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Video Game / My Time at Portia

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"How will you spend your time at Portia?"

"On the edge of civilisation... you inherited a workshop... made it grow... became a better builder... and made many, many friends... during... My Time at Portia"

My Time at Portia is a Simulation Game with heavy RPG Elements, developed by Chinese developer Pathea Games, and published by Team 17 Digital. The game takes very heavy inspiration (self-admitted by the developers) from Marvelous' Rune Factory series, and to a lesser extent, Story of Seasons, albeit with a gorgeous Studio Ghibli inspired art style. Also, unlike the above two, which are primarily centered on farming, Portia is instead focused on Item Crafting, as the game puts the player in control of a Builder. However, crop harvesting and livestock raising are fully developed features, and the game has a major element of combat to it, as well as Dungeon Crawling.

The game is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, albeit a heavily fantasized version, complete with Steampunk technology and mythical beasts. Centuries after a nuclear war has plunged the world into ruin, several agrarian civilizations emerged from the ashes, ready to begin anew. The game casts the player in the role of the child of a famous craftsman, who has inherited their father's decaying workshop after their father goes travelling. Immigrating to Portia from the city, the player joins the peaceful community, and its local Commerce Guild, aiming to make their mark on the world. Armed with your Pa's workshop handbook and workbench, you must gather, mine and craft your way to being crowned the number one workshop in the whole of Portia! Side activities include farming, fishing, mining, dungeon delving, and plenty of others, including a Social Sim of sorts; make lasting friendships, enjoy romantic dates star gazing, and embark on the adventure of marriage.

My Time at Portia was successfully Kickstarted on October 11, 2017, and afterward the game entered Early Access on January 23, 2018, seeing a full PC release on January 15 the following year. The game was later released on April 18, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

In October 2019, Pathea Games announced that they were working on a sequel, My Time At Sandrock. Sandrock was eventually released in early access in May 2022, with a full release following in November 2023. Sandrock is mostly in the same style as Portia, but the developers have stated that they have also taken some inspiration from Dark Chronicle this time around. Sandrock is also a Cowboy Episode for the franchise, set in a town suffering desertification, requiring water management and recycling scrap from the Old World to keep the workshop running.

This game provides examples of:

