There are precious few things I appreciate more than a straightforward puzzle game with a strong commitment to its aesthetic, and Swim Out is exactly that. At its very core it's a tile-based stealth puzzler, where the player needs to weave between patrols and around obstacles on tile at a time on their way to the exit.
Draped over that core is an impressively cohesive skin. Turquoise pools framed in crisp white, swimmers in contrasting blue and red bathing suits, floppy sunhats and pristine lounge chairs. Between stages scenes of poolside peace wipe across the screen, as seamless, bright, and inviting as the rest of the game. The effect is that while Swim Out's mechanics are just familiar enough to be easily grasped, its look is utterly its own.
The only shortcoming may be in its music, stock zen garden tunes blended with the soft din of a public space. Admittedly it feels like a little bit of a placeholder—a slightly less than perfect fit for a game where every other component seems to fit together flawlessly. It's not exactly the kind of music I think of when I imagine people swimming leisurely laps in an ultra-posh public pool. This minor bit of dissonance may be because Swim Out is currently still in development from Lozange Lab, who have put the project on Steam Greenlight and released an exploratory demo to stir up interest for it. And music aside, consider my interest thoroughly stirred.
You can download the first ten stages of Swim Out for free on itch.io for Windows, Mac and Linux, or check out the game's website for more information.