Fortunately, Survival Mode turned out to be more interesting. It may seem simple, and it does get a bit repetitive, but it manages to engage your interest on different levels. First you just try to stay alive. Then, you start to notice the little mini-missions that give you some goals to carry out. Then, you start to explore more of the world. Then, you start to get hooked in by 'evolving'. If you complete a particular mission as a dog, then you can come back next time as a dog, and then a wolf, and then a lion, and so on. With more competent animals, you get to see more of the world.
I can imagine getting tired of this before the end, because it does get monotonous at points, but I stuck it out the end. Making the game a super value on the time enjoyably wasted per dollar scale. It was a major title in Japan, but the US port is just $15.
Coincidentally, The Unfinished Swan is also $15, but it's a much faster sprint through to the end. A much kinder, gentler experience, you go about tossing blobs of liquid from your magic paintbrush into a strange world. With such a limited idea, they do manage to squeeze out a number of interesting changes that make it a fun, but not particularly challenging, puzzle. You start off in a world completely white, and the blobs of black ink stain the territory so you can actually see it, and start moving around in your new Jackson Pollocky world. Later, you can see the world, and find new ways to interact. I enjoyed it, especially a few nice details here and there, but I wasn't wowed.