Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 01, 2020
My Time at Portia

I mentioned some weeks ago that Animal Crossing left me unsatisfied, and I was looking for a better game of the same genre. I already mentioned My Time at Portia there, but I played it on the Switch in an early version, which had some loading time issues; I also found the controls not very satisfying. So when My Time at Portia went on sale on Steam for €12, I bought the PC version. And found it to be much better than the old Switch version (which probably got updated since, but I didn't try that again). And the controls with keyboard and mouse are great. Not only that, they are also largely identical with the controls of Borderlands 3, which is the other game I am currently playing. That helps!

My Time at Portia is a life simulation game, like Animal Crossing, only much, much better. The 3D mining / digging part of the game is brilliant in itself. And My Time at Portia has a lot of features that Animal Crossing doesn't, like earning xp, leveling up, a skill tree, and a far more extensive crafting system. You can even date and marry! Furthermore there is a better story, lots of side-quests, far more characters to interact with, and a larger and more interesting world. Much more game for a fraction of the price of Animal Crossing!

While "post-apocalyptic" isn't my favorite genre, My Time at Portia is post-post-apocalyptic. Colorful and sunny instead of a grim wasteland, but with the ruins of a previous civilization which bombed itself into bunkers for a long time. Now it is years after people have emerged back into the sun, but they lost a lot of knowledge about technology. So there is an interesting conflict between those who dig for relics and try to re-develop technology, and a church which preaches that technology leads to the next apocalypse. Quite interesting setup, and much friendlier than "zombie apocalypse" games (man, I hate those!).

There's a lot to recommend about MTaP, but the "features" in the design drive me nuts.

The translation issues into English (and the more than occasional difference between the voice acting and the written part) break immersion; when two of potentially marriageable NPCs marry each other, they don't convert into "non-marriage" for some reason. I suppose this means you could become a home wrecker if you pursue dating them, but I figured that they're being "off the market" would show up in-game. And the path finding in the game drives me nuts, especially once you marry someone. At least with Stardew Valley you get toons that actually get into bed and fall asleep, but your marriage partner will still just wander around your house or sleep in a chair.

Now, it's been about 4 months since I finished a playthrough, so some of these items might have gotten fixed, but I've waited to see mentions of improved pathfinding in the periodic patch updates but have yet to see them.
Thanks for the recommendation. I'm downloading the demo now. I think the important factor you're leaving out, though, is that MTaP doesn't appear to have anthropomorphic animal characters who become your surrogate friends. That is pretty much the entire point of Animal Crossing so on the face of it the two are barely even part of the same genre.
MTaP has AI friends, just that they are depicted as being humans like you. I guess some people prefer their friends to be penguins or the like. I must say, I kind of liked the dodos, although they never become your friends.
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