The Magnificent Trufflepigs is basically a walking simulator. There is a very heavy emphasis on narrative delivery and very little actual game play.
The main premise of the game is that you are combing the fields of a farm with a metal detector to help an old friend find an earring. The friend is going through something resembling a midlife crisis and put all of their hopes and dreams into finding this missing earring to recapture the feeling of happiness once found in their childhood.
You walk around the fields with the metal detector, dig up random odds and ends, take a picture of it and send it to your friend along with an attempt at humor, and then for some odd reason they talk about nostalgic memories over walkie talkies. They have phones for crying out loud and they literally use them a few seconds before they decide to talk over the two way radios!
This may or may not be an issue for some folks as the game takes away control from you during these sections and you’re forced to listen to these conversations. These conversations cannot be skipped, your walk speed is incredibly slow, and you can’t take any other action during this time. It doesn’t feel like I’m playing a game as much as I’m being forced to watch a short film.
While this does create a more cinematic approach, I personally find it very frustrating when a game takes away control from the player constantly. At that point, I would rather just watch a movie as there would be very little difference. Since most of the narrative delivery is done through audio, the conversations could have been played while letting you continue to search the fields to create a more immersive and seamless experience.
That said, the dialogue was well written and the voice acting performances were incredible. It felt like two real people having a conversation for the most part, although some parts did feel a bit by the numbers and on the shallow end.
I personally found the character of Beth to be incredibly unlikable but the character was consistently written and realistically portrayed, as in she is consistently self centered and lacks empathy for others. I lost any semblance of empathy for this character because at the end she basically throws Adam away. She does not thank Adam for the constant and patient help he’s given and gives credit only to herself for solving her problems. She then tells him that he’s the problem and that they can only be friends when times are bad and tosses him to the road. It makes for a terrible ending and ruins the illusion that Beth has made any progress as a person.
While I find the ending and writing of Beth’s character to be unlikable, it doesn’t necessarily make for a bad narrative as Beth is consistently portrayed as self centered and egotistical. Both the character and narrative are consistent and follow through to a logical conclusion even though it’s one I didn’t want to see.
Overall, The Magnificent Trufflepigs is a well produced narrative but a weak game. While the characters and narrative may be compelling enough, the lack of proper game play design does weaken the experience enough. This may be a problem based on what the player is looking for. As for the ending, I personally found it to be unappealing and left me with an aftertaste of disgust. I’ll give the game credit for evoking an emotion out of me, albeit a negative one.
The game is timed and will take around two hours to complete. It took me around four hours to get all fifteen achievements.