The Unfinished Swan is a curious gem. Monroe, having seen his mother’s unfinished painting of a swan leap out of its frame and walk away, finds himself in a curious world. Starting off in a literally blank world, Monroe follows the swan through curious environments like ponds, mazes, forests, and other surprises. It’s a story told like a storybook that may seem a bit kiddy, but is more childlike and whimsical. The narrative is a bit slow paced, but the surprises around every corner and the end all make up for it.
As stated previously, Monroe starts off in a blank, white area. His only power: throwing blots of black ink. Said ink will mark the world, highlighting walls, objects, doors, etc. It’s a unique mechanic that lets Monroe discover the world along with solve other puzzles. For instance, another type of ink Monroe gets is water, which when poured out, lets vines entangle walls, allowing for new traversal. To list any other mechanics would be a bit of a spoiler, but what can be said is that they are all creative and innovative ways to solve puzzles.
It’s hard to call this game beautiful, as the graphics are somewhat simplistic. However, the art design and imagination behind the puzzles and mechanics make the game special. It’s pretty short, with very little exploration despite the Monroe’s cool powers, but there are extras to gather that unlock new ways to play like the ability to stop time, or the power to erase anything players have created. It’s a nice touch to add ways to replay the game in a new light.
The Unfinished Swan is a great, whimsical tale starring the young Monroe. His journey rivals Journey, but at the same time is not as ground breaking. Still, the mechanics and puzzles within are interesting and make a sequel that much more mouth watering. Despite some flaws like the lack of exploration and a slow paced story, this is a must play experience.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on June 25, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.