There's an argument to be made that maybe I shouldn't spend any time telling you about The Unfinished Swan. What makes this game so special is what you don't know going in and anything I say will only rob you of the sense of discovery. All you need to know is that The Unfinished Swan is an incredible first-person platformer/puzzle game with an emotional story and always-changing gameplay.
Of course, my editor would flip out if I handed in a review consisting of only one paragraph. He'll tell me that this isn't a Call of Duty sequel; consumers need to know what they're getting themselves into. Perhaps he's right, but if you have any interest in buying The Unfinished Swan, I implore you to stop reading this review.
Told in the style of a children's book, you play a young boy who feels incomplete. After his mother dies, Monroe is sent to an orphanage with only one piece of treasure from his past -- a painting of an unfinished swan. It's here that he yearns for a better life, a place far away from the loneliness he feels. It's in his darkest moment that he discovers a door that whisks him off into mysterious new world.
As it turns out, this new world was created by a very meticulous King. This is a King that liked things a certain way, to the point of alienating himself. When the townspeople started to use color, he put a stop to that and started painting everything white ... even the shadows. It was immaculate, to the point of being blinding.
We enter this world unable to see. Literally. Everything is so white that it's impossible to make out walls, stairs and other everyday objects. To give you a sense, the game is white to the point where I honestly didn't know if it had even started. And then I started hitting buttons, anything, praying my system hadn't frozen. Much to my surprise, Monroe (now in a first-person point of view) threw a small glob of ink. Suddenly I could see the walls, stairs and table.
Before long I'm throwing ink everywhere, trying my hardest to make heads or tails of this bright white world. It may be hard to see, but it's clear that somebody spent a lot of time creating a majestic world that only they can appreciate. I stumble out of the whiteness to see the outside world. There in front of me is a giant labyrinth leading to a giant castle. That must be where I'm going.
The world of The Unfinished Swan opens up in ways I wasn't expecting. What at first seems like a game about throwing ink quickly turns into something else. The second chapter does away with the ink entirely, instead opting for handfuls of water. Now you'll be able to grow vines that will allow you to ascend the giant tower.
Giant Sparrow delivers one of the most unique games of the year. Sadly, The Unfinished Swan is a little too easy for its own good. Players can easily blow through the game in a couple hours. Still, the game's story is strong enough to keep you engaged from beginning to end. You've never seen anything like The Unfinished Swan before!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!