My time at Sandrock is a craftsman’s paradise (hands-on preview)

If you’re anything like me then you really enjoyed playing My Time At Portia. It shared similarities with other crafting and farming games, but it also stood out as a title that introduced players to the life simulation genre. Along with this was a unique story that allowed those of us who preferred a good mix of creating, farming, collecting and enjoying an immersive world to have a truly well-rounded experience. A few years have passed since the release of My Time At Portia, and since then the developers have more in store for fans.

Originally intended as DLC, My Time At Sandrock is the upcoming sequel to My Time At Portia and manages to improve on its predecessor while retaining many of the qualities that made us fans in the first place. I’ve been able to spend the week tinkering with an Early Access copy of the game to my heart’s content, and so far it hasn’t disappointed.

The first thing I noticed about the game was the greatly improved character creation. I felt like there was a good range of options, both in terms of customizable colors and style. I played around with my character’s hair for quite a while and of course gave myself some sparkling heart eyes. If you felt that the game’s predecessor lacked customization options, you’ll be pleasantly surprised here.

My Time At Sandrock character creation

After character creation, you will be introduced to the new world. Players can now explore the beautiful new Eufaula Desert, home to the humble city of Sandrock. Unfortunately, the people of Sandrock rely on a dwindling water supply from Martle’s Oasis, a natural spring that was previously busy and could provide more than enough water for the town. Basically, bad management and pollution have left a shadow of its former self. This means that Martle’s Oasis needs serious repairs, requiring the player’s character to collect the resources needed to repair it.

The map itself is almost 50% larger than My Time in Portia and is no longer covered by the large sea that took up much of the space of the previous map. Instead, players will find the world filled with relics and ruins open for exploration. Although the terrain and setting aren’t as lush, they bring a new desert vibe and with it a whole new setting to support the story.

Your character arrives with nothing of their own other than the small, shabby workshop they will be staying in. Just like the farmhouse in My Time At Portia, this workshop is upgradable and can be decorated by your player! I’ve spent most of my time focusing on getting my machines outside and upgrading them, but I can’t wait to freshen up my living space a bit and make it feel less run down.

My time at Sandrock workshop interior

Since water isn’t very plentiful, you need to keep up with your supply and make sure it stays replenished. This was one of the mechanics I found a bit annoying in the game, but it honestly adds to the immersion as it ties in with the story. It also adds a little more depth to the craft, as you have to refuel your machines while also keeping an eye on the water tank’s supply so it doesn’t run out.

Luckily, other resources are plentiful in Sandfels, even if the land looks barren. You can spend some time kicking a tumbleweed for fibers, or you can scavenge a pile of junk for different parts. Plants are scattered around the world that provide various materials, and if you still need something, you can delve into the mines. Farming is another fun and resource-rich aspect of My Time At Sandrock. You can use the land to grow and grow crops that you can use in recipes or sell.

Timing isn’t that important with the main objectives, as you can take them as slowly as you like. This makes the game feel more relaxed and also gives you time to complete other side quests for money or resources. I really liked the consistent pacing and eventually set myself an in-game schedule that worked by jumping back and forth between the primary and secondary missions. By completing quests for characters, I was also able to befriend them much faster than just chatting daily. This gives even more incentive to take up requests from the board. Other quests require you to fix things for the government, such as B. faulty bridges or new elevators.

While the timing for bigger stuff like main story quests is up to you, the townsfolk quests you get are capped, requiring you to complete them within a certain number of days. Some of them will require more resources and less time, but in turn the rewards will be greater.

A really useful change in My Time At Sandrock was inventory and machine management. You can quickly switch between different storage chests once you’ve opened one, instead of having to manually go to the others. Machines and workbenches also track your quests, letting you know what you need to build for them and how many of a particular thing you need.

My Time At Sandrock workbench

Sandrock doesn’t shy away from combat, and you’ll be able to encounter various strange enemies that will make you wonder…did I just defeat a lizard bandit? The answer will be yes. You can switch between melee and ranged combat, a feature I see as a big improvement. As usual, you can craft your weapons and defensive items (e.g. shields). Get ready to feel like a cowboy knight running through the desert with guns and swords.

The new world features 40 unique characters to develop a relationship with. They didn’t forget to include fan-favorite animal NPCs. Get ready to meet and fall in love with Captain, the perpetually grumpy kitty who roams Sandrock.

My time at Sandrock Captain

The townspeople all have unique personalities and there are storylines to match. Pen, Sandrock’s very own “superhero,” is just one example of a character with many quirks. There’s also excited Elsie who works on her father’s farm, stubborn Cooper, protective Justice and more. I felt that the characters in Sandrock definitely had a little more spark than in Portia.

Dialogue My time in Sandrock

There are other small features throughout the gameplay that made me smile. If your character is too much of a night owl and stays up past midnight, they may wake up with dark circles under their eyes! This was a sweet surprise for me and made the game even more addicting. It’s small details like this that really stood out to me and showed how the team strived to make the sequel a more enjoyable experience for players.

Ultimately, this game feels like a solid sequel. While it’s not a huge change from My Time At Portia, I think that’s part of what makes the game so appealing to me as a fan of the original. Changes have been made to some good spots and things have been improved for an overall better experience. I feel that the change in the world map and the storyline itself make this game stand on its own as a successor to its predecessor.

If My Time At Sandrock sounds like the sequel you’ve been waiting for, be sure to check it out when it releases this Friday, May 26th. There will be more to look forward to than just the initial release, as there are multiplayer and other new features planned for the future. If you haven’t played the original title yet, don’t worry. You can start with Sandrock!

https://twinfinite.net/2022/05/my-time-at-sandrock-preview/ My time at Sandrock is a craftsman’s paradise (hands-on preview)

Jaclyn Diaz

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