My Time at Sandrock (Switch) Review


My Time at Sandrock is a wholesome and story-driven open world life simulation RPG from Pathea Games. Set in the same post-apocalyptic world as its predecessor, My Time at Portia, you take on the role of the town’s new builder, a much needed one as the town of Sandrock is not as grand as it once was.

The game starts with character creation and it’s frankly fantastic! The options are excellent, allowing you to make a character as cute, cool or goofy looking as you’d like. The only downside is that there are gendered clothing designs, meaning you’re locked out of skirts and dresses when picking a masculine frame. Likewise, you’re locked out of suits and shorts options when picking a feminine frame, although there are still plenty of pants and shorts available to feminine characters. It would be great in the future to see all characters have a choice from all the clothing options available, but for now it’s just a minor detail to be aware of when making your character.

Speaking of characters though, as you would expect from any RPG, there’s a whole cast of characters for you to get to know in Sandrock. They have wonderful, diverse designs and personalities, although the voice acting does leave a little to be desired in places.

Apart from a few minor visual errors with the character models I bumped into during my time with the game, the townsfolk of Sandrock are a big draw for this game. I found myself in the strangest situations with them and had my favourites – and least favourites – change throughout the game. Most of the characters of Sandrock have their own little storylines — some bizarre or annoying, and some sad, sweet or inspirational. 

Be prepared for the long haul in this game though, the story is very long. At the time of writing, I have not finished the story yet, or feel I’m even that close to the end despite putting extensive hours into it. That isn’t entirely a bad thing however — the pacing and progression feel far more natural than it did in My Time at Portia. Generally, it feels comfortable, and depending on how many commissions you take, the task load you have naturally ebbs and flows throughout the game.

While some players may find the downtime between story events to be frustrating, it can be useful to have this time to build up resources or complete tasks that you otherwise wouldn’t have the time for. Sandrock also allows you to change the speed of the game, from 0.6x all the way up to 3x speed.

I found myself switching between the slowest and fastest speeds depending on my tasks or missions. I had no errors doing this, and the game lets you adjust it at any time as much as you want, so I think it’s a great feature to have considering the nature of the game.

The developers’ use of humour throughout the story and characters helps this game tremendously, and nothing takes itself too seriously in the best possible way. It’s a fun time at Sandrock, even if things somehow keep going wrong for the town.


Unfortunately there are some downsides to Sandrock, the biggest being the visuals and performance on Switch. Character designs are pleasant and fun, but their models are often low quality, which can take you out of the experience at times.

The frame rate is very choppy, too, and while I don’t particularly mind performance issues like this, I know it is an absolute deal breaker for many. I will admit though that in some environments the framerate slowed to almost a slideshow, though thankfully those areas were limited in number and often in optional areas.

The poor render distance is also very noticeable, with frequent pop-in of assets that can be both slow and sudden. More than once I’ve run into something whilst riding full speed on my mount that I couldn’t see until I hit it. When loading in and out of buildings there can often be a delay in loading assets too, including (but not limited to) entire buildings, people and animals. It can be very disorienting, but the game does sort itself out fairly quickly in most cases.

In general, the game also has quite a bit of loading, the longest times being when you open the game or when entering a cave or ruins. Again, this isn’t really something that bothered me, but is something to keep in mind if you don’t like multiple loading screens or long wait times.

Do you like inventory management? Sorting through extensive and seemingly endless amounts of materials? Well then, My Time at Sandrock is the game for you! Or not, I guess. Joking aside, the management of items can be hellish in this game. You just end up with so many things. Seriously, so many.


The developers have helped this in a few ways, though. Firstly, you don’t have to carry things everywhere all the time — if you don’t have quest items on your person, you can usually hand them in anyway. This keeps your personal inventory much more manageable.

