Deliciously sinister Rusty Lake series unveils time-travelling co-op puzzler The Past Within

Developer Rusty Lake has unveiled the latest entry in its deliciously off-kilter series of point-and-click puzzlers and it’s the studio’s most ambitious endeavour yet, taking the form of time-travelling, two-player co-op adventure The Past Within.

If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of Rusty Lake’s surreal, centuries-spanning narrative, it currently worms its way through 15 games – six are fully fledged premium offerings (Rusty Lake Hotel, Roots, Paradise, Paradox, The White Door, and series precursor Samsara Room), while the remainder are smaller companion pieces, falling under the Cube Escape banner.

All are relatively simple things at their core – casual puzzlers featuring streamlined point-and-click mechanics with a room escape slant – but it’s the darkly surreal theatricality of each instalment that really makes the series sing. Roots, in particular, is a gorgeously affecting piece of work, and a wonderful example of developer Rusty Lake’s increasingly ambitious reach.

The newly revealed The Past Within, though, goes a significant step beyond previous titles, introducing a multiplayer component that sees two players working together across different timelines to solve the mysteries surrounding recurring series character Albert Vanderboom. “Communicate what you see around you to help one another solve various puzzles,” explains the developer, “and explore the worlds from different perspectives”.

The Past Within has been in development for over a year now, according to a new post on the Rusty Lake website, and offers a number of other studio firsts, including 3D environments for the unfolding action. The developer says it still has “a long way to go” before it can communicate a release date, but is aiming to launch on Steam, Mac, iOS, Android, and “hopefully” consoles.

Curious PC players, incidentally, can currently get 50% off the entire (and already minimally priced) Rusty Lake series over on Steam.