A while back, I purchased The Unfinished Swan during a PSN sale. I had intended to play it with my girlfriend, but it was only recently that we started it. The first person view gave her motion sickness, so I got to speed through the game uninhibited. It was a perfect experience.
It is an artsy game at its core. Exclusive to Sony platforms and developed by Giant Sparrow as their first outing (their follow-up is already announced and now I am excited for it), I had the pleasure of playing it on my Playstation 4.
As a first person puzzler, it was a very short game, though thankfully it never outstayed its welcome, even if I was left wanting more. Gameplay revolves around throwing blobs at the world to help you navigate. Often this manifests as black paint you throw on a world of pure white, revealing the objects that are hidden beneath the blankness of it all. Later on, you throw water to make plants grow.
It was not a challenging experience. The entire interface and methods of storytelling make it out to be a children’s book, and the gameplay is accessible and simple to match. It is not without its triumphs, however, as the beauty of the sparse artwork revealed by your character’s machinations is a reward that easily compensates for the lack of ‘triumphant feels’.
In its artisanal nature, The Unfinished Swan manages to capture the exact same feeling I get after sampling a gourmet hors d’oeurvre or a fancy chocolate: it leaves me wanting so much more. The game’s only means of lengthen the experience are balloons, scattered throughout each chapter, begging to be found.
It isn’t enough for a gamer like myself. I am not a completionist, and replaying the game would be over even quicker now that I know what to do and where to go. For the most part, a lot of the setting’s additional value resides in those first moments of discovery, as you peel back the obfuscations to see the hidden treasures that reside in a kingdom created by a King’s magic paintbrush.
Replaying the game would not add much to what I have taken away from the experience. But playing it once ought be required of us all. Give it a go if you haven’t already!