Three years ago, Pathea Games left its mark on the city-kid-moves-to-cozy-village genre with My Time at Portia. Now in just a few short weeks, the team will launch the sequel onto Steam via Early Access: My Time at Sandrock. Much like its predecessor, it simply radiates charm, even in its current early build, and it’s almost too easy to find a reason to play just one more in-game day.
If you’re a fan of gathering resources, building contraptions, and meeting a colorful cast of villagers, Sandrock might just be your next destination of choice. The game is cozy and cute, yet engaging and enthralling. My Time at Sandrock throws a lot of problems your way and figuring out how to build the solutions only gets more and more satisfying each time.
My Time at Sandrock Is All Builder, No Filler
After customizing your My Time at Sandrock character, you’ll arrive in the desert town with nothing but a rundown workshop to your name. Water is scarce, the town’s infrastructure is crumbling, and the next sandstorm is always around the corner. You and a fellow new builder, Mi-an, have to work hard to bring Sandrock back to its former glory.
The work starts fast, but it settles into a tempo that comfortably sits between relentless and relaxed. No matter the moment, you’ll always find something to do, often putting your time-management skills to the test.
Have some spare stamina before you head to bed? Use some of it to gather some rock and wood -- both can easily be found mere steps from your front door. Need to deliver some goods to someone? There might be some wild yakmel along the way that you can hunt to get some scrap leather parts.
My Time at Sandrock has changed inventory management from a 5-minute affair to a 5-second drive-by, and it doesn’t stop there.
Really, just about anywhere you look will have something for you. Tumbleweeds are fun to kick around, but when they break, they drop plant fibers. Kicking cacti gives you cactus fruit. Cleaning up trash in town could give you scraps, some of which could actually be helpful. When you want to dedicate some time to really gathering precious metals, the ruins are the place to be.
Various ruins of the old world are scattered around Sandrock, and some look similar to the world we know today. These are the prime places to gather resources like ores and power stones. Some are littered with enemies that you can fight, and you have a serviceable selection of weapons at your disposal, including dual daggers and pistols. The combat isn’t revolutionary, but it’s satisfying enough to get the job done.
There’s always a way to fit in a few extra chores, and any missed opportunity feels more like a lesson learned than a failure. Learning these lessons becomes key to your success as a builder in My Time at Sandrock. Every little bit gives you an advantage, and thanks to the small, quality-of-life tweaks over its predecessor, being prepared for anything has never been easier.
You can store items in chests, but each chest can only store so much. However, once you’ve opened one, you can quickly swap to the others on your property without having to walk around. And if you want to dump everything from your inventory that already exists in one of your chests, one button does all of that automatically. My Time at Sandrock has changed inventory management from a 5-minute affair to a 5-second drive-by, and it doesn’t stop there.
All your processing machines have a tab in the UI that taps into your active quests. If you need to build a structure, that tab lists everything that the machine can build that’s relevant. It’s all about focusing on the important points without limiting you from exploring as you please. Above all, these quality-of-life updates give you more time to focus on the fun without getting lost in the management.
My Time at Sandrock Commissions Your Time
You’ll likely find yourself getting lost in the feeling and atmosphere of My Time at Sandrock. The story takes up the spotlight far more than its contemporaries, and it’s often the driving force for the gameplay. As a desert oasis, the Sandrock community often struggles with water scarcity, and that becomes a key point in the narrative.
Core structures start to break down while bandits target vital infrastructure, giving you a lot of job security. Many of your main quests are commissions that come straight from the town government, asking you to build elevators, repair bridge trusses, and replace train windows. There’s a constant feed of tasks that pushes you forward, and along the way, you always feel like you’re growing faster and smarter.
Between these larger tasks, you can take on smaller commissions from the townsfolk. They’ll ask you to build less vital things, and delivering in a timely fashion gets you some money, makes the client like you more, and boosts your workshop’s reputation. It’s a win-win-win all around, especially when you can immediately turn in a commission with stuff you already had lying around.
A lot can factor into what commissions you choose. Harder commissions reward you with more reputation, but if you can’t finish it in time, maybe you’re better off starting small. Maybe you want to get close to a certain villager, and picking up their commissions is a surefire way to befriend them fast -- even if the monetary rewards aren’t worth it.
But sometimes, it’s not about the money. The villagers in My Time at Sandrock all come to life in a pleasant, animated way, and every player will likely have at least a few characters they’ll gravitate toward. Elsie works on her dad’s ranch, and she’s a scrappy go-getter who’s always looking for excitement. On the other hand, her dad Cooper is a hardworking, stubborn man who pulls himself up by his own bootstraps.
Rocky works in the mines, while Justice protects the town, working under his supervisor: a house cat named Captain. Pen is a local superhero wannabe who says, "The pen is mightier than the sword," while showing off his muscles. Sandrock’s people are charming, cheesy, playful, and diverse, and half the fun of exploring the town is getting to know this motley cast of characters.
My Time at Sandrock puts you in control, giving you the freedom to use every second how you please. Whether you dive into the mines, build and sell machines, befriend your favorite villagers, fight some lizard-people bandits, or do some combination of the above, you’ll likely enjoy yourself because no answer is wrong. And even if you get bored of one thing, the next activity is always just around the corner. That agency makes you feel a real sense of ownership in your My Time at Sandrock journey, and the game will likely only evolve for the better from here.
My Time at Sandrock hits PC via Steam Early Access on May 26. TechRaptor previewed the game on PC with a code provided by the developer.