Generally favorable reviews - based on 66 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 66
  2. Negative: 0 out of 66
  1. 100
    There are very few games which are able to buck trends with aplomb and do it this gracefully. Pick it up when you can and give it the time it deserves.
  2. Oct 15, 2012
    The word unique gets thrown around a lot in gaming, but The Unfinished Swan is truly unique, an experience not to be missed. It will show you that games don't need combat to be engaging, and they don't need color to strike a chord with your imagination. Simply put, this is one of the best games of the year, and my very favorite gaming experience of 2012.
  3. Oct 15, 2012
    A must-play for any PlayStation owner, The Unfinished Swan is a short but brilliant exercise in broadening perception, and utilizing simplicity.
  4. Oct 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is the second generation-defining downloadable from Sony in eight months. Giant Sparrow's debut is a confident, creative tour-de-force – and it's one of the most imaginative adventures you'll ever play.
  5. Oct 22, 2012
    The first truly brilliant PSN game since Journey blew everyone's mind last year. A unique experience you won't forget any time soon.
  6. Oct 15, 2012
    The latest in an outstanding crop of indie art games that we've seen this generation, The Unfinished Swan lives up to that legacy and provides yet another sublime experience that transcends the usual confines of video games.
  7. Oct 22, 2012
    If you're a sucker for artsy indie games that tell an interesting story and feature unique gameplay, then you'll certainly love The Unfinished Swan. If you're not quite sure what you're getting in to, than wait for the demo or check out the trailer at the very least. Either way, The Unfinished Swan is a PSN game worthy of your attention.
  8. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Nov 30, 2012
    Surreal creation brings a unique experience to gamers and presents itself as a carefully polished precious stone. [Dec 2012]
  9. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Nov 20, 2012
    Absolutely enchanting from start-to-finish, Swan is a real treat and a prime example of why bigger isn't always better. [Holiday 2012, p.77]
  10. Pelit (Finland)
    Nov 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is more than just black and white. The Unfinished Swan is simply a fantastic fairytale adventure. [Nov 2012]
  11. Hyper Magazine
    Nov 14, 2012
    Succinct, smart, tight, fresh, mature and beautiful. One of the year's standout titles. [Dec 2012]
  12. Nov 10, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is best seen as an interactive bedtime story. There are no enemies to kill, the threats to Monroe's safety are few and far between and there's nothing too taxing to figure out, but that's not what this title is all about. If you sometimes tire of the triple A titles and enjoy seeing what else the medium of games can offer, or you have enjoyed creations like Journey over the past few years, then Unfinished Swan should be on your list of games to purchase.
  13. Oct 22, 2012
    There's a reason you'll finish it in a day: because you won't be able to tear yourself away.
  14. Oct 18, 2012
    I loved The Unfinished Swan. It's the sort of experience that requires us to further refine the definition of the term "video game." While there are certainly elements of play here, I don't think that Swan qualifies as such. Instead, it slides in along the likes of Goodnight Moon and the Shel Silverstein library as the latest modern classic in the realm of children's fiction.
  15. Oct 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is one of the best titles available for PS3, with its minimalistic graphics and its sublime soundtrack. Do we have finally a good reason to buy a Move controller? Yes, indeed!
  16. Oct 15, 2012
    Just like a bed time story, The Unfinished Swan guides us into an experience so powerful yet delicate that is easy to be surprised every time we are in a new level. Visuals and score mixed together with core mechanics that change every chapter and deliver us one of the must have indies of the year, and a black & white prologue inked with golden touches that must be played to believe it.
  17. 90
    The Unfinished Swan is a fairy tale told beautifully through the cooperative effort of the game's graphics, sound, and intuitive gameplay. Polished beyond belief, its hard to believe that this Picasso is going for a PSN price.
  18. Oct 15, 2012
    Tragic, powerful and thought-provoking, but also intelligent, witty and beautiful - Giant Sparrow's debut is begging to be played.
  19. Oct 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is short and the challenges you face in the two-hour game aren't all that challenging -- but they don't need to be. This is a storybook for you to open up and get lost in.
