This life sim trades the lush lands of Portia for the dusty city of Sandrock.
If you're a fan of the life sim sub-genre of video games, and enjoy playing games that allow you to create a secondary virtual life that is unusual, different, yet also semi-realistic enough that it's filled with chores and the sorts of duties that make up regular life - then you've probably come across Pathea Games 'My Time at' series. Originally kicking off with My Time At Portia a couple of years ago, the talented team is now looking to trade the lush and enchanting townscape of Portia for a sandier and dustier counterpart, a small city known as Sandrock. Hence why this new instalment is called none other than My Time at Sandrock.
While this is a new game in appearance and story, anyone who has played My Time at Portia will already get the gist of what My Time at Sandrock is looking to offer, as both games, at their core, are very similar. As a builder, you have to complete tasks and chores for the townsfolk, be it creating a commissioned object or running an errand, and have to also simultaneously work on building a better life for yourself. It's a design that isn't exactly a huge step forward from what My Time at Portia offered, but that's not exactly a massive issue as the world of Sandrock is full of such a bountiful array of mysteries and opportunities to explore that you'll become infatuated with the idea of getting the most out of each day.
And this isn't even the easiest thing to do as the day and night cycle is quite the quick one. This design has been put in place, as My Time at Sandrock isn't about one month or one season, it's a constantly progressing calendar that isn't limited to one year, never mind one turning of a season. To really get the most out of your builder, and to do what you originally intended to do when you moved to Sandrock (which is pretty much just helping the city return to its former glory), you have to take each day by the horns and do something productive before night falls.
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To this end, the options are more than there. Whether you want to build a new tool to help with future construction projects, better your gear, head out on expeditions to dig up and acquire some rarer resources, take on a commission to earn some Crowns so you can expand your Workshop, chat with the locals to form a closer relationship with them, or head out to slay some of the monsters that surround Sandrock's borders, the choice is entirely up to you.
My Time at Sandrock is entertaining and charming, and filled with plenty of charisma, but it's also blaringly familiar. This might not be a problem, if for example, you're looking for more of what My Time at Portia originally offered. However, if you were hoping that this sequel would be able to explore some new avenues, perhaps in the form of a new job, then you will be a little disappointed.
Even with this being the case, you can see how far the series has come since the original debuted. The visuals are noticeably better and clearer, the world more detailed, and from my time testing the the soon to release Early Access version, the game played mostly smoothly - and I say mostly as the only time I noticed any serious drops in performance was during the expedition trips wherein my frame rate would get hammered and drop significantly.
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But the point is, while this game isn't particularly unique, or a massive step up from what My Time at Portia offered, it's still a delight to play. Over my time exploring the world, I became lost and infatuated with the concept of the next job, the next adventure, the next day, and found myself spending hours and hours just breezing through life without any real worries. If you're looking for a way to relax, or are looking for a game that truly nails the feeling of being stress-less, than I can't help but recommend My Time at Sandrock when it lands in Early Access at the end of May, as not only will it tick all the right boxes, but it features such a wealth of content that you'll always have something else to do.