When looking for puzzle games, you have two types - one that has straight puzzles, minimalism, and others that have stories, puzzles that are presented along with the world, showing you around. The Unfinished Swan is the latter type of puzzle game, providing a beautiful world to explore at your own pace, with small puzzles dotted around.
Play as a little boy called Monroe who has lost his mother. She used to paint beautiful pictures, but none of them ever got finished. When she died, Monroe got to choose one painting to take with him to the orphanage - and that was the painting of the Unfinished Swan. You’ve suddenly woken up and found that the swan is missing - and thus been brought into this world to try and find them.
Following the swan through this whimsical world is something I have enjoyed doing. At first, the world is completely white, but you are able to throw paint splotches to see what is around you. These splotches do stay where you end up painting, defining a world. Soon, however, you can start to see a few different things; gold swan footprints, gold accents to the world and large letters, that can then be painted to reveal a story.
The story is beautifully narrated, telling you about why the world is white and introducing the next areas, as you move through the story. After you get through the all white world, you will end up in a world with shadows and then a world fully in color. These worlds do still have puzzles - paddles that need to be shot at, strange areas that need to be moved towards and balloons to collect.
These balloons are optional and can be used to purchase toys on the main menu, but what really drew me into the game and kept me playing was these story pages, telling me about a king who didn’t want to give the world color. This story didn’t have anything to do with Monroe and his life, but instead felt like a new fairytale, which was lovely to follow and explore. I spent time trying to make sure I found all of the pages in the level, in case there was a bit of story I might have missed. These were more enticing then the balloons for me - but I have never been one to collect them all.
The Unfinished Swan is a beautiful game, telling a lovely fairytale story through a massive world with puzzles - all through the eye of a young boy who has fallen on bad times. The goose leading you forward in this story is well worth chasing and following through these new worlds.