The narrative-driven subgenre has produced its share of gems, Firewatch and Everyone’s Gone To The Rapture being two such standouts. Now Rapture’s designer, Andre Crawshaw returns with his new studio Thunkd to deliver The Magnificent Trufflepigs. Set in a charming English countryside, The Magnificent Trufflepigs is a romantic story-driven game that combines unique elements of exploration and narrative. Yet despite it’s lovely visuals and amorous dialogue, The Magnificent Trufflepigs falls short in comparison to its predecessor.
You play as Adam, a winsome past love interest of the fraught perfectionist, Beth. After Beth invites you to an abandoned farm in search of a lost valuable earring, you traverse the field in hopes of recovering it, all while coming across bounties of costume jewelry, rusted tools, and other trinkets each with their own respective backstory. The plot unravels in between digging up the scattered hidden treasures. Upon each discovery, text messages and radio conversations exchanged between Beth and Adam reveal more information about the item and subsequently about Beth, her relationships, and the town of Stanning.
Having to literally uncover secrets about Beth and the small English village is a concept with considerable potential, but in execution it falls a bit flat. The majority of objects you recover don’t tie back to the main plot, and when you think something might lead to a bigger piece of the puzzle it’s never revisited. As a result, many of the items feel like unsatisfying discoveries. Had they been used for various subplots their purpose could have been more meaningful.
The lack of consequential items leaves much of the story feeling trivial and incomplete. On top of that, the game ends on a blunt and somewhat perplexing note that makes the prior events arguably more pointless. Yet despite its dull moments, much of Trufflepigs’ impact is bolstered by the engrossing voice acting of Arthur Darvill as Adam and Luci Fish as Beth, whose animated performances help retain an emotional connection to the player.
Amidst the banter between Adam and Beth, the game explores some interesting ideas and subjects. It even hints at the mysterious nature of small town life by unveiling a number of Stanning's curious chronicles, namely UFO sightings and grisly deaths. Where Trufflepigs is at its strongest is when it delves into the struggles of growing up in a small town, the pressures of becoming an adult, and what it means to be truly happy. As the game itself sagely points out, “joy doesn’t have to be tied to our situation.”
Trufflepigs’ exploratory mechanism is metal-detecting. With metal detector and shovel in hand, you scout the Stanning farm grounds from a first person perspective. Following the increasingly high-pitched beeps of your trusted metal detector, you dig through the soil to uncover various forgotten belongings and other materials. It’s simple but when coupled with magnificent views of rolling green pastures and towering distant windmills, makes for quite a relaxing experience.
Visuals and Sound
On the note of magnificent views, one of Trufflepigs’ greatest assets comes in the form of its graphics. The game’s vivid color palette lends it a vibrant atmosphere and whimsical nature. Those fond of Sunlight and Lost Ember will instantly be drawn to Trufflepigs’ colorful visuals. Audio-wise, the inclusion of birds chirping and discreet orchestral melodies help create a peaceful and innocent immersion into the English countryside. Along with skilled voice acting that makes the story development more impactful, the audio and visual effects are where Trufflepigs shines brightest.
Overall, for a game that relies heavily on its story, the narrative often feels shallow and uninspiring. Buried beneath a bulk of irrelevant content are some captivating ideas that had they been drawn out, could have made for a more memorable and galvanizing experience. Despite its narrative drawbacks, Trufflepigs makes a statement on the technical side with its graphics and immersive audio effects. If not a game to be appreciated for its story, The Magnificent Trufflepigs is certainly one to be admired for its enthralling depiction of the English countryside and subtle enlightenments on happiness and the complexities of adulthood.
So, why should you play it?
Relaxing and meditative experience
Beautiful graphics and entrancing audio
You have an appreciation for narrative-focused games
But why shouldn’t you play it?
Unsatisfying discoveries and filler content
Abrupt and lackluster conclusion
A review code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Johnna is a copywriter and aspiring concept artist based in Sydney, Australia. When she's not writing or designing characters, Johnna enjoys spending her free time in the comfort of an open world game. Some of her favourite titles include Twilight Princess, Okami, and God of War 2018.