My Time at Portia
When My Time at Portia begins, you will be able to adjust some of the aspects of your character's looks (at a basic level) and start out sailing on a boat, on your way to begin a new life in Portia, using your Dad's old workshop as a base. You meet people who lead you through the main game story-line - you will dig in mines and fight in ruins in order to build items to further that, as well as to upgrade your tools, buildings and character abilities.
Your character does have a story-line to follow that runs through the game - but you could just dig away in the mines, accumulating large amounts of ore for sale at one of two hardware / building stores in the town and collecting a variety of parts of relics from a previous age. The local church frowns upon the old relics. However they will give your character various upgrades when used to dress your character or placed inside your house. You will also pick up loads of CDs from the old times in the mines too, somehow encased in the ore that you dig up and amazingly they remain readable to the local science geeks who swap them for building plans for equipment you will need as you progress.
As your character wanders through Portia and the surrounding area, if you talk to the townsfolk they may ask for help, or express a desire for some item - in some cases the requests relate to the story-line, in other cases the items are just something they like but which might boost your relationship with the person. A building called the Commerce Guild gives out commissions: you build or supply something and get paid for it. In some cases the commission relates to the story-line and are quite valuable, in other cases they are simply items needed by the townsfolk and they pay you plus you get a relationship bonus.
The Mayor of Portia has dreams of making it a popular destination for ships and tourists - this is one of the underlying themes. There are various side-quests, along with a number of threats to the town that you are expected to fix, helping the Civil Corps (who take the role of a police force, albeit in a rather relaxed fashion). You will find a restaurant (with a games room), a flower seller, baked-goods shop, furniture shop, clothes shop as well as a builder who competes with you wherever he can. Yes, one of your aims is to be the best builder.
In My Time at Portia you get to build up relationships with the townsfolk, including the option to get married. As far as I can see, having friends does not have mood benefits, as your character does not need to be social to be happy. In fact, your guy or girl will just work non-stop all the time, at least until 3 am when the game sends him or her off to bed from wherever they were at the time, magically transporting you from the depths of a mine - where you were digging away and losing track of time - back to bed where you wake up the following morning. This overnight sleep is when the game saves, and it also helps to pass the time when your furnaces are busy creating bars of metal from ore, along with bringing you back to full strength and healing your wounds.
The game requires you to collect items, tree parts and ore - this is something that you do throughout My Time at Portia. You can expect to spend time chopping down trees and digging - which is actually quite a therapeutic thing to do, slowly enlarging the space when mining, with the odd relic popping into view. The rocks on the ground nearby the workshop should also be mined. These rocks and the trees around them grow back over a couple of days. You will need to kill cute lamas, rabbits with top hats and lady-birds, each of which gives some item or another that contribute to your ability to build or make something.
When charging through monster-infested ruins, remember to take food with you to boost your health and stamina - the game freezes time while you are in these ruins, but the monsters damage you, sometimes with poison, bites or heavy blows - bandages will be handy as will antidote
My Time at Portia is made in a somewhat cute non-threatening style - even the big boss monsters look a bit cartoony - so very accessible and unlikely to give nightmares. If you are looking for something that is fast-paced, gets your blood rushing and the heart pumping, maybe go elsewhere. If you want a relaxed, mostly friendly game with some light problem solving and a few simple bits of combat, this should do very well.