ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review: The Unfinished Swan

Updated on April 21, 2013

Developer: Giant Sparrow - Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment - Platform: Playstation 3 - Release Date: October 16, 2012

Concept: Travel through a world of unfinished paintings to chase a swan that has escaped it's own

Graphics: Clean and sparse, though staring at the bright white areas may strain some eyes after a while

Sound: The score is both pleasant and forgettable

Playability: Run, jump, climb and toss paint. The controls are simple and work fine

Entertainment: The Unfinished Swan is a delightful and tranquil journey that anyone can enjoy. Players looking for a more challenging puzzler should look elsewhere

Replay Value: Low

When Less Is More

The Unfinished Swan is among the latest in the current boom of stylized, experimental indie titles and one of the most endearing in terms of narrative. As a young orphan named Monroe, you're given your favorite painting of your deceased mother, a beautiful, though incomplete, swan. When the swan escapes it's painting, Monroe enters his mother's other unfinished works in pursuit of the now liberated bird. Monroe explores an abandoned kingdom once ruled by a King who had used his magic paint brush to create his domain, and discovers the sad story of the misfortunes of ruling it.

Upon entering the world, everything is a stark white. Toss a glob of black paint, and you'll expose hidden objects, corridors, platforms, and doorways. There's a very fun sense of discovery in this mechanic; I was tossing paint all over the place, eager to determine my surroundings. My artistic side also made me self-conscious of how I was painting, as using too much removes helpful highlights, making it tougher to distinguish different objects. It's a cool and unique mechanic, turning the environment into a stunning ink painting.

There's much more to The Unfinished Swan than painting black onto white. Each chapter adds a wholly new element to the world, for better or worse. The Unfinished Swan soars highest when the puzzle-solving is more open and flexible, such as in the beginning and final chapters. Sadly, the linearity of the middle chapters effectively clip this bird's wings.

Chapter 2 gives you water to throw, which fuels the growth of thirsty vines used for climbing. Thus, that chapter is spent throwing a sea's worth of liquid in a relatively straight line, in order to lead the vines towards wherever their growth is needed. While watching bushels of vines snake across a surface provides a cool visual, making it happen is pretty tedious. The third chapter focuses on using lights to navigate pitch-black areas. By that, I mean walking between light sources while guiding a mobile light to illuminate the long stretches of dark. Again, pretty to look at, but a somewhat of a snooze to play.

Puzzle-solving overall is simple and undemanding and is more of a vehicle for the charming narrative. With only four chapters, the game can be completed in a single, brief, sitting, and the straightforward controls allow for anyone to pick it up and enjoy. I would have liked to see the gameplay follow the format of the first chapter a bit more, but I appreciate the attempt to mix things up. The Unfinished Swan is an enjoyable, serene ride that, if nothing else, serves as the perfect chill pill between more adrenaline-pumping titles


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)