Miyazaki and Zelda combine in this fun open-world crafting adventure
My Time at Portia may be the best game you didn’t know was Chinese
My Time at Portia a cartoony crafting game that looks a bit like a Zelda title, is set in a town named for a character from Shakespeare, and was published by Team 17, which also did Overcooked and Worms.
From that description, it sounds like a Western game. Possibly European. But it’s actually from China.
The sad thing is it feels like most of the deep, polished Chinese single-player games out there are wuxia games (you know, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) -- and they’re only in Chinese, targeting Chinese users.
The game is essentially a bit like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, but in 3D. You’re a young builder in a town called Portia, which looks like it’s been plucked from a Hayao Miyazaki film -- indeed, the developer told Chinese media it was inspired by films like Castle in the Sky.
You’ve just inherited your estranged father’s workshop, and you’re tasked with building it up and building stuff for the people in the town in exchange for commission… oh, and to unearth relics to discover what happened to the world.
(Did I mention that this is a post-apocalyptic world? It’s a post-apocalyptic world.)
Besides the whole “uncovering how the world ended” bit, most of the game is an open world experience where you raise cattle, date the local population and fight monsters in dungeons (or chickens kept by a grandma).
In our brief time playing, we found it visually pleasing and with a nice variety of things to do. We had fun dueling or playing rock-paper-scissors with local Portians, as well as excavating treasure inside ruins.
It does feel Asian in one way though: It’s a bit grindy.
People who’ve played it for much longer suggest that the rich and deep fun only lasts for about 40 hours, after which the game becomes a dull grind, but we didn’t even get remotely close to playing that much during our stream.
Still, what makes My Time at Portia notable is it’s something we just haven’t seen from Chinese companies before.
But despite being far more globally-minded than most games, it still has some Easter Eggs for Chinese gamers. For instance, one of the major relics in the game is a landmark building from Chongqing -- the same building which houses developer Pathea Games. There’s also a dog in the game named after a bit of slang from Chongqing.
If you want to see more of My Time at Portia, check out the full stream here!