Shane's been gaming for nearly 40 years and loves a broad array of games in addition to being one-quarter of the Assorted Meeples group.
My Time at Portia: One of the Best Farm-Life Sims Out There
My Time at Portia was one of the first Sim-Life games to gain a lot of attention after Stardew Valley's breakout, and it's not hard to see why. With a 3-D world similar to Stardew, this game is all about growing, developing, building & engineering, and then throws in plenty of RPG elements.
In many ways, Portia feels like a more in-depth version of Stardew Valley with more to explore, a wider world with things to do, and offers more immersion due to the animation choices and 3D setup of the open world.
While farming is a part of Portia's gameplay, it's relatively minor compared to farming sims as this is part of building a tech tree, building and crafting tools, and engineering to help grow the city. That's where the heart of Portia's gameplay lives, and it's an amazing game.
It's also one that can be overwhelming for true beginners. The following are 21 tips for beginning My Time at Portia players that will help you enjoy the game from day one and get the most out of the many hours of gameplay it has to offer!
1. Slow the Day Speed
One of the best ways to slow the game down and get used to its mechanics is to slow the game down. When you go to settings one of the immediate settings is day speed, which is always set to go at the fastest rate by default.
I find 70 is a good place to slow things down enough to get a little extra time to explore and figure things out while still keeping the challenge level up.
Friends of mine knock it much further down to get as much time out of each day as possible. There is no wrong answer, figure out what day speed works best for you.
If in doubt, start at 50 and when you find yourself with hours at the end of the day and nothing to do once you have the hang of things, move the timer back up to a speed you enjoy.
An Option More Games Should Have
2. Upgrade to the Bronze Pick Axe ASAP
The bigger stones that can be found against Portia's city walls are mineable, but you need an upgraded pickaxe. While upgrading above bronze is the end goal, bronze opens up a lot of those large stones, which provide a crazy array of important gems, ores, and stones.
Clearing those stones gets you a lot of early:
- Marble (important especially early game when it's harder to get)
- Topaz (valuable gems almost everyone likes as a gift)
- Blood Stones (very important, very limited)
- Copper Ore
- Tin Ore
You get a smattering of all of these, many of which are very hard to otherwise get in the early game. So when in doubt, start mining those stones!
3. Open Up Those Backpack Spaces
I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to learn that your backpack can have up to 3 screens' worth of storage slots. You start with limited rows and can unlock additional rows of storage by paying gols for them.
But after the first screen is full, there's a little arrow to the far right side of your backpack. If you click on it (hopefully without taking 30 hours like I did), you'll see a second screen of locked rows, and then a third one.
These rows do progressively get more expensive to unlock, but you need that first screen open as quickly as possible and the price is reasonable about half way through the second page backpack slots.
The more you can carry, the more you can bring back to craft, collect, and sell. Unlock those backpack spaces early and often!
4. Take Advantage of Attached Storage System
Every storage box in My Time at Portia is linked. This means you can have a dozen storage boxes, and opening one right by the house accesses everything stored in the one at the far end of your property, and vice-versa.
Use this to your advantage by labeling storage boxes to organize them, then use the drop down menu feature whenever opening a box to grab anything you need from any box, or use the "Sort All" command to dump everything you're carrying into a box that also has that same item.
This connected storage system is fantastic and lets you strategically place your storage boxes throughout the property to easily access all your storage no matter where you are.
Portia's Storage System on Display
5. Don't Ignore Social Trees
The social system is really interesting in My Time at Portia. Your relationship with people affects how their friends and family feel about you, as well. If you're focusing on one character for the bonuses or one marriage candidate, getting social points with their friends and family can also result in a boost to your efforts.
So if you decide to go after say, a shy redhead who doesn't give normal bonuses for gifts like Ginger, improving your relationship with Gale (father), Gust (brother), and Ruso (family butler & friend) can be a great way to boost her relationship with you, as well!
Some friendship bonuses are extremely useful, such as Gale taking 30% off the very expensive land purchases to expand your property if you two are best friends.
There are many games that punish exploring or jumping off the beaten path, by My Time at Portia is not one of them. In fact, this game rewards that type of behavior on a frequent basis!
Sprint down a coastal beach you have no reason to explore? Find a treasure chest! Jump on the city walls and follow them to the main gate? Open a treasure chest! You can discover treasure chests behind buildings, on top of steeples, hidden in very strange places you can only get to by riding a horse and leaping from roof top to roof top down the mountain - occasionally catching a very odd angle.
And then you are rewarded for your snooping and goofing around with a treasure chest.
