Rusty Lake

We are Rusty Lake:

Creators of the praised Cube Escape series and the premium point-and-click adventures Rusty Lake Hotel and award-winning Rusty Lake: Roots.

Dear visitor,

Welcome to Rusty Lake, a surreal place where anything can happen. We offer you the most mysterious game series you'll ever play.

Why not try out our praised Cube Escape series first? Let the cubes guide you the eerie and atmospheric point-and-click adventures with an "escape room" feeling. Currently we have ten Cube Escape games taking place in the Rusty Lake universe. Cube Escape: Paradox is our latest installment which is combined with a short film! Download them for ten on iOS, Android or play on Desktop.

Next to our Cube Escape series we created three premium adventure games with unique story lines taking place in Rusty Lake as well. Serve deadly dinners to five animal-headed guests in Rusty Lake Hotel, expand the bloodline of the Vanderbooms in our award-winning adventure Rusty Lake: Roots or stop the ten plagues on a small island in Rusty Lake Paradise.

On the right, you can find a list of all our games sorted by release date.

On our game portal you can play our free games but also find other adventure, room escape and puzzle games. We selected games with a fascinating story, ambiance or unique game-play made by more forward-looking developers.

Check out our blog, social media or newsletter for new updates and content.

We wish you a pleasant stay in Rusty Lake!

Read more about the studio
  • AwardIndie Prize, Best Narrative Award ‘16
  • AwardTop 10 Google Play Indie Games Contest ‘17
  • AwardPremiere Paradox - A Rusty Lake Film @ LIFF '18
  • Award"Most Inventive" App nomination Google Play Awards ‘18
  • AwardFinalist Google Play Indie Games Contest ‘20

Q&A with Rusty Lake about The Past Within – Devlog 7

Q&A with Rusty Lake about The Past Within – Devlog 7

First of all, thank you all so much for taking the time to send us so many awesome questions! It was very hard to only pick some of them as, unfortunately, time did not allow us to go through all of them. This time we decided to stick mostly to The Past Within related questions. But we surely plan to do this more often! First a little introduction in case you are new to The Lake:

About Rusty Lake

Rusty Lake is an indie game studio based in Amsterdam, founded by Robin Ras & Maarten Looise. Since 2015, we have developed 15 surrealistic point-and-click adventure games in the Rusty Lake Universe. The story of all these games are intertwined and every instalment reveals more about the Rusty Lake mysteries.

We have released the following games on PC and mobile: Cube Escape Collection (bundle of our 9 Cube Escape episodes), a free remake of Samsara Room and four premium games: Rusty Lake Hotel, Rusty Lake: Roots, Rusty Lake Paradise and The White Door. The Past Within is our first co-op experience and will be released tomorrow, November 2nd, on Steam,, Android and iOS.

A community interview:

1 realcreativesmol @instagram – I’m curious to know where the idea for a co-op adventure in this style came from? Was it more appropriate for the story in this game? Did it make the experience more enjoyable?

Creating The Past Within was a long and difficult journey, a story we’ve also been sharing in our devlogs. It all started with what we called the shoebox idea. We created a 3D puzzle box with a peephole through which you could see a classical 2D room. Back then, the project was still intended to be a single-player experience. But the more we playtested the game, the more it became clear it was way more interesting to separate these worlds and let one player control the inside of the cube (a 2D room like Cube Escape) and the other player the outside of the cube (a 3D puzzle box). As soon as we changed the experience and tried it with two players, we knew we were onto something new and exciting. For the first time, we saw two fans enjoy communicating and puzzling together while having different perspectives, and for them it came very close to a real-life escape room experience.

2 sabiaqueosabiasabiaassobiar @instagram – What engine was used to develop the game? What was the hardest part of development? Did you guys ever had to scrap the whole game and start again from scratch during development?

We used the Unity engine to develop The Past Within. It was a huge step for us because we’ve made all our previous titles in Flash. Our core development team, Luuk and Martijn, had to build everything from scratch while also facing the big hurdle of bringing our distinctive 2D art style into 3D for the first time. Once we finally tackled that issue we made the very difficult decision to change the whole concept to co-op, which basically meant we had to, once again, start from scratch – or close to it, as we still had the ground base to make the game what it is now.

3 hankatwojafanka @instagram – Where there some things that surprised you during development? Did you underestimate any aspects of making a coop experience? 😆

The biggest surprise was that we had to test every puzzle we made with two players. We probably made hundreds of puzzles, but since every puzzle has to be communicated between two players, we also had to test it with two people, preferably two new ones each time. This was not easy, especially during the Covid lockdowns.

4 rosti_catcat @instagram – How do you test the riddles and how do you know that the riddles you invented will be difficult but not too much ?

It took us quite some time and effort to test the puzzles. Because of the co-op structure and the importance of communication between the two players, we needed new playtesters every time for each new version of a puzzle. Some puzzles we changed maybe 20 times, with small or big alterations in every new version. Sometimes it turned out to be too easy, sometimes it turned out to be too hard. But we feel like we eventually found a nice balance.

