Pathea’s life simulator RPG My Time at Portia ($5.99) was a game I had on my radar ever since it arrived on PC back in early 2019. I tried it on my old laptop at the time and enjoyed the little I played despite it not running well back then. It felt like a perfect game to play on Nintendo Switch and sadly, that conversion was lacking. I still ended up putting in about 50 hours into My Time at Portia on Nintendo Switch but the load times were horrendous. I still craved more of the experience and played it on Xbox as well where the game was pretty good technically despite long load times. Fast forward to now and My Time at Portia has arrived on iOS and Android as a premium release and it has made me revisit the game on all consoles alongside my new playthroughs on iPhone and iPad for this review.
My experience with life simulators before My Time at Portia included Stardew Valley and the Nintendo 3DS entries in the Story of Seasons franchise. Despite enjoying those quite a bit, I found myself addicted to My Time at Portia on console. It felt like a combination of a natural step forward for the genre with its ambition, and also a bit lacking in some areas. My Time at Portia on console was constantly behind the PC version in features and updates. While the situation didn’t get as bad as Forager on Nintendo Switch with crashes and save files being corrupted, I ended up dropping My Time at Portia on console after about 100 hours between the versions I had. That’s where the mobile and more recently PS4 versions of My Time at Portia come into the picture.
If you’ve never played or heard of My Time at Portia before, it starts off similar to games like Stardew Valley and Story of Seasons. You inherit a workshop in a new town and aim to restore it. Instead of a focus on farming like in the aforementioned games, crafting and automation are a bigger focus in My Time at Portia which is set in the town of Portia, in a post-apocalyptic land. You aim to have the best workshop in town and can interact with colourful NPCs, spar with them, and explore vivid landscapes, and even go underground. There is a lot of customization for your home and surroundings here alongside a skill tree. One of the best aspects of the game that I continue to enjoy in new playththroughs is how relaxed everything is. I can see myself launching it and playing a bit daily for a long time now just as I did on Nintendo Switch when that version released.
If you’ve already played or were interested in My Time at Portia and are wondering how the mobile port is, there is mostly good news here for you. Visually, My Time at Portia on iPhone 11 and iPad Pro (2020) is gorgeous. I didn’t think it would look remotely this good after how it looks and runs on PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and Nintendo Switch but the porting studio has made the game look mostly much better than I expected. I say mostly because the draw distance on the iOS version is much lower than the PS4 Pro and Xbox versions of the game. There are also some lower resolution textures and shadows. Character models and fields look great. The Nintendo Switch version lacked proper grass but the mobile version of My Time at Portia includes grass in the vast fields. Visually, My Time at Portia on iPhone and iPad has exceeded my expectations for sure. If you’re on an older device you might want to check out the graphics options because you can opt for better frame rate at the expense of visuals (still 30fps), a balanced mode, or high graphics mode (which is what I used). Check out the image below with the frame rate mode on the left and the high graphics mode on the right on iPad Pro.
On the performance side of things, the mobile version excels above the console version quite a bit. The PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and Nintendo Switch versions of My Time at Portia all target 30fps. The mobile version has the same frame rate target. In my testing in both the early and later parts of the game on the devices I use, I had great performance. I was hoping for a 60fps mode with lower quality visuals but as of now, you can play at a 30fps target or less on mobile. The area this port shines is load times. The load times are massively better than the console versions.
To give you a rough idea, I measured the time to load up a save and then leave home to load the area outside your house on PS4 Pro via PS5 backward compatibility, Nintendo Switch, and iPad Pro with all the latest available patches installed. The PS4 Pro version took about 30 seconds to load the save and 12 to load the outside of the house. The Nintendo Switch version took 52 seconds to load the save and then 23 seconds to load the area outside the house. The iOS version on iPad Pro took about 6 seconds to load the save and then about 5 seconds to load the outside of the house. I tested different areas and autosave (which I will get to in a bit) and the iOS version is so much better thanks to this.
Beyond including everything the PC version of My Time at Portia has both for features and content (with one exception), the mobile release has some added quality of life improvements with auto save being the biggest one. In other versions of the game, you can only save when you sleep at home. The mobile version has auto save and I’ve switched to another app and come back with the auto save being very good over the last week. In addition to the save improvements, there are also some new useful tracking options for tasks and items. In terms of feature set, I’m very impressed with the mobile version.
I’ve praised a lot of aspects of My Time at Portia on mobile and while I do think it is a great way to experience the game, there are some issues holding it back. The lack of full controller support is pretty baffling. I’ve used my PS5 DualSense controller on and off when I played on iPad Pro and it works for a lot of basic functions and some parts of the UI, but you will need to use touch controls as well. I’ve seen mentions of no controller support on Reddit, but I confirmed that the PS5 DualSense controller and Xbox One controller have partial support with the public App Store version. The on-screen buttons don’t disappear but there is some controller support right now for movement and attacking. You can also navigate some parts of the UI but not fully play with just a controller right now. Hopefully future updates can bring in full support and hide the on-screen buttons when a controller is detected. As of now, don’t buy this expecting proper controller support.
The other issue is the text size. My Time at Portia’s interface is pretty busy on all platforms and there are some portions with a lot of text. On iPad Pro, I had no issues with the UI, but I had trouble reading certain things on iPhone 11. Since I’ve already played a ton of the game on other platforms, I could adjust pretty quickly though. While it is great to see crisp visuals for the 3D elements and characters, I wish some of the textures for noticeboards and the map view could’ve been improved for higher resolution displays.
Barring that, My Time at Portia on its own still feels a little unpolished in some areas. While having the full PC experience with voice acting included and updated content is great, if you bounced off the game on other platforms because you didn’t stick with or find the core loop interesting, this enhanced version on mobile will not change your mind. If you did enjoy it though, I think you will spend a ton of time with the game on mobile in this excellent conversion.
My Time at Portia was an excellent but flawed experience on consoles and the mobile version is a lot better almost across the board. It is also more accessible for newcomers thanks to the quality of life updates. If you enjoy life simulators and want something meaty to dig into, My Time at Portia is worth your time and money. It is also priced very reasonably compared to the console versions.
If you (like me) bought My Time at Portia on consoles, this mobile version having more features and updates will no doubt annoy you, but the developers are working to release the update on console soon so hopefully everyone can experience the best of My Time at Portia on their platform of choice. In an ideal world, I could just carry my progress across any device and continue playing but I’m going to stick with the mobile version for now. I just hope it gets proper controller support so it can be the definitive version of the game for me. Right now, My Time at Portia on PC is still the best version overall because of the visual and performance boost, but the mobile version is a close second thanks to its new features and up to date content.