Friday, December 21, 2012

The Unfinished Swan: feet

The Unfinished Swan is an experimental game, in a number of ways.  It's an experiment on the part of the developer, who have included a number of different gameplay mechanics from the first level onwards.  It's an experiment in terms of playing it - it requires the player to try and work out controls and where they are, with no instructions other than a brief story.  It's an experiment on the part of Sony, who are increasing the exposure of more artistic games such as this and Journey.

Warning: if you want to play this game yourself (and I recommend you do) I recommend reading no further.

It's a successful experiment.  I've played only the first part so far, navigating through a white maze and outdoors, to find the first part of the story explaining why everything's all white.  I've done it twice, in fact, since the first time I turned the console off without realising it hadn't saved.  I did the whole level in a tenth of the time the second time around.

Not being able to see where you are is really disorienting.  Using white as the background colour works really well, as it is not overly ominous and foreboding, but means that the black paint has a very clear contrast.  Immediately after I found the painting button, I had a tendancy to paint too much - making everything black-on-black - but by the time I made it out of the room, I was scaling back my overuse.

The odd little bits of colour - the unicorn's horn, the ring, the hen's feet - added to the atmosphere, and I enjoyed painting the statues to work out what the garden held.  I'd really like to be able to see the first level coloured in at a later point, but for now I've enjoyed going through it twice and imagining what I can't see.

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