For every good Early Access release, there’s another hundred that are a complete waste of your money and time. With Hit It or Quit It, we hope to navigate the minefield that is Early Access and bring you the lowdown on what’s hot and what’s not. Today we’ll be diving into the freshly harvested My Time at Portia, a combination between Harvest Moon and Dark Cloud 2 that brings with it a much welcomed fresh coat of paint and some downright cute visuals.
Let me get this out of the way before we begin. My Time at Portia is a ridiculously cute game. I don’t mean baby in a bonnet cute that men can’t appreciate because it’s not manly, I’m talking baby wolf kinda cute. That’s okay, right? Wolves are dangerous animals; they eat people. Outside of the pleasing visuals, My Time at Portia has plenty else to offer with a feature list that wouldn’t be away from home in a fully released title.
You start off your journey as a new arrival in the small, bustling town of Portia. A vibrant little town filled with an energetic and warm people, they are all eager to impress through the art of Construction. A rundown old workshop, left to you by your pa, complete with broken windows and rickety floorboards is all that sets you apart from the average village dweller, but the potential is near limitless. Thus your adventure begins.
This is not typically a genre of game I go out of my way to play. I find the grinding of materials unrewarding and repetitive, and the construction mechanics are often too cumbersome and frustrating to really enjoy. Although a very basic staple in this genre of videogame, it’s rarely done right. Something as trivial as cutting down a tree and mining a few rocks may seem too basic to warrant much innovation, but games lacking attention in those basic areas are a dime a dozen. This is where My Time at Portia stands out from the crowd. Just swinging away doing your thing, you’re unlikely to notice anything special. It all looks very similar to games that have trodden this path before. However, when you take another swing 30 hours into the game, there is zero fatigue. The animations, the speed in which you gather, the achievement from constructing the various items in the game, it all comes together to make even the mundane task of gathering materials rewarding.
Far too often in this genre of game you’re left with something petty, uninspired, and totally boring – all after hours of harvesting the same materials. My Time at Portia avoids that entirely with a perfect balance between effort and reward. Whether you’ve spent 10 minutes or 10 hours grinding the materials, the items you get in return feel worth it. That’s something very few developers have been able to master in the past.
From a basic set of tools to advanced weapons and machinery, there’s a host of content to keep you going – more than enough for an Early Access release. With humble beginnings of a rundown old workshop soon becomes a hub for trade and creation. Planting and harvesting seeds, tending to animals, smelting bars, everything this genre needs is present and accounted for. When you’re not trading materials with villagers or crafting new items for your Workshop, you’re out hunting animals or exploring dark ruins.
My Time at Portia’s combat system is very basic. A simple swing and dodge mechanic are all that sets you apart from the brightly colored llama at the end of your blade. Although lacking in combination attacks or animation-based skills and attacks, it’s a very solid foundation moving forward. The combat is arguably the games biggest flaw, but it works, it’s accessible and it’s good fun. If you can say that about the worst your game has to offer, you’re doing something right.
Portia’s warming inhabitants add a real old-school vibe to building relationships. Doing various commission jobs, giving them gifts, or partaking in a boxing match or game of rock, paper, scissors – all of it goes towards building relationships which open up additional avenues such as marriage, special requests, and some fantastic dialogue. I made the mistake of feeding a stray cat at the start, and it still won’t leave me alone.
My Time at Portia is a fantastic addition to the Early Access market and is near flawless in technical execution. In all my hours of play I came across one frame-drop glitch and that was it. Wasn’t a crash or bug to be found. Tons of activities, many items to craft, huge customization, it’s all there.
I hate these kinds of games, but I’ve absolutely fallen for My Time At Portia. The verdict is not tough for this one. My Time at Portia is a definite “Hit It.”