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Gameplay provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The maximum level is 99, but the only way it can be achieved is by playing for many in-game years, or repeating the 97th floor of the deepest ruin, more than a thousand times. You can beat the final boss at level 50, and unless you've grinded experience, you'll probably be below level 60 by the time you complete the epilogue missions.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Hoo boy. The game surely... simplifies the process of constructing what amounts to a fully functioning bus, as just one example, but it's understandable for gameplay purposes.
    • Not only can you chop down an entire forest and it'll grow back to full size within a week, the nearby rocks you've shattered for stone and marble will also grow back in the same places. It makes sense for the sake of always having easy access to wood and stone, but it still comes across as jarring when you think about it too much.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • When ruin diving, your vertical digging range is slightly increased so you don't have to keep fiddling around to get that ore vein or that spot you want to take a chunk of stone out of.
    • Also when ruin diving, you have an option to instantly be teleported back to the entrance, since it's very easy to dig yourself into a confusing maze of your own making when you're going after artifacts.
    • Going up a friendship level with a character will increase friendship points with his/her respective friends, which makes it easier to befriend multiple characters at once.
  • Artistic License – Geology: The various abandoned ruins run afoul of this. Presumably they're supposed to be pre-apocalyptic buildings that have filled in with rubble, explaining the various relics you find as you dig through rock, sand, and dirt. The problem comes with the veins and clusters of valuable ores and minerals in the same ruins, which include raw copper, tin, lead, iron, and aluminium, among other things which makes it more like a mine or quarry. Said ruins are about 300 years old, which is far too young to have formed metal deposits naturally.
  • Automaton Horses: Almost subverted; you have the option of feeding mounts (including horses), and they have a loyalty meter that would have bucked the player if they were mistreated. However, this system wasn't fully implemented, meaning there is no actual reason to feed your mounts.
  • Betting Mini-Game: One of several mini-games in The Round Table is a slot-machine.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The unassuming first Pickaxe you make out of literally sticks and stones remains useful when ruins diving and digging for ores. While it's hilariously overshadowed by the Mini-Drill in terms of ore mining, the fact that it consumes only 1 to 2 SP per swing (whereas the Mini-Drill is a SP hog) makes it a very good choice for artifact hunting later on.
    • Simple Guild Contracts always remain useful throughout the game, as sometimes it's better to produce a steady stream of trade goods, rather then doing a resource-intensive project that will take a week to complete!
  • Broken Bridge: Several areas of the game are blocked off; given the player's profession, it's often their job to quite literally repair the bridge.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Balloon Urchin is a variety of sea urchin that can appear if you kill many sea urchins; despite not looking very different from other urchins, they are high level and can represent the first kill for a low level player.
  • Boss Rush: The floor 91-100 from Deepest Ruin consists of fighting all the bosses in the game, in a row, although the Rogue Knight is replaced by The Forgotten Knight. Since you already have the Infinity +1 Sword at this point, all bosses between floor 91 and 99 are likely to be defeated in seconds.
  • Dating Sim: Another optional but still prevalent element, reflected by the relationship system, which is more detailed than many other similar games, as there are many perks related to romancing someone, side quests you unlock by growing closer to them, and even a wide range of ways to increase their affections. Once you get to a certain level, you begin by slowly dating the character in question, and at another, finally marrying them.
  • Degraded Boss: DMTR 6000 is introduced a boss in a secondary quest, the same enemy appears as a regular enemy in some main missions.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Zig zagged with the Spiked Practice Sword. It gives a hefty 50% Critical Chance but it's very weak, and even with its Critical Chance boost it will be outdone by Bronze or Iron Swords... However having equipment to further boost your Critical Chance up to a whopping 85% Critical Chance will make this sword hit hard enough to compete with a Nova Sword.
  • Everyone Is Bi: In contrast to games such as Story of Seasons and Stardew Valley, basically anyone who isn't a child or already married is available to romance (which is more than half of the entire cast), and all of them are romantically interested in both men and women.
  • Farm Life Sim: My Time at Portia takes heavy inspiration from Rune Factory, and to a lesser extent, Story of Seasons. It's more focused on Item Crafting as the player is a craftsman, not a farmer (though crop harvesting and livestock raising exist).
  • Fishing for Sole: While fishing, you run the risk of catching lost jewelry, a tennis racket, or an iron pipe.
