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Rusty Lake: Roots Review
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Posted: 3 weeks ago, last updated 8 days ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Rusty Lake: Roots is an unusual point-and-click puzzle-horror game that has you piecing together your family tree. With a wide range unusual puzzles and game mechanics, like growing a literal family tree, it tells a story of a broken family and dark secrets and creates a sense of empathy and understanding for the characters within.

You play James Vanderboom, who returns to the Rusty Lake area as the sole heir of his family, inheriting the ancient family house. You piece together your long and complex family tree from the 1860s to the 1930s, uncovering hidden secrets and long-lost ancestors as you piece together the dark and uneasy story of your past.

You progress through the game by expanding your family tree, a literal tree you water and nurture to help it grow. This unlocks new levels, corresponding to different family members, reaching backwards through time.

Gameplay is similar to other Rusty Lake games; you collect items and use them to complete puzzles and unlock hints. For example, you can find a code on a letter, which you can use to unlock a case containing useful items, or giving people in a photo specific hats to unlock a secret. While the puzzles are very difficult, they are always doable given your current information (or access to it), making it a challenge with great reward.

It's a unique game and entry into the Rusty lake franchise, with a unique setting and story to tell, that offers unique puzzles, progression systems, and a chance to muse deeply on the game's complex story and many mysteries.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/10/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Brain Game, Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Rusty Lake Com (@RustyLakeCom)

Players: 1




Play Time: This game will take between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete. Given the complex nature of many of the puzzles, you can spend a significant amount of time on each section of the game, resulting in longer play sessions.

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game.

You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 12 for Moderate Violence and Horror.

There are some creepy sections, and blood and gore is frequently present.

Skill Rating

12+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. As well as the horror elements and violence/blood and gore, the game's puzzles are extremely complex, often requiring a great deal of patience and lateral thinking to beat, making it more suited to older teens.


Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.


Our Rusty Lake: Roots Accessibility Report documents 18 accessibility features:
The game is very difficult, and will often require extreme thought and patience to overcome challenges. If you get stuck, the developers do have a full walkthrough of the game on their website.

All in-game events are triggered by your actions and there is never any need to react quickly to things happening in the game.

As some clues are only shown (or implied) through visual or audio cues, sound and visuals are required to beat the game. Some visual clues are very subtle, small or faint, and/or use colour, which is important to note for colourblind players.

Some letters in the game use a cursive font which can be hard to read. However, if you click on the text, it appears in clear, large text in high contrast to a black background at the top of the screen.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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