Game of the week
This edition’s game of the week is a unique downloadable title for the PlayStation Network — The Unfinished Swan. I’m not even sure how to categorize it … perhaps first-person painting game will suffice. Anyone who has seen videos probably recognizes it as the visually astounding black-and-white game, but The Unfinished Swan can also be fun to play.
Throughout the course of the admittedly short game, the player shoots paint. Yep, that’s it. Okay, so the function of the paint changes depending on each level or environment, but the core formula stays this same. This leads to repetition, but I did marvel at a couple of late-game mechanics that reminded me of standout puzzle games like Portal. If only the entire game had revolved around them!
But where The Unfinished Swan really shines is in its fusion of visual spectacle — which does in fact feature bright colors — and the fairy tale-esque story that finds a boy escaping the emotional torment of his mother’s death by delving into a magical painting.
This week in news
Multiple reports this week indicate that Zynga — the casual gaming giant — has been hit by layoffs in three studios.
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus sent out a letter to employees indicating the closure of its Boston studio and massive cuts in Austin. Chicago is also believed to have suffered the same fate as Boston, though no official word has been given regarding the status of that studio. Zynga Boston was responsible for the Facebook game Adventure World, and Austin has been working on The Ville and Zynga Bingo.
Zynga has faced all kinds of bad publicity this year, including a drop in stocks after going public and insider trading lawsuits. Add this to the long list of issues now facing the company heading forward.
ANTHONY LABELLA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.