My Time at Sandrock – Xbox X Review

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Ever feel the need to get away from it all? Well it seems that Pathea have the solution with a great opportunity as a builder in Sandrock.  Join a community in need of a little support to survive and help them out. My Time at Sandrock will hopefully allow me to put my generous self to work selflessly helping the locals. Have I really got what it takes to build the things that they need? Time to dig out my hammer, screwdriver and see what happens.

My Time at Sandrock – Rocking out or letting the Sandman in?

The wild west with a bit of a difference, not sure whether to dig out my stetson and six shooter and have a duel at sundown, or maybe I need to fix my toolbox and become a slave to the system. Either way, I hope to have a lot of fun revitalising Sandrock into a thriving community. Fingers crossed that’s the aim of the game or I’ll just have dusty feet for nothing.

An audience looks intently at a stage where three wild west characters are having a hoedown. A large cactus stands proud in each front corner of the stage to give it that authentic dusty desert feel. A caption reads 'it's war on the dance floor', but I suspect that's not exactly true.
When I asked for a hoe down, this wasn’t what I had in mind. Rookie error.


My Time at Sandrock is essentially a resource management game, but the more you play, the more you realise it’s so much more. There’s definitely combat, slay a few Rocket Roosters for a decent omelette. There is also a relationship aspect: make friends and get rewarded. Community is also a big aspect of Sandrock, make sure you help out the town as a whole.

You inherit a shack, I mean workshop, and then it’s off. There is a lot to do so I’ll break it down as best I can. Operating a successful builders workshop consists of building machinery, upgrading machinery and completing commissions. Well, when I put it like that it does seem easy. Get commissions from the Commerce Guild and gain reputation, more rep, better commissions and greater rewards. Make sure you have enough water to keep your machines running, and enough fuel to power them. More machines, more water required, more fuel needed, no more hours in the day to do it though. Ultimately how quickly you do things seems to be a personal choice, though it can make life a little trickier. Get to the top of the rankings and get rewarded well, sit at the bottom (as I did) and not so well.

What’s good?

There doesn’t seem to be any right or wrong way to approach My Time at Sandrock, play it your way. The whole aspect has been created well and there are evident influences from a lot of other styles of game. These have all been blended very well to create some exciting gameplay. The residents are almost all charming, each with a totally individual character, so make friends with the ones you like and let the others wander around. Gain experience as you play to level up and get stronger, fight tougher baddies and generally feel more confident inside. Gain points to spend on advancement trees to play to your strengths or shore up your weaknesses.

The underlying story is very pleasing, all it takes is one man or woman to make a whole world of difference to the community. Revel in the fame as your efforts do not go unrewarded. Plenty of the citizens will ask you to perform tasks for them, anything from weeding to parcel deliveries, get around and make a name for yourself. The inward glow from helping can make you feel good all day.

Workshop rankings. A list of the 5 workshops. Yan (I don't like yan) is at the top and I am in second place. There is a list of rewards for annual finish positions and monthly finish positions. Looks like I might be getting something this month.
I think Yan is cheating. Hopefully, I’ll be asked to create a 6′ wooden box soon.

Rise of the machines

The order in which you research and build your machines is completely up to you. Obviously, you need to understand which machines are needed in the correct order or you will not be as efficient as you could be. Make sure you have the right equipment to build and commissions you undertake or risk losing your reputation. These are all really just common sense, which seems to be the backbone of My Time at Sandrock, learn the game, but use what you already know from life.

Mini games

Scattered throughout Sandrock is a selection of mini-games that you can participate in. These can be used to break up a day of mining and foraging well. Learn other tactics to beat your opponents or just enjoy the break from the hard labour.

Rocky, Krystal and Pebbles (the mining family) are all sitting down for afternoon tea. There is a painting of fruit hanging on the wall. There is no chair for me to sit on, so I stand and stare at them with a raging hunger. I thought these people were my friends.
That’s right, get him to build you stuff, but no place at the table for me.

What’s not so good?

To be fair, this isn’t really much more than a list of niggles. The combat system could be more intricate, it’s generally a bit button mashy at the moment. If you get too close to the camera you can lose sight of who/what you are fighting. The animation for moving around could be a little slicker, it’s just a series of over-accentuated limb movements. Why is everyone else so cool and you have to run like a bit of an idiot? If there is no quick travel to a place, it does seem to eat up a lot of the day. There is no way to throw myself off the edge of the world. Once in a while, I like to just run and jump off a world, but there is an imaginary barrier of common sense stopping me. Totally gutted!

Graphics & Audio

When it comes to Sandrock, the people at Pathea have decided on a cartoon feel. This really works with the light aspect of the game and has a happy vibe. The use of bright colours juxtaposed with the landscape is a great touch. The residents all have their own quirky look and the buildings match their style. Maneuvering around is simple and landmarks are easily distinguishable.  I did find a few issues of being inside a solid object, usually the bed after sleeping, or after a cut-scene. I was never stuck, just inside an object.

The graphics do occasionally take a little time to load, I found this was often the case when exiting the mine. I would look to where the lifts to get me out would be and they wouldn’t be there. Patience was required and it was all good in the end.

The audio in, My Time at Sandrock does what it needs to. The voices are good representations and how you would expect the characters to talk. The sound effects match the action as best they can and the music gives a good clue when a beast is on the charge.

A dark background with a chart of skills that can be gained. These are represented by grey circles that turn green once they have been learned. Orange diamonds sit under each one to note how many levels can be learned in each new skill. A list appears to the right highlighting what the selected skill is and the effects of learning it.
I sure wish that I had gone to school.


My Time at Sandrock is the kind of game that you can easily lose yourself in. Just one more commission, just one more build, just one more day. The pace at which you play the game is entirely your own choosing, there is no forced element of rushing around. It is also the kind of game that you can just dip in and out of, play just one day, or build just one commission. For these reasons, I feel that My Time and Sandrock has a fabulous future ahead. I’d move there tomorrow if I could and make a new way of life for everyone.

Final Thoughts

If you like a game that is full of a little of everything, then My Time at Sandrock could well be for you. Pathea has done an amazing job of combining elements into a fun overall package. There truly isn’t anything to not like about moving to Sandrock. I have never felt such a sense of satisfaction after playing a game before and will continue playing long into the future. There are a few things that could be added, but everything My Time at Sandrock does it does well. I am truly looking forward to expanding my workshop and having ranks and ranks of machines all humming away to make everyone’s lives a little better.

I have decided to award My Time at Sandrock a Thumb Culture Gold award for totally rocking.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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