5 mativallejos97 @instagram- Is this a sequel or prequel? 👀

We would say it’s more a spin-off story to Rusty Lake: Roots, not exactly a sequel or a prequel. You will definitely recognize quite some elements from Roots, but you will enjoy a completely new story with a new ‘co-op’ gameplay mechanism!

6 anxka.croxx @instagram – im curious, where did the idea of the storyline of Albert Vanderboon come from? is it based of personal experiences or the life of someone you know/read about? was it completely made up? what were your influences? i would love to know!!!!!

In our opinion, Albert was one of the most interesting characters from Rusty Lake Roots. He is evil, but also a sad and tragic person. We’ve been meaning to return to this character for quite some time, plus he seems to also be a fan-favourite. Next to him, his daughter Rose is quite fascinating as well, and her story has an open ending in Rusty Lake Roots. So we decided to focus on their father-daughter relationship for the narrative of The Past Within. Despite the narrative branching out from Roots, people that haven’t yet played Roots can still understand their story. Some of it at least, because we believe their story is still quite complex.

7- Vicky Soria @twitter- Do you have like a “Rusty Lake bible” to keep track of the stories and how things work in its universe? If so, is there more to what we know about it so far? 👀

When we started working on Rusty Lake, with “Seasons” and “The Lake”, we had clear ideas about the general themes of Rusty Lake: The memories, the cubes, the lake, and the corrupted souls. But of course, with every game, the universe expanded, so we began writing down ideas and building a little “bible” which over time became not so little anymore. And we are happy to see that fans are also helping to document the Rusty Lake bible on the Rusty Lake fandom pages for example. We’re definitely holding on to some untold stories that we hope to bring to life in the future. So yes, there is absolutely more than you know so far!

8 stopjenny @instagram – I would love to know what Victor’s creative process looks like when composing music for Rusty Lake? 🎹 I’m a big fan of the games & the music, can’t wait for the release!!

Hi there, here is a direct message from Victor to answer your question: I am fortunate to get involved by Rusty Lake / Robin and Maarten from the creative starting point of every game. Talking and brainstorming about the storylines, characters and locations helps me to give shape to a main theme. In most cases, I use the main theme as the foundation of the soundtrack, and variations and various themes mostly get born out of the main theme, in one way or another! If I need inspiration, I play the main theme and see if some magic will happen 🙂

There are two recurring challenges for me when composing Rusty Lake games: I want to create catchy and haunting themes and melodies that can be listened at many times over and over again while playing the game and get stuck in your head, but without (ever) getting annoyed by them. Secondly, I need to leave quite some room in the levels for silence and sound effects, so every now and then I need to hold back my wild musical ambitions and keep it small and in the service of the gameplay. I hope you will enjoy my new soundtrack for The Past Within!

9 Troy Happy Game fan @discord – How do you use good voice acting and good sound effects?

For The Past Within, we cooperated with Jorick and Giliam of Driftwood Audio for the first time. All the sound effects are custom-made by them, and most of them are made by hand and recorded in a studio or outdoors. We believe it’s a huge step up from our previous games, the sounds are bringing all the items and interactions to life. Like always, Bob Rafferty did the voice acting. It’s getting harder for him to find a new voice every time, but he once again did an excellent job!

10 Hanna Bachta @facebook – How refreshing was it working with a new concept like co-op? Did you like exploring a different format or do you prefer the one you’re already familiar with?

We really enjoyed exploring this new concept and it gave us quite some new possibilities for new puzzles. But on the other hand, it was quite difficult to design and it took way more time than usual to test and improve the experience. So our next game will have a more familiar format as we don’t want to have you waiting for another 2 years!

11 Sylwia Gojdź @facebook – What were you striving for when it comes to player interaction? Were you surprised during playtesting by the way some players worked together?

There are huge differences between how players interact, which is fun (and sometimes frustrating to see). Some players are really structured while others are really chaotic. Some are describing everything they see, others totally forget to talk. Some are really patient, others are pushing their partner to hurry up a bit. We were striving for a fun experience for both players, so we tried to balance the 2 worlds in the game as well as possible. We also tried to not have too much distraction in the game, the players should be focused on working together, not on exploring the world on their own.

12 Alex @Serogath @twitter – Is there going to be any replay value by playing both sides?

We believe the game can still be interesting to play from the other side because everything you see will be new to you. We also added a “replay mode”, so that you will not recognize all the solutions to the puzzles from the previous playthrough. The game definitely won’t be the same when you play it for a second time.

13 bellla.p @instagram – I’ve always wondered, is there a reason matches are featured in each game? (As an item to pick up/use)

Without matches, Rusty Lake wouldn’t exist! Ps. we cannot promise anything but The Past Within might contain matches!

The Past Within is a co-op-only adventure and comes out tomorrow on Android, iOS, Steam and, Android and iOS. iOS, Android, Steam and itchio. Please be aware that both players need to own a copy of the game in order to play. It’s a premium game and will cost around €/$ 5,99 on Steam/Itchio (but with a 40% discount in the first week) and around €/$ 2,99 on iOS/Android!

If you are not sure this is a game for you; please check out our demo: you can still download it here on the Steam or download it on Mobile! Also, you can find a partner or a free voice channel on our Discord! You are more than welcome to join 🙂

Please enjoy and let’s make some memories!

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