  20. Oct 17, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is a treat for the senses, with thoughtful music and a poignant, elegant, and ever-so-slightly enigmatic story with tinges of the bittersweet, as well as humor and hope. This is the sort of game that offers up that rare spark of ingenuity that manages to thread both its form and function between narrative, aesthetics, and game design.
  21. Oct 15, 2012
    Giant Sparrow delivers one of the most unique games of the year. Sadly, The Unfinished Swan is a little too easy for its own good. Players can easily blow through the game in a couple hours. Still, the game's story is strong enough to keep you engaged from beginning to end. You've never seen anything like The Unfinished Swan before!
  22. Oct 27, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is not a common game but definitely a work of art. A pearl of game and visual design that no one must leave behind.
  23. Oct 25, 2012
    You'll quickly forget about the short length of The Unfinished Swan when you step into the wonderful world of the game. It is an imaginative journey where the level design surprises you time after time.
  24. Oct 15, 2012
    It is astounding to me that such a small team can create a game that is as moving and inspiring as The Unfinished Swan. It is the kind of game that big game studios won't make, to their loss.
  25. Oct 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan delivers an original, enjoyable, even touching experience.
  26. PSM3 Magazine UK
    Nov 26, 2012
    Unlike anything else out there: beautiful and inventive. [Christmas 2012, p.100]
  27. Oct 22, 2012
    While the talented (and surprisingly small) team of developers at Giant Sparrow deserve immense credit for their efforts here, I think Sony also deserve a pat on the back for publishing unique art-house titles like this.
  28. Nov 6, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan isn't exactly a masterpiece, but at least it aspires to mastery. There are few titles that take such obvious risks and attempt to give an increasingly mainstream population of gamers an inspired, original adventure.
  29. Oct 18, 2012
    Instead of a game, The Unfinished Swan is an experience… which will be enjoyed for most users but left apart by some others.
  30. Oct 17, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is a wonderful experience that drew me into its world and never lets go. I am still thinking about it long after finishing it, and that says a lot. The impact it leaves is memorable, and it will go down as one of the most unique experiences I have had this year. I recommend anyone who enjoys stepping outside the box of traditional gaming give it a chance. You will be surprised just how much it sticks with you long after the credits roll.
  31. Oct 15, 2012
    An original, ingenious, fantastic and exciting experience. Pity for the very short duration.
  32. 85
    The Unfinished Swan is a storybook, more endearing and entertaining than those old picture books. If you've got a child, or still know how to get ahold of your inner child, there's a lot to love.
  33. Games Master UK
    Nov 25, 2012
    Charming, beautiful and fresh; like playing through your favourite bedtime story. [Christmas 2012, p.88]
  34. Oct 15, 2012
    A beautiful, intense but short surprise. A great experience anybody interested in games should buy, taking into account that its opening sequence feels way better than the rest of the gameplay, and that most players will only go through the story once, that is 4-5 hours tops.
  35. 80
    The Unfinished Swan is a great experience for the growing audience that appreciates this kind of video game.
  36. Oct 30, 2012
    Dreamlike and brilliantly white, until you give the world color. The Unfinished Swan is visually breathtaking and the story it tells, presented as a children's tale, invites to reflection.
  37. Oct 19, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is entirely satisfied with being extremely interesting and lovely, rather than being the sort of larger, more crucial experience it occasionally seems like it might turn into. Its greatest ambitions are met with just enough enthusiasm and creativity to assure a fantastic experience, though, one worth pondering on just as much as it's worth playing.
  38. Oct 18, 2012
    Unique and colorful. But it leaves you wanting for more.
  39. Oct 17, 2012
    A game about life, about growing up, about discovering yourself and many other things. It depends on each player, which makes it even more intriguing.
  40. Oct 15, 2012
    While some could rightly criticize The Unfinished Swan for what it is lacking, sometimes an empty space can still speak volumes. Just spray a dash of paint, and you may see that it isn't all that empty after all.
  41. Oct 15, 2012
    Some may find issue with its two- to three-hour length, while others may find its focus on discovery to be boring. But there's a lot to be found in that world made of invisible ink, and for those willing to experiment and approach it with an open mind, the act of uncovering it all is an exciting experience--even if you do have to get your hands dirty with a little paint in the process.
