Ever since Stardew Valley has become the cultural the popularity of daily life simulators; it’s no surprise that when one comes out it can grab attention. And that’s where My Time at Sandrock comes into play! Having recently gotten the chance to play here is my, My Time at Sandrock review.
The game is the sequel and is a follow-up to Pathea’s first title in the series, My Time at Portia; Sandrock is set within the same universe as the last game.
This is a SPOILER WARNING, If you don’t want spoilers on the story read at your own risk.
Now, Sandrock sets up with your character first arriving and the desert town of Sandrock. A small town in the middle of nowhere, where you are going to. Your character as well as another builder, named Mi-An, are there to replace the previous town builder Mason. He is retiring and they needed new builders to help maintain the town.
After meeting with Mason and the president of the commerce guild, Yan, your adventure starts. With your very first commission of building a Pickhammer. During this, we learn that Sandrock has not been prosperous as of late. Many within the alliance of Free Cities are aware of this. However, Mi-an was willing to come help, as are we.
One thing that Sandrock is known for is, is it sits on top of a metropolis of old-world tech and scrap. And this is absolutely necessary to help bring the town to its glory days! Now over the first few days after your arrival, you get introduced to many of the NPCs as well as doing small commissions getting introduced to the world.
And it’s this simple concept that I love. It’s a fun, chill game, where you are a builder working to try and get the city/town back to where it used to be. And you get to explore and build, but also with RPG elements of exploring and fighting monsters for crafting. While there is a story it’s more in the background letting you expand the main quests at your own pace with many in-world events that happen over time.
My Time at Sandrock has a very bright aesthetic. And I mean that in the characters wear a lot of bright colors; as well as you can dress up your character in bright colors. The palette is absolutely fantastic with its doll-like character models.
With everything set against a desert backdrop, it provides a nice contrast. When you think of deserts you think of nothing but red and brown as far as the eye can see. And there is plenty of red and brown everywhere thanks to all the sand; however, there is also plenty of colors to offset this.
From the oasis in the middle of the town to the trees surrounding the outskirts. They truly put so much work into making the town feel vibrant, despite its location being drab. Heck, even the animals have bright colors, which made me so happy to see some of their designs. One that I found funny was the rocket roosters, which were roosters with fireworks strapped to them.
When you take all of these colors and mix them with a day-night cycle, watching the city light up at night was something else! Especially when you see the first-holiday event in-game, the Day of Memories celebration. This is their version of Halloween and I love it so much!
Now the audio in My Time at Sandrock has a very lively feel. And I think that’s a large part due to the background music. The game has an almost soft mellow western-style soundtrack. This really hammers home the city in the desert feel. However, it makes it feely homey.
However, the music is not afraid to get intense when you get into a fight. It makes it feel like a showdown and the sounds of fighting become super fun and cool. As well as the sounds when you build things, from the machines running to the sounds of using your axe or pickhammer.
Everything just feels impactful in a good way. Now the one thing I will say though is there is no voice acting, which isn’t a bad thing. The character writing is well done and feels genuine even in the text. While it would have been nice, the game shines without it.
Now, while I was playing there was the occasional bug where the audio cut out or took a while to sync after loading into an area. Now, this may be addressed in a patch when the game fully launches, however, this is something I took note of. The developers have said that they are still working on the game and the latest patch was just put out earlier this week.
So first off I love this game, however, it’s not without its faults and bugs. But, it is still an early access game and a work in progress. So, for what I played and got to experience it’s super enjoyable.
Character Creation & Commissions
Now let’s back up a bit though, I’m getting ahead of myself. When you first start the game, you get to create your character and it’s more thorough than I was expecting. Which is a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing because there are plenty of options, but bad for me because I’m so picky about my characters. So when a game lets me have a good number of options, I can take forever with my creation.
Now since the game focuses on building you have a few options on what to do. First, you have the main storyline you can work through, these are the requests to progress the story, as well as commission requests. These side jobs you can do for people to earn experience, reputation, and increase your relationship with the person and most importantly get money!
You don’t just want to rush through the story, though I’m sure you can if you really want to. One of the draws of the game, at least for me, is being able to talk to everyone in Town. From doing commission quests there are plenty of ways to build relationships with the people in town.
Minigames and Relationships:
One of my favorite ways to do this is through the Critters game. Critters is like rock, paper, scissors except with animals! There are four animals to choose from, you have the elephant, fox, cat, and mouse. The game will teach you how to play, but here’s the breakdown.
Elephant beats both fox and cat, fox beats cat, cat beats mouse, and mouse beats elephant. When I saw that, all I could remember were old school cartoons; where when a mouse was let loose the elephant screamed and either ran away or stood on something. Maybe that’s why I love the critters game so much!
Sometimes you can even play other types of minigames with the NPCs! I had a quest where Elsie, one of the girls in town, invited Mi-an and me to go hang out. We went to the arcade and got to play whack a mole! It was a lot of fun and you get to earn prizes from it. Another way you can increase your relationship was simply by talking to the person. Or for those who like a challenge you can spar with them in combat!
Like in My time at Portia and Stardew valley, you can increase your relationship and make friendships. But you can also romance some characters, and this is noted if there is a heart on their profile. Those with stars can only be very good friends! Also, you can romance any character with a heart regardless of gender too which is also heartwarming and inclusive, which I absolutely love!
Building and Stamina
Now back to the building! Since this is a big part of the game, you will slowly unlock bigger things to build and make. And this is where the circle of grind in these games happens. You have to go out and collect materials and money from commissions to unlock new diagrams to make new machines at your workshop. Each newer machine offers new materials to use for crafting like a furnace to smelt ore into bars or stone into bricks. Then you can take those items to other machines to turn them into other items as well like nuts, bolts bars, or slabs.
Now the way you get materials is by either breaking the scrap you find around town; Or if you built the lift for the workers, you can explore the ruins to find rarer materials. Then you can use these to make higher-grade versions of your arsenal to break down bigger and better things! I had to buy a pass that was originally given to me for free; because I ran around doing everything else and ran out of time. I had to spend almost all my money (though to be fair, I didn’t have that much, to begin with) so I could move the main quest along.
Now, something to note is that you do have limited stamina per day, which fills when you sleep. Of course, you can also regain some from eating food, but it can be pricey. Also, be sure to pay attention to the time! Don’t pass out like me or go to bed too late. Also, don’t forget about your quests because you can miss out on them if you don’t finish them in time.
Overall I loved the experience of My time at Sandrock. It was a fun game with a lot of fun characters and a lot of building. Now I may not have played the first game My Time at Portia, but if it is anything like this I might go back and see!
There is a lot to enjoy with minigames, crafting, and simply enjoying the world. And because of that I cannot help but want to play more. Even with the glitches, I experienced and the occasional freeze, if these get fixed the game will have so much potential.
Thank you to everyone who read my, My Time at Sandrock review. If you want to read other reviews we have done you can find them all on our site.