This is a wonderful world that the game developers built. The fact they reward you for exploring its nooks and crannies makes this even better!
7. Stone Benches & Talismans for Early Cash
Money (called gols in game) is a crucial resource in the beginning of the game that is extremely important to acquire. Sometimes you need special items from local shops because you can't produce them yet. Sometimes you need to buy materials in large quantities, and land is incredibly expensive from the beginning.
Not to mention all those spaces of storage in your backpack you need, and the weekly horse rental that becomes a crucial expense for getting around the map without running out of time.
Once you have have an upgraded pickaxe there are two ways to take basic resources you should never run short on: stone and marble. Use these to create stone benches and talismans, both of which sell for proportionately quite a bit more than the raw goods.
Especially if you horde them to sell on days when the in-town markets are in the expensive 120%-140% range. Sell the stone stools and talismans on expensive days and you will get some serious breathing room when it comes to money early game.
Important: Keep enough marble for about three dozen marble sheets (or make up that many to keep in storage) because those are important for some early upgraded machines.
8. Prioritize Time Limit Quests
Some quests have time limits while others (mostly main plot quests or side quests) do not. Whenever you accept a new mission, check to see if there's a time limit and prioritize those that do have time limits versus those that don't.
You can lose reputation and relationship for missing the deadlines on quest, so prioritizing those that are due the soonest makes a lot of sense.
These are easily identified with the exact time left at the bottom - so also prioritize the ones that are going to be done soonest as some random quests have less than a day to complete.
9. Mine (Quarry) Scattered Surface Stones
In Portia, any stone above ground that can be mined is referred to as quarrying. There are large stones hugging the walls of Portia all the way in the tree farm to the west to far east walls as they give way to natural cliffs.
These larger stones require upgraded pickaxes to mine. Most can be done with a bronze pickaxe, though you do need an iron pickaxe to take care of all of them. These stones provide an insane array of important materials that can be sold for money, create important bars of metal, or be used to craft specific machine pieces.
These are a great source for a large number of important materials, ores, and gems and when you have energy towards the end of the day and aren't sure what to do, hitting up these stones to have raw materials for the future is never a bad idea!
Busting Surface Rocks (Quarrying) Really Pays ) Off!
10. Don't Be Afraid of Acupuncture
In the very beginning, dumping experience into some basic social interactions and a lot of level up points into the resource gathering skill tree makes sense. As the game progresses there might be times you want to work on social relationships, others where you want to mass gather resources, and yet others where moving the main plot forward (which will often involve combat) is your priority.
Seeing Phyllis in the clinic and getting acupuncture can allow you to prepare for the next challenge. If you're going to socialize all winter, get those points reset into the social side of things to speed up the process.
If you're about to move the main plot forward, reset your stats to combat. If you're tired of doing anything other than Commerce Guild Commissions, reset the skill tree points to gathering even more resources.
This can be a great way to maximize your chances of success throughout every challenge the game can throw at you!
One of Pathea's Original Trailers for My Time at Portia
11. Rent the Horse From Farmer McDonald
While 500 gols a week seems like a lot, and it is in the early game, after the first four or five weeks consider renting the horse every week.
Eventually you'll want to capture a llama or buy a horse to train up, but early on you get the horse for one week at a time and the time savings is huge. This lets you do more quests, gather more supplies across the map, and even burn out energy before coming back to eat a meal at Django's to get back out again.
The time savings and ability to move across the map is a huge boost to your game especially when it comes to quarrying, gathering resources, and improving social relationships.
Speaking of Django and his cafe...
12. Burn 80 Energy, Then Have Lunch
When you eat at Django's you see what bonuses all the foods give. You can pick up to five, and the first sheet gives experience boosts in addition to a certain amount of energy back.
That means if you gather wood in the morning, burn 80 energy, then go have lunch you can be back to near full energy. At this point with temporary boosts it's time to quarry, mine, or cut trees to get all that bonus XP.
Having that strategic early morning meal is a win-win.
Quick Lunch for Energy and Experience Boost!
13. Sit on a Bench (When You Need a Break)
Sitting down in the game actually recharges your energy. This is a very small amount and happens very slowly, but if you run out of energy at 4:00 PM (easy to do early game) and need to take a bathroom break, just sit your player down on a bench.
By the time you come back it might be night, but you have at least a small amount of energy to cut some wood, gather some scrap, or mine a little ore before turning in for the day.
Every little bit helps.
14. Buy Upgrade Kits In Mass When on Sale
Generally when markets are 80% or lower it's a good deal, as you can't always rely on them getting down to 70%. When you run into a day where prices are down and you have extra gols, rush to Mars to buy as many upgrade kits as you can.
