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The Unfinished Swan Review

This is the story of a little boy who is all alone in the world. His mother is dead, leaving him with nothing but memories and her favourite painting, the latter of which holds particular relevance to this tale, The Unfinished Swan.

One day, upon awakening, our young hero discovers a door in his room, it wasn't there before; so this is most curious indeed. Now, although he has suffered tragedy, our protagonist is still young, so his curiosity remains and off he goes through the door, into a large white room with just a paint brush his mother gave him for company. As the door slams behind him he discovers a problem, the room is white, completely white and therefore he has nowhere to go. In an act of childish frustration he decides that he'll use his brush to splat everything in front of him with black paint, after all it's boring in this large white room and he's not got much else to do.

As the walls change colour something curious happens, a corridor appears. Obviously it was difficult to see this here before with the room being completely white, however the black paint has led the way. Following the freshly painted corridors, it's not long before our young hero happens across an even larger white space, which he soon discovers (after a few splats with his paint brush) is a garden. Continuing on his path, which involves climbing over rooftops and passing by some freshly painted monuments, he soon comes across some strange yellow footprints, almost like those of a swan. It's not long before he decides that it'd be a good idea to follow these, after all, they seem to be leading somewhere and he has nowhere else to go.

Following the footsteps he then discovers another strange occurrence in what seems to be a page from a book. This page tells the story of a young, arrogant king, who created a kingdom all in white. Obviously a white kingdom is a curious thing, especially for the subjects of that kingdom. As our young hero continues his journey, he finds more pages and the story evolves. It seems that the kings people were not happy at all with him, so decided to paint the kingdom in order to actually see where they were going. The king, unhappy with this, compromised and therefore painted shadows, so while the kingdom remained largely in white, you could at least see where the next corner was.

Armed with this new information our hero continues and guess what? As he emerges through the door he discovers a castle, one which is no longer a sea of white, but one which is painted with shadows. Could he be trapped inside the story? It does seem that way.

And so our tale really begins. The tale of the Unfinished Swan, although really it's the tale of a king, who in his stubborn aim to build his ideal kingdom ends up angering those who matter most, his people. Since our young hero is stuck in this story, he will soon discover just how much the king upset his people and how, in their anger, they set about to destroy his fair city.

Of course working his way through the story was not going to be easy, these things never are. On the way there will be many puzzles and dangers. He'll have to climb and jump to get to safety; he will have to swap his black paint for blue water and figure out the path ahead. He'll also have to water the green vines which are devouring the kingdom, although he can at least use these to his advantage, climbing to greater heights and at the same time progressing on his path.

Later, more danger lies in his wake, when the world is suddenly thrown into darkness, with dangerous spiders lurking in his path. Here he must find a source of light and follow it to safety. Further into the story he'll even have to help finish the kingdom, by swapping his paint once again, this time for a block building tool, which will help him climb to greater heights and discover what fate lies ahead.

There is one piece of good news for our young hero. At every point in the story, there are balloons to collect. By doing so he'll gain some pretty neat toys. Although I wouldn't want to spoil what these surprises are.

Up until now it's been made quite clear that our young hero is all on his own, but that's slightly untrue. You see there is a greater force, an overseer if you will. This overseer controls the boy completely, using what some might describe as a Dualshock controller. This is a perfectly adequate way for the overseer to control the young boy, although he does have another option, the PlayStation Move. The latter is a motion controller, which controls the direction of the paint and can also be used to move our young hero through the story. The overseer is happy with both control methods and feels that if others were to ever control the young boy, then it would come down to the preference of that individual, rather than one method being better than the other.

One thing to be said about the young boy's journey is that throughout he will be met with some wondrous sights. The world is constantly changing around him, meeting his eye with some of the most impressive art work he has ever seen. The majority of the time he really does feel like he is inside a painting and the further he progresses, the more impressive it becomes. He's never seen anything like this ever before in his life and he's so glad that he is privileged enough to witness it now.

And this my friends is the Tale of The Unfinished Swan, in what you could describe as, a rather unfinished review. If you want to find out the rest of the story, then you're just going to have to experience it for yourself. 

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta

(Version tested: PS3)

*We have reposted our previous review since the game has this week been re-released for PS4 and PS Vita.

Edited On 29 Oct, 2014

( 23 )
Shnoorum 3 years ago
Awesome review. If this doesn't convince you, check the screenshot. Thats right, you can chuck paint at a chicken!
Hope there's a demo of this.
rjc 3 years ago
damatman 3 years ago
I'm glad to see that this game appears to be as beautiful and emotive as I imagined. What a spectle. I am definitely picking it up on release. Also, I really like the way you reviewed this game, was an interesting style that suited well!
damatman 3 years ago
Allan 3 years ago
Really like the look of this :)
Skiba 3 years ago
like the style of that review Joe. can not wait till the store updates to buy it think I will use Move to play it.
Beazi 3 years ago
I keep hearing about this game. Is it PSN only or is it CD based?
PSN. It's out this week for £9.99.
Joe Anderson (Editor) 3 years ago
Joe Anderson (Editor) 3 years ago
Thanks for the feedback on the review everyone. Much appreciated :D
Gloria 3 years ago
Certainly looks very interesting, I think maybe they should have made it Move only though, and used it to shift some units, wouldn't cost that much more, Nintendo managed to sell plenty of copies of Skyward Sword with a gold Wiimote included.
You can actually play all the way through with Dualshock 3.
Joe Anderson (Editor) 3 years ago
Well everyone I know including myself didn't have a Wii motion+ so that's why they bought it. I bought it cos it was a Collectors Edition & cos it is Zelda (Bit of a Zelda fanboy)
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
I know you can play it with the dualshock, I just think that they could have used the game to push move sales. And plenty of people did have motionplus SaiyanNox, it was bundled with Wii Sports Resort, which sold pretty well. But even if they were just buying it because they needed it or wanted it as a collectors item it didn't cost that much more with it, another tenner or something. So, they could sell this with move at a reasonable price and have used it to push move. Just seemed like a good opportunity to push a much underused bit of hardware.
Gloria 3 years ago
Beazi 3 years ago
Cool thanks for this Joe :) Will check it out
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
I will get this when I have a chance. I need my backlog to shrink a good bit first
s.c.g 3 years ago
Nice review, I could see myself picking this up... at some point.
0000000000 3 years ago
stuff like this makes me regret only owning a pc and xbox
Konakona 3 years ago
Great review Joe, really does sound good. Is the game in 3D or 2D? And also how many hours would you estimate for completion? Thanks!
About 4-6 hours. It's played from a First Person Perspective.
Joe Anderson (Editor) 3 years ago
Joe Anderson (Editor) 3 years ago
Probably nearer 4 to be fair.
Yeah everywhere I go everyone says its a short but sweet one. Still looks completely worth it
Shnoorum 3 years ago
IAIN 3 years ago
awesome i cant wait to buy this. although i need to finish joe danger 2 and hell yeah! first :) one problem i heard is that they drop the black canvas idea further in the game. is this true?
Joe Anderson (Editor) 3 years ago
Yeah that's true, though there are other twists.

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