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The Magnificent Trufflepigs review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: AMC Games
Developer: Thunkd
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

The Magnificent Trufflepigs clearly aspires to be Important. It’s the first game to be published by AMC, the network behind shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Moreover, it was developed by the creative lead from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. If AMC’s TV offerings were prestige dramas, then The Magnificent Trufflepigs could be called a prestige game.

The problem is, it’s a fundamentally dull game. It doesn’t have anything to say. It’s about a pair of not-very-interesting people spending a weekend metal detecting. In fact, however boring that description sounds, multiply it a few times, and then you start to get an idea of how incredibly dull and meaningless The Magnificent Trufflepigs is.

First and foremost, this is because metal-detecting isn’t all that interesting. The game can try to dress it up with the promise of some dramatic revelation, but when you get right down to it, you’re just slowly walking back and forth across a field, waving a stick around. Sometimes you have to pause and check a map to make sure you’re going in a straight line, rather than retracing your steps over your previous line. Every so often, your metal detector will start to beep, at which point you slowly move around to figure out the source of the beeps, pause to dig up a pile of dirt, find some useless trinket, and send a picture of it to your friend so you can trigger another inane conversation.

Words cannot capture how little I cared about any of this.

Part of the problem is that the two characters are both mind-numbingly boring people. It’s hard to fully explain why without spoiling the game – though this article does, if you don’t care about being completely spoiled – but needless to say, it’s really hard to care about either of them. While games can totally be useful for exploring more complicated feelings (indeed, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture blew me away precisely for that reason), that’s not the case in The Magnificent Trufflepigs. Here, you get one person complaining about their problems for a few hours and another being kind of a jerk in response, and then the game ends.

To be fair, the game has some excellent voice acting, courtesy of Luci Fish and Arthur Darvill. They really try their best to make the characters engaging. But no matter how hard they try, it doesn’t make the game interesting. Maybe this was inevitable. I mean, it’s metal-detecting: how interesting could you make it?

I can’t help but shake the feeling, though, that it could have been done in a way that was interesting, or at least tolerable. Instead, The Magnificent Trufflepigs makes the prospect of spending a few hours in this world seem like a dreadful slog. The whole thing feels like it was tailor-made to win awards and win critical acclaim, but like the worst kind of awards bait, they forgot to make the game interesting enough to merit either.

AMC Games provided us with a The Magnificent Trufflepigs Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-