The Unfinished Swan is played from a first person perspective, with an on-screen indicator showing where you can throw balls of black paint. When the paint splats on the white canvas it reveals shapes and parts of the environment around you, thereby uncovering the way forward as well as any puzzles. You can also use the PlayStation Move motion controller to lob the paint with a deft flick of the wrist.
Later stages mix things up and keep the gameplay fresh. On one occasion your paint is replaced by water, which you use to entice vines so that you can climb them. In another puzzle you paint and stretch items in one reality so that you can use them in another reality to reach previously inaccessible areas. Plus enemies such as spiders are introduced, where you must splat lanterns to light the path in order to keep them at bay.
Helpful golden swan footprints are there to guide you through the landscapes. There are also no restrictions on how many balls of paint can be thrown, and you simply aim and fire to do so, leaving you free to explore the world and soak up the beautiful yet melancholy environments.