The Unfinished Swan is a game that was first shown at the 2009 Independent Games festival. In the first part of the game, the player begins in a space where everything is white. The game plays like a first-person shooter where the geometry of the level is revealed as ink is shot onto objects in the space. Some areas reveal messages such as "Don't be afraid" and "Please wake up."
Later mechanics include shooting drops of water onto the geometry to lead climbing vines around the walls, using light mechanics to stay safe and drawing geometry to create platforms that can than be used for platforming.
The game follows the adventures of a recently orphaned child as he chases his mother's unfinished artwork, a painting of a swan, through a strange world. While there he finds that the King of this land had trouble finishing his work, and ultimately gives up trying to create a city in order to start a family. The King becomes too focused on his work and his pregnant wife, the boy's mother, leaves him. The boy finds his father, the King, in an unfinished statue and the King gives him his silver brush. The boy returns to the orphanage and is able to finish his mother's painting of the swan.
The gameplay uses standard dual-analog or Playstation Move control from a first-person perspective to allow the player to move through the world - the move controller utilising the screen edge to look around. There are a number of gameplay mechanics introduced throughout the game, all with the theme of throwing globules of paint to interact with the world.
Initially, this is introduced as literal blank canvas in a white, blank world. The indelible black paint is the players only means of revealing the geometry and progressing through the first few levels, whereupon other colours are introduced.
The paint mechanic then turns to throwing water, the effect is now temporary, but can be used with numerous interactive elements in the form of paddles, controlling bridges, moving cranes and even dams.
The most prominent use of the water is in growing vines, creating a ladder mechanic to any surface in the game - horizontal or vertical - and allowing the player to scale towers or cross underneath bridges. Where the water splashes, the vines will leap out in growth to, it is only constrained by crevices featured where the vine mechanic is used, but the player is given relative freedom in their approach to a number of puzzles.
The later levels conversely are pitch black, where the player must stay in patches of light to stay safe. These can be created or expanded by hitting light sources, by pushing around a ball of light or by following it when rolling down a hill or through rivers and over waterfalls.
The final mechanic to be introduced uses the paint mechanic to create multicoloured cuboid objects upon any 'blueprint' surface. Where the first 2 paint globes land creates an X and Y bounding box, before using the final globe to adjust the depth. The boxes can also be manipulated and moved in certain circumstances.
The player can also collect balloons, which can then be used to buy "toys" which help the player by giving him more abilities to use in the game. Examples of which include a balloon radar, a sniper rifle, the ability to stop time momentarily for the paint globes as many others.