The Unfinished Swan
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Game Reviewed: The Unfinished Swan
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Reviewer: Matthew Scott
ESRB Rating: E10+
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The Unfinished Swan is a journey about a little boy named Monroe whose mother has just recently passed away. At the beginning of the game, we learn that Monroe’s mother was a painter, except she never finished any of her paintings. Of all her unfinished paintings, the Unfinished Swan was his mother’s favorite. Thankfully, he is able to take this one painting with him to the orphanage, but then one night something magical happens. Monroe wakes up to find that the swan has disappeared from the painting. He also notices a door he had not seen before. So Monroe grabs his mother’s paintbrush and walks through the door which leads him on the start of a magical journey where he may just learn a little more about himself.
The story in the Unfinished Swan plays out very much like a children’s fairy tale. While the game itself is not very long (it can be completed in about 2 hours), there is a great experience to be had here, especially if you enjoy games like Flower or Journey. With that said, I am going to try and keep this review as spoiler free as I can while still commenting on some of the areas that parents may want to be aware of.
What Parents Need to Know
The Unfinished Swan is played from a first person perspective. For the majority of the game, you are throwing balls of paint or water.
It is possible for Monroe to fall off a ledge or sink into water. If this happens, the game just brings you back to the last safe area you were standing on.
One part of the story tells in narrative form how the King made a monster who wound up making him afraid because the monster ate the King’s soldiers, and half his zoo.
There is one area of the game where there are some spider-like creatures in the dark. If Monroe does not stay in the light, these creatures will get him. The sides of the screen get red, and if Monroe does not get to a lighted area quickly, the game will take him back to the last safe area he was at, just like if he falls off of a ledge.
One area of the game takes place at a funeral where you see a person laying in a coffin.
There is not any bad language in this game, although there are pages of a storybook that Monroe can come across that tells the story of the magical land he is in and the King of that land. Some of the pages contain some dark humor to them. For example, one page of the story tells how some canals were made to sweep away the trash, but also as a result swept away some of the slower children. Another page tells how the people of the kingdom had no place to relieve themselves, so they started relieving themselves in the King’s pots. As a result the King had to build a sewer system.
There is not any inappropriate sexual content in this game. One page of the story tells how the King met his wife and fell in love with her.
The game takes place in a fantasy world with a magic paint brush.
I felt The Unfinished Swan started off really strong, but that more could have been done with the end. By the time the game introduced some really interesting and fun puzzle mechanics, the game was just about over. Still, I feel there is something special to cherish about this game. There is an argument going around debating whether or not video games are a true art form. Games like The Unfinished Swan help to prove this point favorably. If you are looking for something different or if you are a fan of games like Flower or Journey, I would definitely recommend giving The Unfinished Swan a try.