  • Fishing Minigame: Fishing is the most profitable activity in the game.
  • Gendered Outfit: Some equippable tops mysteriously lose a few inches off the bottom when worn by a female avatar to flash some navel, or pants become shorts to Show Some Leg.
  • Global Currency Exception: "Gols" is the standard currency used for all transactions everywhere, except for a number of special items/shops that only accept special "tokens" that must be earned through minigames. The Research Lab and Church Store will also sell a number of items and only accept certain technology items in trade.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Marble cannot be found in any of the mines, only in surface rocks outside of Portia— many of which are large enough to be mistaken for elements of the backdrop. The tooltip explaining marble's location simply says, "quarry", which is here meant to mean "the act of splitting rocks", but can also mean "a place where rocks are split".
    • Certain crafting stations can only be upgraded by using the A&G Construction Store. This is unexpected because all the other stations are provided to players at the beginning of the game, or need to be discovered by spending Data Discs at the Research Center and then personally built.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: 90% of the weapons you can use are swords.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The player can capture and tame various other non-equestrian mounts, the only major difference being their gait.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: The ones in the ruins you can kind of explain, since salvaged technology in this setting is based around finding machines from the previous civilization and co-opting them into the community's needs. The ones in the overworld, a lot of which contain still-edible food, though, not so much.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Each day takes place from 7:00 am to 3 am, and since each minute lasts one real second, the most you can stay awake in a day is 20 minutes. (Not counting cutscenes or dungeons)
  • Item Crafting: A very major feature; the character is the child of a very famous craftsman, and they are expected to fill his shoes and make a living off this. Not only is it important, it's also very detailed, with many different layered systems. Hundreds of items can be crafted, from simple tanned leather, to highly complicated Steampunk buses (the latter often requiring a host of resource-intensive parts to be crafted first). The items are separated on different crafting stations, the most major being the Assembly Platform, in which major machinery and the other crafting tables are built. Further complicating things, every different crafting table runs on a different source of power (which must be constantly replaced by the player), ranging from simple wood fuel, all the way to rare power crystals that need to be recovered from ruinsnote . You also need to upgrade these crafting tables, which is an exercise in resource gathering in itself; the Assembly Platform can be upgraded at the construction office, but the others must be built from scratch or even upgraded by means of merging several existing pieces of equipmentnote  on an upgraded Assembly Platform! Crafted items can be sold, or (the more profitable option) made for Guild Contracts.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Not only will vendors only buy an item from you for a quarter of the price they would sell it for, all items have the same price no matter where it comes from. Additionally, there is a randomized "market value" that changes day to day, which affects the buy and sell price, in Gols, of all items in every store.
    • This is Averted in the Tree Farm and Mining Company, however, where the more of a specific item you want delivered per day, the more they will charge you per item.
  • King Mook: Many of the enemies have their own boss versions, which usually spawn if you kill too many of the standard versions.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: You get special perks depending on your relationship with the many inhabitants of Portia, which range from stat boosts, to special functions they can perform (such as helping you farm).
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone has precisely one outfit they wear. This is especially noticeable if you invite a character to the Hot Springs during a date— the two of you soak in the hot tub in your normal clothing.
  • Love Interest: There's a wide selection of bachelors and bachelorettes to romance and woo, which can eventually culminate in marriage.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Your character gains skill points as he/she levels up, which can be used to upgrade skills for an edge.
  • Sprint Meter: The Endurance Meter is utilised in sprinting and dodge-rolling.
  • NPC Scheduling: All characters have their own schedules, including different ones on weekends.
  • Video Game Time: Beyond the fact that each minute lasts one real second, each season lasts only 28 days. So a year has 112 days.
  • We Buy Anything: Averted. Most shops will only allow the player to sell them certain kinds of items, some stores won't buy anything at all, and each store only has so many Gols to trade per day. The flower store is unlikely to purchase your stock of weapons or furniture, for instance. The general store will purchase most things without complaint, but they have among the lowest daily purchasing limits, so you will need to shop around to unload all your Shop Fodder.

