Giant Sparrow’s Swan Song

The Unfinished Swan

PSN Exclusive

Games for download only are quickly becoming popular but haven’t been taken very seriously. Often these run as episodes that aren’t released on time or are filled with bugs. But every so often a downloadable game shows that they are capable of unique premises and quality gaming.

The Unfinished Swan takes a peculiar concept and invents a twisting puzzle game. A young boy’s mother dies and all he is left of her is her unfinished paintings. One day his favorite one, a swan, comes alive and goes missing. In his search for the swan he is taken in the blank canvas with only his mother’s paint brush to survive with. The boy must move through the painting’s worlds to find out the true story about his family.

This puzzle game arms players with a paint brush or garden hose depending on the chapter. At some points you must paint the scene to finish building it or make vines in the garden grow to find a new path. The outside of the box thinking is reminiscent of Portal. Players must manipulate their surroundings to get to their destination. More than just splattering paint, players must navigate dark areas and house building to reach the missing swan. These challenges flex the game play of a game that could potentially be boring.

The Playstation version is programmed for a regular control as well as the Move Controller. But the mechanics of the Move are sloppy, and it is hard for players to aim the camera in functional manner. Switching to the regular control makes the game easier and manageable. Unlike many downloadables, I didn’t run into constant bugs or issues with game play.

The game is rather short, and I blew through the five chapters easily. While there are balloon collectables, replay values is not high after a completion. Like Portal, a player has to give themselves enough time to forget the solution in order to get that puzzle solving high.

While not high on story, the unique game play and thought put into the game is a refreshing foray in a world of shooters and survivor horrors games. Giant Sparrow proves that the public loves a game that makes them think outside the box.

Airtight Games Puts Players in a Frustrating Conundrum


Quantum Conundrum available on PC, PSN & XBLA


I absolutely love the Portal Series. I love using my brain to figure out the puzzles and enjoyed the wit of the villains. Quantum Conundrum tries to mimic this in its set up. QC has the same first person views, rooms modeled like test chambers, and a disembodied voice guiding you through the process. But most similarities end there. Swapping sci-fi for a fun cartoon look, QC delivers a good atmosphere that is destroyed by the game play.

QC is about a young boy who has been dropped off at his uncle’s mansion. His uncle is an eccentric scientist who narrates you through his immense estate granting you use of some of his experiments. Your goal is to restore power to the house and find your uncle with the aid of a dimension altering glove. You can make things fluffy and light or heavy, slow down time or invert gravity. But certain areas only allow you to use certain dimensions. Your task is to use the various dimensions, figure out puzzles, and platform your way to the house’s generators.

Giving the game the moniker of a puzzle game is actually misleading. While there are some elements of puzzle gaming, QC is more a platform game than a puzzle one. Players use the four dimensions to finds ways to throw, jump, and dodge obstacles to complete their task. The plat forming is grueling taking a precise timing and angles. The game play mechanics are too clunky to achieve these requirements and even veteran platforms spend their time doing the same obstacle over and over and over again.

A prime example of how a puzzle quickly descending into a plat forming nightmare: furniture stacking. In one area, players must figure out how to reach a platform to get to one of the game’s collectables. The solution is actually simple but stacking the furniture and jumping up them is clunky and due to the controls aren’t very precise and you’re left rearranging and jumping for a frustrating amount of time.

The games offer some replay values with challenges and collectables, but the game play deters from retrying levels. There are plans for two more sets of downloadable content, and unless the game play is some how made more user friendly, the frustration wouldn’t be worth the money spent.