With how well My Time at Portia has sold, it’s not surprising that developer Pathea Games has been working on a sequel for some time. My Time at Sandrock is releasing into Early Access later this month, and people have recently been able to take a first crack at it via Kickstarter backer keys. I was able to spend a bit of time playing this early build of the game, and it’s certain that people familiar with the previous game will feel right at home with My Time at Sandrock. Not only is the general premise the same, but it’s looking like some issues have unfortunately stuck around as well.
My Time at Sandrock starts off with a character creator. Your character has chosen to head to the desert town of Sandrock, which is in trouble for various reasons. You arrive on a train and become the town’s newest builder. Immediately, you meet another builder and start to set up. All the familiar trappings are here: your workshop, the commerce guild, the job board. Of course, you’ll want to take on jobs to raise your shop’s rankings again. All the while, you interact with the locals and continually unlock new crafting recipes.
The first order of business is to build a new tool with wood and stone that allows you to harvest more resources, as My Time at Sandrock only gives you a starter ax that can be used to bust up plants or wood scraps. Interestingly, you’re not allowed to cut down trees. If you cut down a tree, a townsperson comes by to warn you not to do it again, lest you incur a fine and the anger of your neighbors. Annoyingly, I got this warning for cutting down a cactus, which isn’t a tree at all.
Lift me up
Gameplay in My Time at Sandrock is exactly as you’d expect. You go out to collect resources and use them to craft new tools, machines, and products. Early on, you need to buy recipes to gain access to new items, as well as craft a furnace.
Your first large project requires you to build a lift for a nearby mining company. Using certain machines still takes an annoying amount of time (10 minutes for eight bricks? seriously?). This time, though, you need to make sure you keep a machine stocked up on water or you won’t be able to use the others. It doesn’t make much sense, and you still need to use fuel for certain machines, but whatever.
While building the lift, I also ran into a very familiar problem that returns from My Time at Portia. I needed to get copper sticks and bearings, but I had no clue where to find them. And My Time at Sandrock was in no hurry to tell me. I remember playing the last game years ago and constantly having to look up how to get things on the wiki, so I’m truly displeased to see that nothings appears to have been changed. Still, all the old hooks are in place, even if the performance is quite poor. People who loved Portia will find more to like in Sandrock. Let’s just hope that some of the rough edges get smoothed out this time.