Storyline provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: While a majority of the townsfolk have modern/normal/Western names, there are some weird ones, like Dawa.
  • After the End: The Age of Corruption drove most of humanity underground long enough to survive the wars.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Although the characters do not have explicit ages, by dialogue and appearance it is assumed that the playable character is a young adult, and even then he can have a romance with characters who are at least middle-aged such as Django.
  • Anachronism Stew: Everywhere. People generally wear modern day-styled clothing (with some exceptions, such as Django), but the guards and soldiers wield swords as their main weapons, firearms can no longer be mass produced, the vehicles they have are a combination of being Victorian tier and Steampunk, electricity is rare, and the technology to produce many things has been lost to time, many of which must be recovered from dangerous ruins, in the vein of Warhammer 40,000.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Several missions give you pieces of outfits. Also the holiday mini-games give you tokens that can be exchanged for clothes.
  • And Your Reward Is Parenthood: You can have up to two children after getting married. You can choose to either have them biologically (if you're married to someone of the opposite gender) or adopt from the Church of the Light (even if you could have biological children). Biological children's appearances are based on a combination of your player character and your spouse, while adopted children have a randomly-generated appearance. While they don't grow up much, they do eventually grow hair, and they have friendship values like all other NPC characters.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Aadit and Dawa enlist the Builder's help with the Panbat infestation, Aadit says they have tried everything to make the Panbats leave, including fire, water, and cotton candy.
  • Badass Crew: The Freedom Corps Garrison in Portia amounts to three rangers, but they by themselves are actually very competent at dealing with local threats, and frequently assist the player in numerous quests.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Fully Averted with Abu, otherwise known as Papa Bear, who is a very friendly, if quiet, bathrobe-wearing brown bear. Not only is he friendly, he's very intelligent, upright walking, and sentient. He not only patrols the lands around Portia, he Happily Adopted Oaks when he was abandoned as a baby.
  • The Beforetimes: There are multiple named eras in the 330 years prior to the current day, but the most notable is the "Age of Corruption," where mankind was supremely technologically advanced, had working space travel, perfectly sentient robots, and so on. They call it 'corruption' because it's most commonly believed that man's hubris and reliance on technology was the key deciding factor in how and why everything went into shit and drove most of humanity underground just to survive the subsequent wars.
  • Big Bad: The Rogue Knight, who shows up late-game
  • Black Box: All the various pieces of equipment you use for building work like this (furnaces, skeevers, grinders, table saws, etc.)— raw material goes in one end, turn it on, finished materials come out the other. In a more in-game sense, Petra admits that there are many aspects of the technology from the old world that nobody understands anymore.
  • But Now I Must Go: Aadit after the quest "The Final Battle", after which other NPCs propose two different (conflicting) theories that both have evidence to support them. The first is simply that, in line with well known character traits, they felt unsafe in town and left. The second theory being that they were The Rogue Knight the entire time and faking being a scared pacifist. If you married them before this, they leave you a letter that simply says they still love you but they must leave because of undisclosed reasons, and have left you a parting gift. Their relationship on the social screen changes to BFFs (though they never appear in the game again), ending your romance and possibly opening the way for a new one.
  • Camp Gay: Antoine, the secretary for the Commerce Guild, fits this trope to a T. He cares very much about his appearance, sashays instead of walking, and has an unambiguous crush on Dr. Xu. The overall trope, however, is a bit Played With seeing how Everyone Is Bi.
  • Can't Catch Up: Downplayed. The NPCs get stronger the further the game progresses, but the PC progresses much faster, to the point where an NPC can get stomped by a PC that was weaker than him just a couple of months ago.
  • Cats Are Mean: When you give a gift to someone, most townsfolk will score a small relationship boost even to items they don't care about. The cat Pinky, however, will turn her nose up and think less of you if you present anything that she doesn't specifically like. Contrast Scraps the dog, who responds with enthusiastic joy to almost anything you give him.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The game is bright and sunny, the art style is cute, and the characters in the game are happy friendly people. The backstory, however, is that humans destroyed civilization, blackening out the sky for 200+ years where almost all life on the planet died. Humanity has only just got back on its feet, and rival nations are digging up old technologies in the effort to arm their militaries. Meanwhile, outside of this small safe haven, numerous dangerous robots roam the world.
  • Commonplace Rare: Valves, strangely enough. They're a required element of certain important storyline commissions in the mid-game, but can only be found in the ruins rather then crafted. Which comes across as strange when you can craft pulleys, working electrical lights, and various power tools, but a simple valve is somehow too difficult to make.
    • Carbon Steel can also fall into this, in part because it is the first standard crafting material that requires a crafted component (charcoal) to make, and in part because you will go through the stuff like a fat kid through cake.
  • Drop the Hammer: Several hammers are available as weapons, slower than the swords but hitting very hard. They also have a nice dash attack where you spin around with the hammer.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Should you marry Ginger and remain with her for several years after the completion of the main story, she may ultimately succumb to her illness if you ignore her treatment quests. Her last words to the player during their final outing together at the beach are her professing her love, the scene soon ending after with a jump to the next day, where you start off not in your bed, but at the town cemetery standing at Ginger's grave with her family.
  • The Empire: The Duvos Empire is mentioned throughout the game and is painted as a power-hungry dictatorship/autocracy bent on world domination.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: To become friends with npcs you must raise relationship points with them, which usually includes talking to them, giving them gifts and going to meetings with them. But how can you get relationship points for completing missions or leveling up your relationship with a mutual friend, it is possible that you have the relationship of friends, with someone with whom you have practically not interacted.
  • From Stray to Pet: There are two friendly animals roaming around Portia, both of which can become the player's pet if treated well enough. The dog gets a series of side-quests before it'll even show up in the game.
  • Green Aesop: Given the backstory of the game, it's expected that a lot of people are wary of technology; there is a whole church that's devoted to destroying all "dangerous" technology and is against any development of the city.
  • Happily Adopted: All married couples have the option of adopting children, even if they're otherwise capable of having them biologically, and it is portrayed very positively.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Gloriously subverted. If any creature dares to hurt a NPC, rarely will it be allowed to walk free.
    • In the Final Battle, there's really something inspiring about a bunch of attacking mech walkers appearing in the middle of town, and all the ordinary Portians running up to fight back.
  • Hospital Hottie: Phyllis, the local nurse, is a rather attractive blonde woman whose uniform comes with a Cleavage Window and some rather impressive bounce.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The female playable character is not characterized as being very tall, so she will be an example of this trope if she pursues a relationship with someone tall such as Aadit, Arlo, Gust, Paulie, and Remington, all of whom are at least six feet tall, and are One Head Taller than the female character.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Defeat the final boss of the game and you'll gain their sword, which has high stats and very impressive critical hit combo.
  • Lost Technology: Many items like engines, refrigeration units, and computers can no longer be built or repaired. If one breaks, the only chance of replacing it is by finding a new one that still works in an abandoned ruin.
  • Mood Whiplash: Pastor Lee shares this story with the player shortly after meeting them:

