I adore the scenarios games create to justify themselves. In action games, it’s absurd provocations that warrant all-out megamurder. For a certain breed of puzzle game, it’s reasons why you really need to move objects on a grid. Perhaps you need to build a snowman or cook some sausages, both fantastic tasks to have. In upcoming puzzler Swim Out [official site], your challenge is to leave a swimming pool, river, or sea. That’s the most ludicrous scenario of all: who ever wants to leave the water? But if you can suspend your disbelief, you might fancy trying the demo that’s already out.So there you are, in the water and mystifyingly wanting to get out. In your way are sixteen types of swim who all move in different ways. It’s a bit like Hitman Go with water, turn-based puzzling where different folks have different behaviours. Breakstrokers move one tile per turn, backstrokers move once every other turn, dive-bombing kids cause waves, and… so it goes. Then you’ll face hazards like crabs, fish, and jellyfish, and find items like water guns and nets to manipulate others.
It looks and sounds a good setup for puzzling but I am delighted by how unfamiliar a swimming experience this is to me. I never want to leave the water, even in an awful indoor pool. I would become aquatic if I could. No, my swimming-related struggle is coming up with excuses why I’m arriving at work late and still dripping. And if I end up ‘stuck’ behind someone in the water, I might happily slow down. Approaching someone head-on is a good excuse to pause to say hello and maybe chat. An “Excuse me, please” will get you a lot of places and if I do brush someone, an apology is always accepted. And as for swimming in the sea, oh the sea! The sea!
Lozange Lab plan to release Swim Out on Windows, Mac, and Linux this summer. Swim Out is currently having a crack at Steam Greenlight. You can download a demo from IndieDB; I refuse to try it, on principle.
Of course, the finest oddball scenario comes from combining action and grid puzzling. Thank you, Deadly Premonition, for getting an FBI agent on a murder investigation to perform Sokoban shoving on crates to tidy a supermarket’s storeroom because its rock ‘n’ rolling proprietor is incompetent and I want to score a loyalty discount (and because I feel guilty for stealing his prized guitar to beat up ghosts).