My Time at Sandrock is a cosy life sim with amazing depth and an engaging storyline that’s a must-try for any fans of the genre. If you’re looking for a Western-themed life-sim with over 50 hours of playtime and a wide diversity of characters and activities to complete, you’ve come to the right place. In our My Time at Sandrock review, we’ll go over all the pros and cons of this game to help you decide if it’s worth purchasing now that it is leaving Early Access.
Starting off with a little history, My Time at Sandrock is a sequel to the quite celebrated My Time at Portia. The previous game has over 80% positive reviews on Steam, at the time of writing. My Time at Sandrock manages to maintain all the good elements from its predecessor while fixing several of the smaller issues. There is no need to be familiar with Portia before diving in My Time at Sandrock. Their stories are completely different and unique.
You begin the game with the classic farming-sim narrative arc: you move into a new town to work as a builder while inheriting a workshop from one of the previous workers. Your main goal is to progress the main story by rebuilding various parts of the town, meeting and interacting with NPCs, and improving your own workshop with new designs. As might be expected, the game features a level system, which allows unlocking and equipping new items. With the story and the levelling system, there is a fairly clear sense of progression.
However, during the early game, you’ll soon go face-to-face with the one main problem of Sandrock. That is the sheer amount of unique items that you can loot and craft. In the first few hours, I was overwhelmed by all the items and recipes that I could craft. Progressing further only made things more complicated, as I kept finding new items. Thankfully, this is only for the first few hours of gameplay. It becomes easier once you start learning how everything works.
What really helps here is that you have a large and easily upgradeable inventory. Combined with the storage system that allows you to sort items quickly, inventory management soon becomes slightly more manageable. On top of that, while crafting or completing quests, the game allows you to use items directly from your storage, so there’s no need to carry everything with you. This huge depth of items and materials is what makes Sandrock so much fun. In short, you always have some activity to complete or an item to craft. To make things even better, you can play in Co-op with up to three friends. While you can’t progress the story in co-op, it is possible to improve the workshop, accept and complete town quests, and share materials and loot with your friends.
The main new feature of the 1.0 release, as compared to the early access version, is the completion of the story. Without spoiling anything, I can say the wait was definitely worth it. The storyline managed to keep me engaged throughout the playthrough as it was immersive, engaging, and full of surprises. In the end, everything wraps up perfectly.
Additionally, all the characters met throughout the game feel diverse and unique. I was always eager to progress my relationship with all of them, both through daily interactions and by completing side quests and commissions. Character progression is fun as you unlock new dialogues and interactions throughout your time in Sandrock. As I learned more about each character’s backstory, they became even more fun to interact with and relatable.
In terms of graphics, the game is a step up from the already beautiful My Time at Portia. It features amazing 3D visuals, full of both small and great details. For instance, you can see the water glimmering and moving, the sand clouds and dust particles blowing the western terrain, and even the grass bobbing in the wind. On top of that, character models are detailed, fitting the aesthetic of the game perfectly. As for performance, the game runs smoothly throughout my entire playthrough with no FPS drops or stutters.
As for audio, the music is relaxing while navigating the town and engaging while fighting enemies. It manages to capture the theme of the game and always fits the activity that’s going on. Character dialogues are mostly voice-acted, which is always a welcome addition.
Overall, My Time at Sandrock is an improvement over the already great My Time at Portia. It manages to get almost everything right. Other than getting overwhelmed with the vast quantity of new items and recipes early on, the game is an amazing addition to the life-sim series, with amazing gameplay depth, a great and immersive story, and funny and relatable characters. If you’re a fan of the genre, I highly recommend giving this game a chance.
Our My Time at Sandrock review was made possible with a key provided by Focus Entertainment. My Time at Sandrock is available on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
My Time at Sandrock: An immersive storyline with unique and engaging characters, combined with an amazing depth of materials and quests to unlock and complete makes this game one of the best life-sims of 2023. – Harry Mourtzanakis