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Posted by on Jan 20, 2013

Review: The Unfinished Swan

Review: The Unfinished Swan

Title: The Unfinished Swan
Platform: PSN
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Tagline: Unravel the mysteries of a child’s story with paint and more
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
Verdict: Buy It Already

So here I sit, a few hours after I played through The Unfinished Swan, and I am still at a loss of words. Here was a game that two weeks ago, I had no intention of ever playing and now, I have my new PS3 game of the year title. How does a game come from the ether of my existence to becoming one of the best games I have played this year – well, let’s walk that journey.

At face value, my first surface look at The Unfinished Swan was a game that was similar in the vein of Epic Mickey, a game that was less than successful in my eyes. It was a game about shooting paint and uncovering the environment. But instead, The Unfinished Swan becomes a game about exploration and keeping you on your toes. It is a game of artistic beauty and craft. It is about one’s loss and their idea of remembering them. Sure, it may sound deep, and a bit pretentious, but it is a magical experience that needs to be experienced.


As you start in the shoes of Monroe, the boy looking for the ending of The Unfinished Swan, you are dropped into the world, which is so barren, you could be excused if you thought the game was broken. It does not give you any explaination, and you are lost until you first press that paint launching button.

“A wondrous and imaginative experience.”

From there, you are on a journey of uncovering a hidden landscape of castles, lakes and so much more. It never interrupts with music or explosions – it is all about finding your way through the world, all with your paint. Later, new mechanics are introduced, creating new experiences and exploration techniques, which helps keep The Unfinished Swan fresh. There is no score, no good or bad, as you are allowed to use as much or as little paint as you want to navigate the world at large.

At times, it is world that is wide open with large expanses that will require you to use a lot of paint to find your way around, and then there are parts where you will see beady red eyes staring from the depths of a dark shadow, a menace devised by a childs imagination. But no matter where I was, it was a unique experience that enthralled my imagination and creative spark.


While the Unfinished Swan is short, and some might not enjoy its unconventional gameplay, I found it to be a title that was leaps and bounds beyond my expectations. It took a premise that is simple and turns it into a wondrous and imaginative experience. It may not be for everyone, but I was heartily surprised by the amount of gameplay and fun that was packed into The Unfinished Swan.

Artistic Masterpiece

  • Fun story using a creative mechanic
  • New game mechanics change the game at timely intervals
  • The world design is unraveled via your imagination


  • It is a bit short
  • It might be a bit sparse for some to put their head around

Family Focus
The Unfinished Swan is safe for family members of all ages. Younger kids might have some trouble wrapping their head around the world and navigating by painting, but also because of the story underlying the game – a son missing his mother after her passing.

[NOTE: This game has been provided by a company for the purposes of a review. All opinions expressed belong solely to the author, and has not been endorsed by any major studio or publisher.

Joseph Haygood

When not writing news and reviews for GGS Gamer, or hosting the truly terrible You Like the Worst Stuff podcast, I am actively seeking an on-call arch-nemesis.

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