FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Game Review: The Unfinished Swan

By Damian Seeto
Fri 26 Oct 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

With the plethora of first-person and third-person shooting games available on the market today, some people might think original gaming ideas are dying.

Thankfully though, there are a number of unique games that have been released digitally on the PSN and XBLA.

Thatgamecompany’s Journey proved to be popular when it was released on the PSN earlier this year but can The Unfinished Swan replicate the same type of success that Journey received?

The Unfinished Swan starts off telling you a story like in a children’s picture book. You play the role of an orphan by the name of Munroe who seeks a swan that has escaped its painting. It’s your role as Munroe to search for the swan as it enters a world that is devoid of any colour.

The game starts off in a very unique way as the screen is all white at the beginning. I wasn’t sure if the game froze on me or what but the bright white screen was frightening to me at first.

That is until I decided to press the R1 button and Munroe started to blotch a bunch of black paint everywhere. The black paint started to paint a picture (no pun intended) of the world and I started to get an idea of what to do after that.

The more paint I sprayed onto the screen, the easier it was to navigate and the more this unique world started to reveal itself.

At first, I thought the game was very odd and quite boring as I wasn’t sure what the point of the game was about. I became disorientated at first because if I painted too much black paint, it was hard to see where I needed to go to next.

But after I got used to the game’s unique gameplay mechanics, I started to appreciate the game design and artwork that has been put into this unorthodox title.

The first level was arguably the most disorientating because you had to paint the world first to see where you needed to go. It wasn’t until I reached the second level that I realized there was a whole Kingdom for you to explore.

The King’s castle was painted all grey and Munroe was now armed with a blue paint/water pistol instead. To me, the game opened up from then on and I became fully immersed into this weird yet wonderful fantasy world that developer Giant Sparrow has created.

I couldn’t help but notice that there are some similarities between The Unfinished Swan and Portal in some ways. Both are first-person video games that both have several puzzle-solving elements.

For example, there was a moment I thought I was stuck because the door I came through was shut and there was no way I could move forward or backward.

I decided to spray water onto a vine and then it started to grow all over the walls. Upon approaching the vines, I was able to climb out of the hole I was stuck in.

It’s discoveries like this that make The Unfinished Swan such a charming game to play. Not only does the animation look artistically beautiful, the game design and mechanics is unique as well. I feel more modern games “hand-hold” you through each levels too often as there’s always a waypoint telling you where to go all of the time.

The Unfinished Swan allows you to explore each level by yourself and forces the player to solve puzzles on their own rather than blatantly giving you clues all of the time…

For those who own a PlayStation Move controller, playing The Unfinished Swan is a fun experience. I felt like an artist splotching paint all over the place with a brush while playing on the Move.

The only downside to playing on the Move is that it gets a bit tiring to use after a while because you constantly have to keep you hand up. I ended up playing back on the controller instead after the first hour.

My only problem with the game is its replay value. Once you play through the game’s short 4 hour story, there’s not much incentive for you to play the game again unless you want to search for all of the balloons that are littered throughout the game.

This wouldn’t be too much of a problem but the game costs $NZD24.95 on the PSN. A bit expensive for a game that only offers a few hours of gameplay and not other extra game modes.

As aforementioned, there are balloons that you have to search for in each of the levels in this game. The more balloons you find, the greater your rewards will be.

One of the end rewards for finding all of the balloons is that you can use a hose. This hose is great because you can spray paint/water more quickly. It definitely made playing the game a lot easier when using the hose. There is also artwork and other abilities you can unlock too if you are able to find enough balloons.

Much like other artistic PSN games such as Flower and Journey, The Unfinished Swan is a unique gaming experience like no other. It has a charming story and the art-style graphics are impressively animated.

The only thing that I did not like about the game was that it was too short considering how much the game is on the PSN. Still, it’s a refreshing experience and a nice change of pace from playing all of the fighting/shooting games that frequent the video game market today…

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Gaming
PNY launches XLR8 Gaming EPIX memory products in A/NZ
PNY has launched its XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X RGB™ DDR4 Silver 3200MHz and 3600MHz memory products in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Music
Hands-on review: JBL Partybox 110 Bluetooth speaker
My first review in a long time is sure to create a lot of noise, if the experience in my household has been anything to go by.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Xbox Series X)
The Lego Star Wars games have always been popular with both kids and adults as they are a cute way to relive the famous movies.
Story image
Sustainability
Can bots succeed where humans have failed in sustainability?
People want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed.  
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook A/NZ announces new Portégé X40L-K hyperlight laptop
Dynabook A/NZ has unveiled the all-new Portégé X40L-K, a hyperlight 14.0" modern laptop utilising cutting-edge, high-performance computing power.
Story image
Online shopping
A/NZ shoppers plan to spend less, be more selective
For retailers, 2022 is set to be a year of introspection as shoppers across Australia and New Zealand indicate they plan to spend less.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Malware
Vulnerabilities in Lenovo laptops expose users to UEFI malware
Researchers at ESET have discovered three vulnerabilities affecting various Lenovo consumer laptop models.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands (PC)
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a spin-off that joins Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Borderlands 3, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Ghostwire Tokyo (PS5)
Although a bit of a tonal departure for Bethesda, Ghostwire Toyko is a good-looking and eerie action game that is aimed at a very select audience.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: GoPro Hero 10
I have a long history with GoPro; I still remember getting my first camera when I was 16, using it to film Parkour and the day I lost it down a dingey crag. 
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.
Story image
NFT
Emirates to launch NFTs and experiences in the metaverse
"Emirates has embraced advanced technologies to improve business processes, enhance our customer offering, and enrich our employees' skills and experiences."
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
Gaming
Study reveals Minecraft the hardest mobile game ever
According to a study by Mozillion, Minecraft: Pocket Edition tops the list as both the most searched for game and the one players need help with and try to cheat the most.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant spike in consumer fraud, new report finds
Reported cases of consumer fraud more than tripled in the years 2020-2021 from prior years, according to a new report by Accenture.
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Weird West (PlayStation 4)
There have been many games released over the years based on the wild west era, but Weird West is one of the most unique.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
E-waste
NZ’s first and only e-waste sorting machine launched
Computer Recycling launches e-waste shredder and MSS optical sorting machine BLUBOX, which is able to sort out a tonne of e-waste per hour
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Gaming
Game review: MLB The Show 22 (PS5)
Historically the MLB The Show series has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles, but now the franchise is expanding.
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Tell-tale hints before volcanic eruptions found using AI
Researchers have pinpointed precursors to volcanic eruptions, in data collected before explosions including the deadly 2019 Whakaari surge that killed 22 people.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.