Tuesday, March 20

Review: Swim Out [Nintendo Switch eShop]

When dealing with a well-known genre and mechanics that aren’t revolutionary the key to success can be effective theming. Presentation can help to take the ordinary and elevate it, helping gloss over the familiar a bit. In the case of Swim Out the idea is to transport you to a sunny locale to take a hearty swim, trying to generally get from one side of a body of water to the other without bumping into any of your fellow aquatic adventurers and dodging an occasional obstacle. The result is a solid, though perhaps a bit generic, puzzler.

Since it’s a puzzle game, and your goal is to merely get from here to there, the challenge is created by what’s in your way through 7 chapters and over 100 levels. By using the varying patterns of a wide variety swimmers, an eventual collection of aquatic creatures, a random kayaker and more, your objective is to figure out how to weave through everything without colliding with anyone. For variety there are sometimes additional objectives to lure you out to a different area and increase difficulty or an odd beach ball, goggles, or floatie (among other objects) you can then use to your advantage (or sometimes to your forced disadvantage) to create an opportunity for yourself.

The slow and steady progression in difficulty is managed well and typically new swimmer or obstacle types are introduced in a less threatening manner at first so you understand them before the challenges involving them are dialed up. Some levels involve multiple areas, and eventually you may need to move back a few pools to collect an item you’ll need to advance. In general patience and a willingness to accept what isn’t working and trying a different path or approach is effective to resolving issues.

In most respects there’s nothing really holding things back aside from perhaps it being a bit too safe and traditional. While many variations are thrown at you in the end it all boils down to seeing the patterns in front of you and breaking down how to either conform to or disrupt them to the point that you can get through. That’s not to say some levels aren’t demanding but the whole experience plays it a bit safe. If you love a good puzzle game and the theme appeals to you while the air is frigid outside it delivers a good value just keep your expectations in check and you should have a good time with it.

Score: 7.5

  • A fair amount of variety and steadily-increasing challenge spanning over 100 levels
  • New elements every few stages helps to keep things a little more interesting
  • Well-themed and presented attractively

  • Perhaps a bit too traditional and safe for its own good
  • The majority of challenges you face will likely feel familiar on a general level