My Time at Sandrock on PS5
As someone who has put in a ton of hours in My Time at Portia, I was more than happy to see the arrival of its highly-anticipated sequel, My Time at Sandrock. It’s honestly one of my most treasured life simulator games, and I couldn’t wait to see what else was in store for this beloved building tale.
Upon the start of the game, I already noticed a significant improvement in graphics that polishes both the character models and the environment from the previous game. It almost makes you feel like you have stepped into the old countries of the Wild West. This time, you won’t be taking over your grandfather’s or father’s shop, as you’ve probably seen in most of these simulator games, where you’ll take over a retired builder’s post to carve your own path.
My Time at Sandrock’s character creation has been revamped with some new additions, including a fashionable feature that allows you to customize your hair, bangs, and ponytail individually. It enables you to establish a unique appearance for your avatar that will undoubtedly look different from other players.
While the game more or less plays out the same way as My Time of Portia, with its rebuilding of the old shop and town, it actually feels like a completely new game with its fresh schematics. Given that Sandrock is in the desert region, you won’t be able to cut down any trees, and even if you tried, you’ll end up being punished for it due to it being scarce within the land. I would know since I decided to be a risk taker with the trees, resulting in a heated discussion with the guard.
Not only are you forbidden from cutting down wood, but you must also be wary of water, ultimately prohibiting you from stepping into their blessed oasis. These restrictions could be seen as a setback for players, but I thought they were a nice touch since they provide a set of guidelines to follow instead of aimlessly doing whatever you want. It also creates more of a realistic environment with some extra challenges of watching your water intake.
Any aqua you collect can be placed near your home’s water tank, which is another form of fuel that powers up all your mechanisms. Therefore, if you’re a returning player like me, you can look forward to new features that will change up your building strategies.
Now, you may be wondering: How can you make builds without any wood? Well, since Sandrock is basically a scrapyard, you’ll need to dig through piles to collect resources for your creations. This is, again, a new mechanic that differentiates from My Time at Portia to establish an alternative way for amassing materials.
But if you’re worried about the sequel straying too far from its predecessor, the fundamentals of the originals are still there, including taking daily tasks from the Commerce Guild and leveling up your building ranks. You can also embark on the main campaign to improve the town and get to know all the residents. Yes, the storyline and dialogue can be corny, but that’s why we love these cozy games.
The characters you meet along the way are certainly an eccentric bunch, from the mysterious Fang to the feisty Elsie. On top of that, players won’t be alone in their construction endeavors, as fellow builder Mi-an will assist you during specific intervals. She’s certainly a hard-working gal, as I’ve often seen her running around Sandrock, making me feel like a less-than-adequate worker whenever I got lost in the creative freedom of building.
Of course, we can’t forget about the romanceable options, showcasing a wide variety of characters to give you more of a chance to meet that special someone. Compared to the game’s predecessor, I had a difficult time choosing one individual, given how remarkable these characters are in both appearance and personality.
Aside from the cast, Sandrock itself features a plethora of breathtaking visuals, where I found myself frequently gazing at the sunset. There are times, however, when I discovered some glitches with the environment, specifically with the rapid movement of trees. I also encounter several fast-moving camera shakes whenever moving up and down stairways or hills.
Although the game’s performance isn’t perfect, I’m still impressed with how much content is packed into these titles, regardless of how small the map is compared to other installments. Based on my experience with past games, I’m starting to believe that bigger does not mean better, and My Time at Sandrock is proof of that due to its highly interactive world. Rather than having buildings for show, each structure typically provides you with resources, along with some quest-related content.
Another aspect I appreciate about Pathea Games is how they almost perfectly balance the gameplay activities to prolong your playthroughs. I always looked forward to each day because you never know what you’ll get, whether it be a new chapter for the main campaign or a surprise visit for an unexpected character. Players can also anticipate various minigames, especially during seasonal events, for even more fun-filled content.
The letters you receive in the mailbox bring more meaning to your character’s life with the new Reply feature, permitting you to keep in contact with your parents and old friends. Sometimes, it felt like I was talking to my own mother through these notes with all the funny yet adorable interactions.
My Time at Sandrock sets the bar for sequels with its overhaul of entertaining content and drastic improvements from its predecessor. You won’t be able to put down this game until you’ve fully revamped this rustic town using your building expertise. Even then, you may end up playing the games over like I did, and it’ll still be worth it in your next round.
Once all the glitches and other buggy performances are cleared away, I’m sure My Time at Sandrock will be a practically flawless, cozy game. I look forward to continuing my town expansion, and I already can’t wait to see what new adventures await for the rest of the My Time series.
A well-balanced gameplay system that will prolong your playthrough.
New dynamics that changes up the classic format of the original.
An interactive world with magnificent sights to behold.
Revamped graphics compared to its predecessor.
Some lagginess with character’s movements
November 2, 2023
Pathea Games, Focus Entertainment, PM Studios, Inc., & DMM Games
PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Copy provided by Publisher
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