The Unfinished Swan is a unique experience, especially because it is from the first person perspective which is traditionally for shooters like Doom and Call of Duty. The Unfinished Swan offers up a fairytale like story of an orphan gifted with a magical paintbrush from his deceased mother. There is no combat and even the situational puzzles are not meant to stump you, but give you obstacles to further explore the tools you have been given from level to level.
The game introduces wholly original mechanics for each world and figuring out how each works is the joy of the game. I will only delve into the first world mechanics as to not spoil the gameplay. The first world is completely white and your magic paint brush throws balls of black paint to uncover the three dimensional world around you. You will need to uncover objects, walls and pathways to navigate the level and find the occasional hidden animal or secret at your leisure. The entire level ends up being white with splotches of black that give it form. While this mechanic is very novel and amazing to behold, the surprises and worlds you encounter from then on make this a great game of variety, joy and discovery. So even if the description of the first world does not appeal to you, know that it does not end there but keeps climbing to a wonderful climate and even a unique credits sequence.
This game is beautiful and not because of the PS4’s graphics but because of the minimalist art design and the amazing scale of its whimsical creative worlds. It felt like when I first played Myst, a magical mysterious world that begs to be seen from every angle. I found myself just looking around in between puzzles and playing around without an objective. The developers did an amazing job tying together the entire story and giving you fun surprises throughout and in the end. The music supports all of the worlds and further adds to the fairy tale and joy of the magic paint brush.
The Unfinished Swan is not an especially long game, but is perfectly paced to teach and let you explore each mechanic and then lead you into another one. This game is everything it wants to be with next to no frustrating mechanics or annoying sequences.
The Unfinished Swan is a masterpiece of art, story, gameplay and music coming together to cut you off from the real world and transport you into a children’s book full of magic, exploration and joy.