting, exploration and combat. In My Time At Portia there is always something to do, mainly build, build and build, with what appears to be one of the most full-bodied, detailed and precise crafting systems in recent years. Noteworthy is the fact that the player is not left to himself after the first few minutes of the game: there are menus as detailed as they are easily readable, and everything is rigorously translated into Spanish.
The construction possibilities of My Time At Portia are managed on various levels of complexity: it starts with simple axes, clubs and picks that can be easily assembled with a little stone and timber to get to bridges, vehicles, houses and much more. To build the most complex tools, just pay attention to the indications in the menu of projects left to the protagonist by his missing father: it clearly indicates how many and which materials are needed, and also the procedures to follow. The island and the surrounding areas abound with these raw material, as long as you know where to look for them: and this is where the exploratory component of the game takes over. But if you want you can always choose other ways, based on your style: for example you could evaluate the purchase of objects directly from the city market. To integrate the component linked to crafting, undoubtedly the best and most accurate of the title, there is the most purely one RPG, based on dungeon exploration and the combat. These are never really demanding challenges, and after all these are definitely the aspects that will make Animal Crossing fans turn up their noses, who would never dream of wearing a pair of gloves or assembling a club to fight monsters in caves. , complete with real boss fights.
Obviously, exploration and combat provide essential bonuses to facilitate your adventure: coins, rare materials, and above all experience points (but the latter are obtained in many ways, even in different quantities). The protagonist can thus level up, unlocking new skills articulated in areas such as crafting, combat and "social" (relationships with other inhabitants). To describe the functioning of the city of Portia, all the characters present, their professions and the possibilities of interaction with them, a separate article would be needed: try to imagine an enhanced version of Fantasy Life or Harvest Moon, to get an idea . In Portia there is really an adventure, a mission, a task that awaits you around every corner, and they are all different: you can choose to fight the creatures of the dungeons, to take care of your property and customize all the customizable, to dedicate yourself to history, relationships with the surrounding area, or simply enjoying a solitary life by taking your time. After all, isn't the game called "My Life in Portia"?
My Time At Portia is one of those titles that can kidnap the player after a few minutes, without ever returning them to real life. It is a perfectly balanced mix between different genres, but all able to make the player the real protagonist of his actions, which he can perform respecting his times and his personal inclinations. In My Time At Portia you manage a family property, building what you want most. It is possible to establish relationships with other characters; explore a vast and lively game world; fight monsters; enjoy the storytelling; do nothing and stare at sunrise and sunset from the island's dock. From the intertwining of all these elements of the game derives the goodness of the work: if the game continues to receive support, we do not doubt that it will attract the attention of lovers of the genre. Try it.
- Vast, colorful and detailed
- Lots of different game possibilities
- Crafting is excellent
- Some mechanics work much better than others
- Technically it needs some finishing
- Forgettable soundtrack