These are used to upgrade all your tools, your weapons, and come up in other crafting recipes in the game. They tend to be expensive and so having them on hand so you can immediately upgrade a tool when that blueprint is unlocked lets you reap the benefits without paying through the nose for it.
Beginning of One of the Best My Time at Portia Playthroughs on YouTube
15. Trade Stone for Wood at A&G Construction
Stone is one of the least useful resources just because there is so much of it that you should never run short. Especially going into the middle game. Keeping enough wood on hand to keep the 6-12 furnaces you will want going simultaneously every day (it will be even more in the late game) can be extremely difficult.
Especially once you need to make charcoal. That burns through double the wood.
The good news is that once a day you can exchange up to 999 stone for 999 wood. You can do the opposite, too, but that's not helpful.
However, a couple of exchanges of all that extra stone can keep your furnaces going strong for several seasons.
16. Use the Civil Corps to Mass Collect Resources
The Civil Corps can mass collect resources for you based on your workshop's grade, and later by how much of the ruins you have cleared out. You can get a lot of resources only a couple days later, or if gols are at a premium and you're looking at the future, you can move the delivery date up to 10 days later to make the order cheaper.
This allows you to order over 100 fur at a time, 50 bone at a time, or whatever resources for crafting you need. This is a great way to make sure you're prepared when future orders come up, and at a very fair price while you're focusing on other activities and getting contracts done.
17. Keep Producing Refined Metal
You will need more copper and bronze bars. A lot more. Then you'll need copper and bronze sheets, carbon steel bars, steel sheets, and additional parts molded from refined metal.
If you try to just make metal when an order comes up, you will fall behind and get overwhelmed. It's amazing how often you can have over 50 of a certain metal bar stored and then a couple orders later you're down to almost none.
So keep firing out those metal bars, and then make those pipes, sheets, and other refined metal parts for future building jobs.
Build Up Those Refined Metal Stores!
18. Fish for Early Cash
Fishing is a great way to earn early cash. You will want to upgrade from a beginner's fishing rod to the next level up as soon as possible, but even with the basic you should be able to pull in plenty of catfish, koi, and even some frog fish.
The fishing can be a bit tricky in Portia, especially for harder to catch fish, but early on the sheer number of fish you can catch in a short time gives you a lot of fish that you can sell for a good amount of currency.
Best of all? You get bait from gathering medical herbs, which later can be used for Herbal Tea and Herbal Mixes that heal your hit points once you get into combat.
19. Don't Blow Off the Museum
The Museum comes into play late early game to early mid-game but once it's there, craft things and recover relics to put in there. You can get friendship points and reputation when various citizens check out different displays.
This can be an easy way to boost friendships (and the bonuses they bring) and passively build reputation while you're too busy gathering resources and finishing Commerce Guild jobs to do the amount of socializing you probably should be.
Side Note: If you have a relic you love (for me it's the Thinking Can) you can set it on your property outside and people running by will see it, admire it, and increase your reputation, as well.
20. You Can Take Multiple Commerce Commission Jobs Daily
During certain main plot points there are certain times when multiple jobs are put up in the Commerce Guild for commissions for a big project. You'll see four or five different commissions for the new town, the bridge, the Dee Dees and Dee Dee stops, the wind farm, or other major projects.
When these are up you can take both:
- A single commerce guild commission job
- A normal job posted by someone else
This is one of the rare times you can have two commissions at the same time. In addition, if you finish the commerce guild job during the day, you can then pick up another commerce guild job and start working on it in the same day.
Taking advantage of this can be a huge windfall for reputation, gols, and even moving up workshop rankings for extra bonuses.
Take advantage of those rare times these opportunities come up!
21. Play Your Own Game
Some players love to rush the main story. Others take their time, doing side commissions and clawing their way up the social tree. Some spend way too much time figuring out the fishing game and how to catch a Goliath.
While there is a main storyline and ending, even after that "ending" you get to keep playing the same game file. The story moves based on main storyline missions completed - not by how quickly they're done.
So enjoy the world, rush or take your time, and enjoy that freedom to play your own game.
Will the Sequel Match?
The sequel to My Time at Portia, titled My Time at Sandrock, was released in early summer of 2022 and early reviews are glowing. It seems like this game, set in the same world as Portia (Sandrock was even mentioned in the first game, and appears on multiple maps) takes the good things from Portia and worked on adding or improving other mechanics.
This is set in a very different setting, as Sandrock is a desert community, but it allows an even deeper dive into a thoroughly fascinating world that hopefully future games will continue to build out.