My Time At Sandrock is a wholesome post-apocalyptic crafting game from Pathea. ‘Wholesome’ and ‘post-apocalyptic’ are not often two words that go together but given that Pathea’s first title, My Time At Portia had similar vibes, it’s not hard to see why they returned to this setting. While I missed out on My Time At Portia, I’ve been putting a lot of hours into My Time At Sandrock and have been enjoying what I’ve seen.
The game starts with the player character settling into their new life in Sandrock. You are a Builder (with a capital B), a job that constructs and repairs things around town. The old Builder is retiring, and you are their replacement, along with another Builder, Mi-An.
It’s not long before the Commissions start rolling in and you get to work. The beginning of the game takes you through the basics. You receive the old Builder’s workshop where you can craft various machines to help you with your tasks.
Every machine requires water and fuel to run. Fuel is easy enough to get, with most of the early gatherable materials also giving some fuel. Water is another issue. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money buying water (especially when in-game events cause the price of water to fluctuate), constructing Dew Collectors is a must.
Earning Coin In My Time At Sandrock
At the start the missions will move the story (and the tutorial) forward. After a while you’ll be able to take on personal Commissions from the townsfolk. They can be any number of things that you can craft.
The jobs are time based and must be completed within the number of in-game days specified. Successfully crafting an item and delivering it will reward you with experience, money, and Workshop experience. The more you level up your Workshop, the more jobs you can take on. If you fail to complete a job your Workshop will lose reputation points.
My Time At Sandrock features a stamina system, but it’s done in a way that only consumes stamina when gathering materials or fighting. Crafting or completing Commissions doesn’t use stamina meaning that you can use the day to do both without having to ration stamina. The game also has cooking to replenish stamina and health.
Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You
Completing Commissions earns players social points with the NPC you complete them for. Getting to know an NPC in My Time At Sandrock will unlock special missions where you learn more about them, such as their birthday, their likes, and their dislikes. Those last two come in handy when gifting the NPCs presents. You can also play games with them.
The special missions are a highlight. Sometimes they’ll want you to do extra things for them but more often than not end in something like a picnic or just hanging out as friends in the local café. It’s a rewarding way to get to know the in-game characters through conversations and always feels heartwarming.
Social Life in My Time At Sandrock
My Time At Sandrock operates on an in-game day/night cycle. This lets gatherable resources refresh after a couple of days, but the game takes advantage of this mechanic in cool ways.
I mentioned above that you learn NPC’s birthdays as you get to know them. This is stored in the in-game calendar to remind you of when it is. As you progress, you’ll be able to purchase weekly passes to mines and other areas that make it easy to farm for materials. The calendar keeps track of when those passes expire.
Some missions even have a specific time that you need to meet an NPC at, which the calendar reminds you of.
The calendar will also remind players of important in-game events such as town meetings. But the most fun events are the mini games that pop up. I’ve experienced a Halloween-esque hide and seek game, a Dance Dance Revolution style rhythm game, and an animal riding game amongst the charming distractions from that Builder life.
While there’s a lot of time-based mechanics in My Time At Sandrock, I never once felt pressured to do things. It has a very relaxing way of having deadlines that are easy to meet. There were some missions I failed to complete on time that simply re-appeared later (not counting Commissions).
We Don’t Want No Trouble Round These Parts
Combat in My Time At Sandrock is underwhelming. There’s nothing particularly challenging about it. Every encounter is some form of attack, break their defences, dodge their heavy attacks, wail on them, rinse, and repeat until defeated. There was never a time I felt I was in danger of dying.
That’s ok though. Combat isn’t there to be a challenge. It’s there as a means of collecting certain resources and for sections to push the story along. A game about crafting and the relationships between the player and the NPCs doesn’t need in-depth combat. It just needs to be there.
My Home At Sandrock
Your Workshop is your home. This is where you install all the machines needed to work as a Builder. The game does a very good job of introducing players to features then giving them a way to produce the required items. I mentioned above about building Dew Collectors to help with gathering water, but there are other machines to extract rarer materials from base items. My Time At Sandrock does an excellent job of introducing these machines at a time when you’re starting to get sick of farming those resources.
Your Workshop is also your home. You can expand the yard, build onto your house as well as craft decorations. Visitors may even pop by to admire what you’ve made.
My Journey In My Time At Sandrock
My Time At Sandrock is not without it’s issues. Admittedly my RTX 2060 is getting a bit long in the tooth, but there were occasions when an area was loading where things would just pop in. It did only happen on loading though. When I was running around everything loaded nicely. I also had a bit of trouble with clipping through items when placing them around my Workshop, but nothing huge.
Overall, My Time At Sandrock is a very charming game. There’s enough crafting in it to keep base-builder fans going well after the main story has ended, but enough in the general play of the game to keep those that prefer a more structured style of game. The gameplay loop of taking on some Commissions, farming materials and completing missions sucks you into the game. I had more than one late night because I would say to myself “Just one more day”.