Juxtapoz @ E3 2012: Unlike anything you've seen before, Unfinished Swan

June 09, 2012


Nothingness is not a common theme you find in the gaming world. When hundreds of games are competing to be seen with hyper-color characters, dense environments, and action packed / bullet ridden sequences, nothingness can scream at you though. Especially when you uncover the brilliant game design hidden underneath the surface as you do in the title Unfinished Swan.


You are a young boy, who followed a swan into a unfinished magical realm. Whiteness engulfs you in totality. The only tool for navigation and exploration is balls of black paint, which you toss around at the world around you to uncover paths, obstacles, and the kingdom that surrounds you. Ruled by a king with neurotic characteristic, you can find yourself in rooms such as a statue room complete with statues of ducks, pigs, and of course the kings gigantic head. Flinging a sphere of paint forward to have it splatter at any depth in front of you is quiet a unique method of discovery.


At any moment you could be presented with a wall, a fountain, a body of water (which is recognizable because the paint forms a floating sphere opposed to splattering against a solid object),or a gate which opens due to the impact. Balloons floating in the air help to guide you, and let you know you are progressing forward. The story is carried on by pages torn from a storybook, which are highlighted by a Red drop cap at the start of the page, with the remainder of the page being unveiled as you assault it with paint. Too much paint flinging though, and the world may become unrecognizable, ruining your chances of navigating through it.


With a story reminding me of an alternate Alice in Wonderland tale, and a game play model all it's own, this was a welcomed breath of fresh air. The gaming world now resembles something akin to the Las Vegas strip, and while you may expect an all white game to feel like a padded room, this one feels more like a blank canvas does before taking the first brush stroke. —Nick Lattner / Juxtapoz Video Game Editor
Photos / Videos Nathan Smith