Analysis The Past Within, dark cooperative puzzles

Rusty Lakea saga that shares a name with the studio that develops it, has spent years carving out a niche for itself in the genre of interactive puzzles with multiple deliveries that share the same universe but constantly seek to reinvent themselves. The Past Within is the new adventure published by this developer and stands out for offering cooperative puzzles in which one person plays in the past while the other plays in the future. Communication is essential to advance and discover the dark mystery behind the machine that allows the connection between both timelines.

Past and future united to solve the present

The Past Within is a puzzle game to face together with another person, although each one will have to look exclusively at your screen (which requires that both have a copy of the game, an easy hurdle to overcome thanks to its low price). One of the two plays in the past, locked in a room with four walls represented in two dimensions. Another plays in the future, where he fiddles with a mysterious cube-shaped artifact that he can spin around at will due to being in three dimensions.

As soon as it begins, the person from the past sees a letter that he can open: it is from his recently deceased father, whose coffin is in the same room as the game. In that letter there is a date not very subtly underlined, which tells us that it is a useful tip, a hint that the person who plays in the future can use in one of the many nooks and crannies of his mystery box. We don’t see what the future person does, so we have to give you as much information as possible: this date looks like a code, it has four figures, it appears on the same card that mentions a cubic artifact

Rusty Lake knows how to offer breathtaking scenes in two dimensions and with very few elements.

Those strange puzzles we solved together

During the hour and something that lasts a game (going to a shot made, something difficult to do in our first approach to the game) we will not stop communicating with the other person trying to find a clue that will help us unblock the situation by solving a puzzle. Or at least we shouldn’t stop doing it, because without that cooperation it is impossible solve not a single puzzle of all the ones in the game. Sometimes, yes, there are traffic jams (inevitable in this type of game) that they get much heavier because of its cooperative aspect: waiting for the other person to unblock produces a momentary disconnection fueled by the self-imposed restriction of not looking at the other screen to help.

Many of the puzzles feature a
Many of the puzzles have a very traditional design that collides with the freshness of the rest of the proposal.

In any case, the moments of play and shared investigation weigh more. Think about The Past Within After having played it, it yields a clear conclusion: it’s an immersive game than from some very simple parameters (there is not even an online connection between the two screens, for example) immerses us in an adventure of grotesque tints and supernatural. While we are playing we let ourselves be carried away by his fantasy, which makes us see that it is a much bigger experience than it is. oh it’s its magic, which only fades when a puzzle is repeated too much or when puzzles follow traditional guidelines (we don’t get rid of clocks, keys, codes, chess boards).

The two great ways to interact with the game are
The two great ways to interact with the game are well balanced, so no one is left without experiencing it in its entirety.

To that we must add a audiovisual section which fulfills its function of showing legible spaces in both two and three dimensions. The static entity of Rusty Lake is very particular and here it is collected in a more than adequate way, giving it a new depth (literally) without neglecting the honesty of the designs of its rooms and characters. the music of the gameand its sound effects, also have their moments of glory by reinforcing the macabre poetry that surrounds this whole set.


The Past Within is a good example of how puzzle games don’t need to brag to get an experience challenging. This cooperative does not even require a connection between the two devices on which it is played, it is only necessary that the two people who control each of the time lines (future and past) can communicate to advance the same are: on one screen are the clues that are needed to solve a puzzle on the other, forcing us to collaborate with our companion and promoting exciting moments of shared enlightenment. The design of its puzzles may be simpler than the cooperation layer allows us to see, but it is certainly a completely complex game. recommended for those who like escape room with a grotesque dot.

We have done this review on PC with two Steam codes provided by Game Drive.

Analysis The Past Within, dark cooperative puzzles