Hello fellow gamers! When I last posted to you all, I was deep in the throws of an obsession with Stardew Valley. I managed to make it through one complete play through, reaching the 3 years of game time where your grandfather’s ghost returns to tell you how well you did (or didn’t do). I did quite well and made my little farm quite successful.

Shortly after completing that, my wonderful Xbox Game Pass suggested I play a game called “My Time at Portia” and it has now become my obsession. Why has Portia now become so time consuming? Well, it is VERY similar to Stardew Valley but with far better graphics. If you have played modern games, you likely have heard of the smash hit “Animal Crossing.” Although the company that wrote Portia is not the same as Animal Crossing, the art style is very similar which means the world and its inhabitants are beautifully rendered in a light and almost pastel world.

So what makes the game different? Well, instead of being a farmer as you are in Stardew Valley, MTAP focuses on your character being a ‘builder’ in the town. You are called upon to take over your father’s old workshop (sound similar?) and take your place as one of the town’s foremost builders. People start out by requesting simple things such as fishing rods and tables but eventually become as complicated as an entire lighthouse, a series of wind turbines, and many other intricate things.

There are some other similarities that are worth noting. First, you don’t escape the ‘mining’ aspect of Stardew because the world of MTAP features several ‘ruins’ that open up as you play the game more. The first ruins are basically dirt pits that you use your trusty pickaxe to break through and try to find ‘artifacts’ (which are basically things from our modern world that have been lost to time) as well as some unusual materials for building things such as engines, pipes, valves, and springs. Some of these ruins feature monsters you must battle to make your way through.

Also, you can choose any of a number of eligible bachelorettes/bachelors from the town to court. But instead of showering them with gifts (as is the practice in Stardew), you actually can have ‘dates’ that start out as play dates and eventually grow into actual dates. The more time you spend with the people you are interested in, the more special quests show up that adds some character development to the potentials. Much like in Stardew, your partner will eventually move into your house (if you court them long enough) and you will see them every day. Some of them will help you with your work, provide you food or gifts, or just talk to you in the morning.

There are some notable frustrations with MTAP such as the lack of character appearance changes (they will literally wear their daily clothes to the wedding and so will their partner), limited capacity for your own character’s growth (outside of completing the quests in the game to learn more about your place in the world), and a sense of repetition. Yes, you get to build specialized things to complete the main game (and some side) quests but beyond that, most of what you are asked to build is mind-numbingly repetitive (Oh great, the school needs a new bookcase! I’ve only made 40 of them already for the school).

At this point, I am almost done with the end game quests so you can safely say I will “beat” it soon. However, much like Stardew, once the main quest line is over, I can still continue to work on projects for the townspeople and have some post-end quests to finish. So if you don’t hear from me for a bit, it’s likely because I am elsewhere engrossed in a game.

Although I DID have a creative flourish recently and used it to (among other things) remix a few favorite video game tracks from my youth. If you’d like to see them, you can follow the links below:

  • Corridors – Remix of a famous track from Chrono Trigger.
  • Luna’s Passage – Remix of “Lunar Whale” (or “Big Whale”) airship from my favorite game of all time – Final Fantasy IV


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