There are some situations, like fishing, where you do need all the relevant items in your inventory, but these situations are fairly uncommon. Storage containers also have a great sorting function, even putting items into stacks in other nearby chests when automatically sorting them. Truly, that has been a lifesaver for me and my several hundred rocks that I somehow collected. 

There is so much to do in Sandrock, and thankfully the game kind of lets you tailor that for yourself. Don’t like raising animals? Not a problem, it’s optional. Hate farming? Also optional — after the farming tutorial, that is. Don’t want to collect relics for the museum? No worries, you don’t really have to. Don’t want to walk but also don’t want a stable? It’s cool, just rent a mount.

My Time at Sandrock offers you a wide variety of activities, and while some are crucial, like mining and chopping wood, there are many aspects you can almost entirely ignore with little to no consequences. While there is combat in the game, I will say it’s not that big a deal. It’s quite simple, and although you can absolutely perform a variety of complex actions in combat, it’s very button-mash friendly if that’s how you want it, which personally I do.

The skills system also reflects this pick-and-choose method of gameplay design, with four different skill trees and more options within those. All skill points are individual to each category, so if you’re not farming much there’s no need to go down that route and waste skill points there.

Unfortunately, this game is not without its issues. It’s worth noting that I was playing a prerelease version of the game, so some errors are likely to be fixed before release or are being worked on already.

The worst issue I had was with item descriptions — when buying from a store or looking through a storage box you have the option to toggle descriptions on and off. The problem was that I could only toggle them on once after booting up the game, and then every time after that it just would not work. It made it extremely difficult to purchase the right items or take out the right items from my storage as the icons are often small or very similar.

Another error I had was with the buildup of sand on my machines, which you are supposed to dust away to keep them running. Yet sometimes there would be no sand, or I had already dusted and the sand buildup signal was still active. Just picking up my machine and putting it back down worked to fix this problem without interrupting any work they were doing, so it wasn’t really disruptive as much as it was annoying.

There is also an item limit in the console version of Sandrock, which is not explained anywhere and was very confusing to figure out. Decoration, farming and general items all have different limits — for example, farming has 20 available slots before you’re unable to place any more. This absolutely stumped me when I was plotting out a farm and got an error message that told me I had too many items in my yard.

The last things I want to mention are less issues and more oddities. When wearing anything in Sandrock, you have your equipped gear and then outfits which are purely visual. When it comes to protective gear, I found that I could wear sandstorm protection in just my outfits and it would work the same as if I had it equipped, yet with toxic protective gear it had to be equipped. There seems to be no consistency with this, and since equipping the toxic protection removes all other clothing it then takes up inventory space.

Finally, having a mount, they love to climb on my machines? If they were in my yard and not in the stable, 9 times out of 10 they would be on my recycler. I love that they can walk up almost sheer cliffs and run right over the top of people, but when it comes to some specific staircases, absolutely not, they just hate them. Like I said, it’s not really a problem, but it is weird.

Overall, My Time at Sandrock is good fun. If you enjoyed My Time at Portia or similar games, then you’re very likely going to enjoy this one too — if you can look past the performance issues. Though its console release is a little behind the PC version, and there are some problems to smooth out, I still recommend it for fans of the genre. I really enjoyed the challenges of being a builder in a little town full of interesting characters, mishaps, sandstorms and mysteries.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Good

+ Solid gameplay and pacing
+ Versatile play styles
+ Fantastic characters

The Bad

- Major performance and visual issues at times
- So many bugs
- Lots of long load times

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Final Thoughts

Overall, My Time at Sandrock is good fun. If you enjoyed My Time at Portia or similar games, then you’re very likely going to enjoy this one too — if you can look past the performance issues. Though its console release is a little behind the PC version, and there are some problems to smooth out, I still recommend it for fans of the genre. I really enjoyed the challenges of being a builder in a little town full of interesting characters, mishaps, sandstorms and mysteries.

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About The Author
Tia Zell
Artist, author, art historian. Easy mode advocate. My favourite game is character creation.

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