Stardew Valley and My Time at Portia

I have stopped re-watching television shows and movies because there is just too much to watch to repeat anything. There is always something I have not watched that I want to watch. However, that rule really does not apply to video games. There are plenty of video games that I have replayed over and over because they are just so enjoyable. I am well known to have replayed Dark Cloud 1 and 2. I just replayed the Kingdom Hearts series. I have repeatedly played Final Fantasies VII, IX, X, and X2. Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands the Pre-Sequel were built for replays. The list goes on. However, those are not what I am here to talk about today. Instead, I would like to talk about two games.

The first game is Stardew Valley. Stardew Valley took the gaming world by storm when it was released. It is the kind of game that appeals to gamers who like a very chill experience. The game is a lot to describe. I never played Harvest Moon but people have compared it to that franchise. However, Stardew is delightfully different. The plot of the game is that your character (male or female) visits their grandfather on his death bed. He gives you an envelope to open on a day when you need it most. One day, at your soul-crushing corporate job, you cannot take it anymore and you open the envelope. You have inherited a farm. You travel by bus to the quaint town of Stardew Valley.

Upon arrival, there is so much for you to do. You have your farm on which you grow crops and raise animals. Each season, you have a list of viable crops that you can grow. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a whole cast of colorful characters in town that you can get to know over time. Little by little you can befriend them all and learn more about their lives as you become friends. In addition, there are ten young people who are available to date. Five guys and five girls. They all have distinct personalities and all of them are available for opposite sex or same-sex relationships. There are also dungeons and mines that you can explore, fighting monsters and collecting treasure. The game also has the best fishing minigame in it. Finally, there is a very intricate crafting system.

Stardew has a simple art style that is very cartoony and endearing. The 16-bit graphics allow for a very cute, expressive animation style. During dialogue, you see close up portraits of the characters so that you can see them emote. Through play, you get to know all of these characters and the world around them. It is a world shared with monsters, ghosts, dwarves, goblins, and all sorts of other magic. It has a rich story that includes a morality system of sorts. The game is full of choices. Evil choices lead to greater wealth but good choices lead to a better world. It is up to you. The next time I play, I am finally going to choose the evil side and I am frightened. The game is still being updated and I am fascinated by all of the new stuff that comes up.

The other game that I want to talk about is one that I started playing this past weekend. The game is called My Time in Portia and it is similar but also different from Stardew Valley. I will say that most Stardew players would enjoy it as well as it scratches a lot of the same itches. The game starts in a similar manner. You have inherited your father’s old workshop just outside the gates of the town of Portia. You work to become the number one builder in town through filling out commissions given out by the bureaucracy. The crafting system is so much more robust and I am astonished by how much I have seen and I have only scratched the surface.

Everything in My Time in Portia feels more complicated but still manageable. There is a relationship mechanic where you can meet and get to know all of the various people in town. However, there is a bit more at stake. For example, you have a rival who does not really like you that you have to deal with. There are also criminals. While Stardew deals with marriage and kids, Portia deals with that and also deals with breakups and divorce. I have no idea who is off-limits for romance yet (although presumably the children and married couples). There are also so many more people. There are also both dungeons and mining although they are entirely different systems. The game is so much bigger than Stardew and I am absolutely hooked. Even with the game crashing a couple of times, I still really want to play it.

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2 Responses to “Stardew Valley and My Time at Portia”

  1. Lucy Grove-Jones Says:

    I absolutely *loved* Stardew Valley, but I haven’t heard of My Time in Portia! It sounds really interesting, and I might have to check it out.


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