After finishing What Remains if Edith Finch, I was craving more so of course, we had to try The Unfinished Swan which was the first game by Giant Sparrow, released in 2012. While it seems to be loosely related, it is very different from Edith Finch. I have very strong opinions about this game, which seems to have been made for a very specific type of gamer and, in my opinion, is not great for viewing purposes. If you are hoping to avoid spoilers, feel free to click out now.
This game is so completely different then Edith Finch so if you start out with Edith Finch, know that the first game is played very differently. Gameplay for this game consists of starting in a completely white space and having to paint the world in order to do anything. This is my first point of contention with this game. You have to be very careful with how much you paint. It is possible to “over paint” the world, causing it to be difficult to decipher textures and where to go.
My next point of contention with this game is the story. While there is a story happening during this game, it is very basic at best, told in fairytale style. While Edith Finch has a very detailed story and a mystery which you are trying to solve, The Unfinished Swan has such a limited story and it is rather unimportant in the grand scheme of the game. This makes it less appealing from a viewer’s stance, as there is little for the viewer to participate in.
The only part that allows for audience participation is the collectibles in this game but even that had problems. Noticing the collectibles does not mean they are attainable at that time so pointing them out can actually distract from the gameplay and cause problems as the player loses their way in the world.
In all, the game is not narrative genius and leaves little in the way of audience participation. It is worth noting that I believe the purpose of the game was more of a visual spectacle and in that way, they were successful. The idea of painting the world around you is unique (only been done a few other times to my knowledge) and can be very beautiful at times. If you are looking for a work of art in video game form, I would highly recommend this game for that. I, however, was not a fan as I was hoping for more answers than we were given. I would have to give this game a 4/10 for armchair participation and enjoyability.