  42. Oct 15, 2012
    The power of The Unfinished Swan – not unlike a Terry Gilliam film, coincidentally – lies in its engagement with our imagination, in its ability to remind us of that capacity for whimsy and fantasy. If your life could use a little less logic and a little more fascination, The Unfinished Swan should not be missed.
  43. Oct 15, 2012
    Similar to Journey, The Unfinished Swan is brief, visually stunning, and more focused on the experience than with testing combat skills or platforming prowess. Some collectibles are available in the form of hidden balloons and storybook pages, which might bring completionists back for additional playthroughs. While I feel that the overall experience didn't impact me as much as Journey, and won't stay with me as long, it still has plenty of unique ideas to offer.
  44. Play UK
    Nov 30, 2012
    A brief, sweet experience made all the better by its unique presentation and interesting mechanics. [Issue#225, p.82]
  45. Oct 19, 2012
    This is a fascinating experiment with great ideas. Unfortunately story and game get lost in a superficial void.
  46. Official PlayStation Magazine Benelux
    Nov 12, 2012
    Ian Dallas himself emphasized that exploration and discovery are the core themes of The Unfinished Swan. So it's a bit unfortunate that only the first level truly embraces this concept, where you're confronted with nothing except for an endless blank space. [November 2012, p.76]
  47. Oct 23, 2012
    It's hard to give any notation to The Unfinished Swan, as it's another arty conceptual game from Sony Studios, with terrific ideas of gameplay. Unfortunately, those good features aren't going any further and you will probably finish it in about three hours. Some of you won't be interested in paying for such a short game, especially if you aren't of the poetic kind. For the others, it's an experience that deserved to be played.
  48. Oct 15, 2012
    If it had expanded the latter half of the adventure more and focused less on the plant puzzles, it would have been near-perfect.
  49. Aug 23, 2013
    The Unfinished Swan is a creative experiment that’s worth a play, even if some aspects feel incomplete.
  50. Dec 10, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is a beautifully crafted, unconventional, sophisticated and provocative game denying the gameplay stereotype by a constant surprising of a gamer. The game is resisting to deplete all of its interesting themes in quite possibly the most annoying way - it ends itself in the middle of the road, at the place where the gamer is willing to submit to it completely.
  51. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Nov 9, 2012
    Yeah, the puzzles are moderately difficult, and (we think) the levels are linear, but there's simply no denying childlike wonder Unfinished Swan engenders, nor the indelible mark it leaves upon your heart. [December 2012, p70]
  52. Oct 24, 2012
    More a missed opportunity than anything else, The Unfinished Swan is a pleasant fairytale story with a some good ideas and one or two magic moments. In the end though it is easy to come away with the feeling that this was a brief and very linear experience that just hinted at something that could have been truly great.
  53. Oct 22, 2012
    Where Giant Sparrow's narrative vision is clearly focused, The Unfinished Swan's gameplay deviates rather rapidly from that opening castle of wonder.
  54. The Unfinished Swan deserves high praise for being inventive, unique and absolutely beautiful. But this shouldn't obscure the fact that these things apply more to the look and the core mechanic than the gameplay and how said mechanic meaningfully develops. The engagement with the narrative and characters isn't on a par with that of the top titles in a similar vein, and there's a lingering sense of what might have been.
  55. Oct 20, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan tries to touch the player with a special aesthetic and a unique gameplay concept, but it only succeeds on an average level. It loses itself too much in trying to be something special and never really grabs the player because of it. It lacks unity and continuity and therefore doesn't let its beautiful mold settle, which leaves the game with a pretty aura, instead of a soul.
  56. Dec 4, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan isn't without its charms, and there were moments in the abandoned city, with the vines overgrowing walls and bridges in all directions, that I almost loved it. However, in its very short runtime The Unfinished Swan introduces too many different ideas and doesn't sufficiently explore or refine any of them-not even the bad ones. That might suit the theme, but it makes for a game that feels frustratingly incomplete.
  57. CD-Action
    Nov 29, 2012
    More of an artistic experiment than a real game. Its visuals are beautiful and it offers various gameplay mechanics but none of them is particularly engaging. [CD-Action 13/2012, p.67]
  58. Oct 17, 2012
    If The Unfinished Swan didn't do such a marvellous job of tantalising players with its patiently evolving visual signature, it would be easier to sense the messy whiteboard of ideas churning beneath the surface. It's not that the game feels unfinished, just ungainly.
