The video game as art has been a topic of conversation in gaming circles for several years now, and The Unfinished Swan injects itself into the debate both literally and metaphorically.
You play as Monroe, who keeps a painting of an unfinished swan that his recently deceased mother painted. As the game unfolds in a series of stark white levels, you use the controller to fling paint splotches all over the place. The paint slowly reveals the design, and along with the swan (which acts as a pseudo guide to each mission), you partake in solving puzzle after puzzle. The game unfolds like an extended fairy tale, so discovering pages to the story is crucial to progressing.
Other successful puzzle games have used the contrast of whites, blacks and grays to amazing success, but Swan doesn't quite reach those heights. Too often you may be left thinking, "Yeah, but why?" because, other than uncovering these pages, there isn't much to enjoy.
The game is rich with moving music, and the act of discovery as a gameplay element feels novel until it fails to reach a proper crescendo and thus feels monotonous.
Younger gamers with a thirst for discovery may take to this game with gusto, while veteran players may wonder what all the fuss is about.
RATING E for Everyone
PLOT A puzzler where you chase after a swan
DETAILS PlayStation 3, $15
BOTTOM LINE More for younger gamers