Team17 has revealed that its RPG/crafting sim My Time at Portia is building up to a 16th April release on Nintendo Switch. Being the lucky so-and-sos that we are, we were recently invited to the studio's headquarters in sunny Wakefield, UK to spend some quality time with the game, giving us the chance to see what all the fuss is about for ourselves.
If you haven't heard of this one before, or if you need a quick refresher, let us quickly fill you in on what it's all about. Things kick off in the enchanting town of Portia, where you're ready to start a new life and restore your Pa's neglected workshop to its former glory. With just a workbench and a workshop handbook in your arsenal, your job is to gather, mine, and craft your way to making the workshop the best in all of Portia, farming, cooking, fishing, and even finding romance along the way.
The game's inspired by the likes of Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon and Dark Cloud 2, and we couldn't help but be reminded of Stardew Valley throughout our entire hour and a half play session, too. If you've played any of these before, you're going to immediately feel at home in Portia; everything from your item inventory, your home and its upgrades, the community board full of side quests, and the quirky villagers roaming around town make this feel exactly how fans of the genre would expect.
Within the opening hour, we'd managed to learn the ropes of crafting, met some of the villagers, took on our first side quest, accidentally angered a stray cat by feeding it a berry it didn't like, and came across a joyous pack of wild llamas that seem to just bounce around outside your home. The game's inner workings are clearly very tight and sophisticated, but the pure playfulness presented on the outside is fun, charming, and not afraid to be a little bit silly.
To provide us with a sense of what to expect later in the game, Team17 soon plonked us into someone's save file which boasted a 255-hour playtime (incidentally, we were told to expect around 60-100 hours worth of content from just the main story and a selection of side quests). The changes were pretty breathtaking; gone was the bare little village from the game's opening, and in its place was a huge, sprawling map full of new areas, a desert, other islands, a museum, new villagers, and so much more. Just like the most addictive games of its genre, My Time at Portia feels like one of those games you'll be sinking all of your time into.
Of course, the game is already available on Steam as we speak, so some of you may well be more interested in how it performs on Switch if you're thinking of buying for a second time. We experienced a handful of lengthy loading screens and the occasional frame stutter, but the presentation is otherwise as lovely as you'd hope for. You can likely tell from the images on this page that Portia benefits from a colourful, cartoony vibe, with everything from your fully customisable protagonist to the biggest, baddest dungeon bosses bursting with a cute layer of character.
All in all, then, My Time at Portia is definitely one to keep an eye on. If you're not a fan of this type of game, we doubt the final product will change your mind (everything on offer seems to have been executed very well indeed, but we wouldn't call what we've seen revolutionary), but this could well be a brilliant addition to the gaming libraries of those that are. Our short amount of time hinted at a deeper plot, full of post-apocalyptic undertones and mysterious, hidden relics from the past, and we're looking forward to investigating further and making the town as perfect as can be.
My Time at Portia launches on Nintendo Switch on 16th April, with pre-orders (which include a Housewarming Gift Set) available from today. Are you looking forward to playing it later this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.