  59. Oct 16, 2012
    It's a shame that in the end, it's quite apparent that this project started as a tech-demo. As much as the bitter-sweet music and the story of an orphaned boy, his dead mother and a king that never seems to finish what he started try to get an emotional reaction out of you, it always stays a mess of themes and symbolism. If it had something to say, the message somehow got lost under a heap of its own metaphors. If your heart burns mainly for artistic visuals, though, this graphically visionary little game has a lot to offer.
  60. Oct 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is a nice tale, nicely polished and visually interesting, but the build-up of the story takes too much time for such a short experience, and setting aside the last minutes of play, there isn't really any smart or neat gameplay ideas; others were able to give a more powerful story or experience before it, and it shows.
  61. Oct 15, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan is gentle and beguiling, but also thematically patchy and insecure in its own merits, choosing to constantly introduce less interesting new gameplay systems rather than fully explore any single motif.
  62. Oct 15, 2012
    As it is, though, The Unfinished Swan is little more than a pretty picture.
  63. Oct 30, 2012
    The Unfinished Swan might be a very arty game. It's not a Van Gogh by a long shot. The gameplay stays the same throughout the game, and that's just plain boring. A big thumbs up for the idea, it just lacks a finishing touch, the hand of a master painter, so to say.
  64. Oct 22, 2012
    In fairness, the fairytale nature of The Unfinished Swan's story strongly suggests that this is a game aimed at a younger audience, and when considered in that light, it does well to introduce the basics of the puzzle genre at a level that children will easily pick up. Unlike the best children's stories, however, there isn't much going on beneath the surface, and those intrigued by the game's unique premise will be left wishing there was more to it than just a few clever ideas.
  65. Oct 17, 2012
    Not a very satisfying or enjoyable video game to play, but still a fascinating one to experience – with some beautifully stark imagery and ideas.
  66. Oct 16, 2012
    Beautiful visuals, clever ideas and a pleasant story can't make up for a shallow and overly linear gameplay. Condensed in an experience that lasts about an hour and a half, The Unfinished Swan can't show its true potential nor can it satisfy the player. We really wish things were different, but you can go ahead and ignore what could otherwise have been an indie masterpiece.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 114
  2. Negative: 9 out of 114
  1. May 28, 2014
    While I give Unfinished swan credit for being something refreshingly different, it also seems to rub that point in a bit too much. The gameWhile I give Unfinished swan credit for being something refreshingly different, it also seems to rub that point in a bit too much. The game seems to be trying too hard to be artsy to the point that you are not sure if you should be playing with it or just looking at it..

    But, once the novelty wears off, the game does feel a bit barren and very basic. The art style is pretty, and the story cute, kind of like a kids story book. But, like kid's storybook it gets a little dull after a while.

    Unfinished Swan is clearly a milestone in gaming opening up many future possibilities, but it is also just the beginning and requires a bit more substance to make it more than it is.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 28, 2013
    The Unfinished swan had plenty of potential and after Journey, big things were expected of it. Unfortunately, The Unfinished swan is tooThe Unfinished swan had plenty of potential and after Journey, big things were expected of it. Unfortunately, The Unfinished swan is too pompous. It's like a videogame art snob waving it's arms around and crying "Look at me! I'm an artistic masterwork!" Whilst it doe gets kudos for presenting an interesting idea and a nice visual aesthetic, it ultimately fails because it's gameplay is duller than dishwater. Do not be fooled. This is not a worthy successor to Journey. Full Review »
  3. Nov 6, 2012
    A good but not great game. It has some very creative ideas but it doesn't do alot with them.The story has some charm but it doesn't really goA good but not great game. It has some very creative ideas but it doesn't do alot with them.The story has some charm but it doesn't really go anywhere. It can be very pretty sometimes and it it's very unique but it just seemed to be missing that extra something that would have made it great. It's also over before you know it without that much reason to go back. Not a bad game but I would have felt much better paying $10 or less for it. Full Review »