Imagine a maze where the exit is clearly visible from the start. But as you begin to navigate your way towards it, the walls start moving with you. Swim Out brings this maze concept to swimming pools, rivers, and additional watery surfaces, with other swimmers, fish, and more serving as the walls. While momentum flounders if played in long stretches due to similarity, Swim Out fits short play sessions especially well for some good, clear-cut, puzzle fun.

With 100-plus levels, Swim Out has pretty good content for its low $5.99 price, even if it is still more than the mobile version. Early levels will likely be bested quite quickly, but the later ones can provide a real challenge. Bump into an obstacle, even once, and you’ll have to start again as there is no undo button. This provides some real potential for annoyance, but developer Lozange Lab has implemented a couple of key features that prove very beneficial.

The first is the use of checkpoints. Single-screen puzzles will soon give way to large multi affairs, and it’s a relief to know that failure in these cases only starts you back at the beginning point of whatever screen you happen to be on. The second key feature is the non-linear design. Getting stuck on a puzzle is much less frustrating when you can simply move to another one, or even an entirely different chapter. Kudos for these thoughtful inclusions.

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Swim Out has a definite style, even if the animations don’t have much pizzazz. The swimmers move with a stiffness I’d liken to an early first-person dungeon crawler. But the mid-century look and pastel color scheme have their appeal. The sparse oriental-sounding music doesn’t seem to fit the visuals, but I just ended up just muting it and listening to the environmental sound effects.

Pacing issues notwithstanding, Swim Out succeeds when played for a few minutes here and there. It’s non-linear nature (and lack of a timer) allows you to take your time with each puzzle, and easily move on to another. Puzzle enthusiasts will get a good Nintendo Switch game at a fair price, one that will exercise their brains. Just make sure to wait 30 minutes after eating before playing.

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