The Unfinished Swan
There’s nothing quite like a game you get to create yourself. The Unfinished Swan, from Giant Sparrow, is that game. This visual masterpiece is equal parts adventure and beauty. With a touching story, a highly-interactive design, and, once again, some of the most incredible visual elements to ever grace the gaming community, The Unfinished Swan is so incredible.
So, you already know how I feel about this game. But let’s go through it bit by bit so that you can love this amazing game just as much as I do.
1 - Visuals
Holy guacamole! The Unfinished Swan’s visuals are off the charts! This game isn’t just a work of art, it’s a work of art that you, as the gamer, get to participate in creating. In all of my gaming experiences, this is, I’m fairly certain, the most unique visual experience I have ever had.
After the game’s brief introduction, you start out by standing in a completely blank space, with only a small dot showing on the screen. You quickly learn that this dot is the tip of your paintbrush, and you use it to discover the world around you. The world within the game materializes around you as you paint, because the paint catches on objects and brings them into your visibility. It’s just so amazing!
For visuals, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
2 - Audio
The Unfinished Swan’s audio is perfectly matched to the game. It’s light, easy to listen to, and makes you feel as though you’re in the process of discovering new things, (which, in this game, you are!) There’s nothing quite like a soundtrack that simply brings you deeper into the game.
There’s nothing distracting about this audio. If you’re really focused on the game and you’re straining to find a new path or understand what you’ve uncovered (or covered) with paint, the audio has a way of drifting into the background. And yet, when you’re running along splashing paint around with ease, the audio carries you along as a happy tune you could skip to!
Basically, the audio is perfect for every moment in this spectacular game.
3 - Story/Progression
The Unfinished Swan’s story is remarkable. At the very beginning of the game, we’re introduced to Monroe, a young boy whose mother has recently passed away. His mother left behind many unfinished paintings, and the orphanage Monroe is sent to says that he can only keep one (harsh!) so he chooses the unfinished swan, which was his mother’s favorite. However, when he wakes up that night, he discovers that the swan has left the painting. He goes through a door in his room that he hadn’t seen before to search for the swan, and that’s where the game begins.
I’m not going to give away the ending of this game, as it would be cruel to deprive you of discovering it for yourself. But seriously, you need to play this game.
For Story/Progression, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
4 - Gameplay
The only tricky thing about The Unfinished Swan’s gameplay is there isn’t an introduction to how the controls operate in the opening of the game. You’re left to figure the controls out for yourself, and while they aren’t difficult, be warned that you may have to start the game again if you, like me, choose to cover the entire space in paint, completely blacking out the screen, before you realize your objectives. But, let’s be honest, that’s on me.
Once you’ve figured out how to play, the controls are pretty intuitive. Overall, once you’re out of the beginning stages of discovering the way it works, the controls are simplistic enough to allow you to completely focus on the story and discovery of the game.
For gameplay, this game gets 4.95 out of 5 stars.
5 - Context
When it comes to context, The Unfinished Swan is, as far as I can tell, in a category all its own within the world of gaming. I’ve never played or heard of a game quite like this. If you have, please let me know, so that I can play that game, too!
This game fits more within the context of the painting community than anything else. You create the world around you by discovering it through paint, and that’s as magical as creating a new world on a physical canvas. If this game isn’t a digital representation of creating a painting, I don’t know what is.
For context, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
Wow, just, wow. The Unfinished Swan is one of the most unique, touching, beautifully created games I have ever seen. If you aren’t already purchasing this game and getting ready to play it, what are you even doing with your life? You need this game, I need more of this game, and the world needs this game. If I could give it more than five total stars, I would.