    "Have you ever heard of the story of the dancing robot? This happened several years ago in Ethea. A robot was found in the ruins and brought into town. The robot had only one leg, so it was balancing with its four arms. That's why it was called the dancing robot. Anyway, it later shot rays out of its eyes and hurt a lot of people. It's a sad story."
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Huss and Tuss, two really dumb would-be robbers. They're so annoying that they don't quite qualify for Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: None of the characters appear to age, most notably your own children (if you decide to have them).
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution:
    • The player is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for industrializing the little town of Portia.
    • It's suggested that the inventor J. Peach, who brought the world out of the Age of Darkness and into the current era of lush greenery, was this as well.
  • Permanent Elected Official: Gale is the mayor of Portia, and that's that. There's no mention of elections or anything of the sort, though he does say "you all selected me as mayor" in the aftermath of Tody burning down the harbor warehouse, and in fact at one point he mentions he'd like his son Gust to take over the job after he "retires" to form a "political dynasty."
  • Pet the Dog: Higgins will wish your character a happy Solstice on the holiday, commenting on how you expected something else, and remarking that they'll be rivals the next day, signifying a brief truce for the holidays. If the player marries Ginger and she passes away, he will also express his condolences sincerely, relating to your loss.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The area around the city of Portia is scattered with ruined buildings filled with Lost Technology.
  • Renovating the Player Headquarters: The core mechanics of the game allow the player to renovate and expand on a house with several upgrades.
  • Romance Sidequest: You can date and marry almost anyone in town who happens to be of age and single, regardless of gender. The only characters fitting this criteria who are off-limits are Dawa (who is implied to have a steady girlfriend in Dana, though their relationship is mostly in the background) and Merlin (who goes on one date with the player, only to determine that relationships aren't for her).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mayor Gale is one of the most unwaveringly nice people in the town of Portia and only ever seems to have the well being of its citizens in mind. He works very hard both as a coordinator to develop and improve the town, as well as a mediator to keep the people and their conflicting interests satisfied.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Not explicitly, but it's noteworthy that despite how much the church and research center are supposedly at odds, and modern gamer-think being that in such a situation you'll have to choose a side at some point, choosing to only support the church isn't a viable gameplay option (unless you want to just sit at status quo indefinitely, which is exactly what the church wants). To explain, when you find discs with recordings of pre-collapse information, the church wants to destroy them to keep the information from bringing ruin to this civilization and will reward you with plant-growing supplies for giving them the discs. Turning over the same kinds of discs to the research center is the only way to unlock better refining and construction machinery that you need to progress in the game.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Higgins, the builder who competes with the player for contracts, is set up as this.
  • Steampunk: The technology of the dark age heavily used this motif, with everything powered by steam, which included giant steam-powered mechs, robotic servants, and massive industrial factories. The remnants of this linger in ancient ruins that dot the landscape, which are the only source of steam-powered engines, and insane robots still patrol the broken halls. The current civilisations use this to a lesser extent, to power their transportation vehicles, forges, and airships, with the caveat that they can't reproduce this technology, and have to make do with scavenging.
  • Toilet Humor: If you fail an attempt to cook, Wasted Food will be created, which stuns the diner and Potty Failure ensues. Exaggerated when a main arc Poisoned Water is active, where almost every NPC will suffer Potty Emergency now and then.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: There's only one Broom in the entire game and it's needed for a quest. If you sell it or give it away as a gift, you'll be locked out of a substantial amount of content.
  • White Sheep: Nora joined the Church of Light and moved to Portia to distance herself from her family, who are industrialists and are significant players in the weapons industry.
  • World of Badass: Downplayed. Most Portians are open for a friendly sparring, and can defend themselves as noted under Holding Out for a Hero. And it's all justified because they live in a dangerous Crapsack World.