The Magnificent Trufflepigs

24/08/2021

According to the Steam page for this game, "The Magnificent Trufflepigs is a first-person, metal-detecting narrative game. It combines laid-back detecting and exploration with a dramatic story, all set in a beautiful English countryside. It's a game about trying to find something."

Now, reviews for this game have been rather. . . mixed, particularly on Steam. Some are positive and some are negative. But hey, with a Switch Port on the way (because why not?), I feel now's a great time to go over this game now that a few months have passed, and give it a legitimately fair shake based on my currently-racking-up playtime. Does this game warrant a purchase on the Hybrid system when it inevitably releases there? Let's find out by reviewing the Steam version!

Story

The story here is a story of metal detectorists in the manner of Everybody's Gone To The Rapture (a choose-your-own-adventure audio play rather than a game) with the graphical style of Firewatch. There's obviously more to it than that, though. Adam visits Beth at a Farm in Stanning to help her find a matching Earring, and finding other treasures as well as reminiscing along the way, their dynamic changing along the course of the story.

The game starts on a Monday morning after Sunday evening call between Beth (voiced by Luci FIsh), and Adam (Voiced by Arthur Darvill). They discuss the buried stuff, and have Adam come over to Stanning farm before it gets converted into a Solar Farm by the town. Now, for an Indie title, this a surprisingly story-heavy game, with plenty of characterization to it despite there only being 2 known characters throughout this journey. Beth mentions other people in her life such as Claire, Jen, Lucy, Jake, Beth's parents, etc.

This being a very deep, complex, and intertwined story despite the apparently short length of the game, as well as the Switch port arriving next week, I'm not gonna detail the plot like some other people would. So far, though, Beth and Adam's dynamic as old, strained friends is legitimately interesting, and I look forward to seeing where it leads to as this game progresses and in potential future installments.

Now, as for Beth. . . the first of 2 main characters, Beth, was not very likeable as a character, by the end, anyway. There were quite a few times where I got annoyed and groaned at her for interrupting my metal detecting with her childhood memories. I was like "Can I be allowed to walk faster and find this Earring?"

 I don't think I would have minded so much if the game let you continue detecting while you listen to her but for some reason you have to stop everything you're doing whenever she talks to you over the walkie talkie - it even makes you walk painfully slow for some reason as if you can't walk and talk at the same time, which is very much doable in real life.

Gameplay

First off, the game's graphics and the lush English Countryside are simply GORGEOUS! The view of the English Mudalot Staning Farm Countryside is simply amazing. The nighttime view of the countryside as depicted in cutscenes is simply amazing. The use of modern and "retro" technologies such as the Smartphone & Metal Detector, respectively, is super well-implemented, and digging up "treasures" with the shovel is very good as well. So far, as far as relaxation-esque games go, this one is ticking all the right boxes - for me at least.

For those wondering about the soundtrack, the game delivers on that front as well. The soundtrack and in-game music is relaxing and super calming as well. That being said,there are some issues to go over. Let's go over these issues, shall we?

In terms of issues, the lack of accessibility options such as colorblind support and support for deaf people is quite disappointing. There's only 4 accessibility options in-game. They are - as follows - Subtitles, Font Size, Captioned SFX, and Headbob. Talk about a major disappointment. For as much flack as Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part II get, they at LEAST got a boatload of accessibility options that cater to blind people, deaf people, disabled people, etc.

As for length, the game lasts about 3-4 hours, depending on how good you are at finding stuff with the metal detector. As for dialogue in the story? It's unskippable. It's annoying as heck if you're on a busy schedule, like I am.(what with online college, job searching, occasional volunteering, etc.) From a technical standpoint, the 30FPS-instead-of-60FPS-thing did deter me a little, but not much. 16 GBs of RAM being "recommended"? Eh, at least I can use the minimum of 8 GBs.

 FINAL THOUGHTS

This game is truly amazing. The characters are great, the setting is beautiful, the mix of tech used in-game is awesome, and the soundtrack is just soo relaxing and peaceful to listen to. I definitely recommend checking this out on Switch upon release, or buying on Steam and enjoying the game on a powerful laptop, or better yet, wait for the Steam Deck to come out and get the best of both worlds at that point.

FINAL SCORE: 4 - Great

Bryan Applegate