Have You Played… Rusty Lake Hotel?


Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

The Rusty Lake games are beautifully macabre creations. Hotel is my favourite, I think, though Roots is perhaps more ambitious. If you haven’t played them, you should play both. Here’s why…

They’re point and click games, in a sense, though you’re interacting with scenes in an abstract sense rather than controlling a character on the screen. There’s something in common with room escape games and the two commercial Rusty Lake games are connected to a larger, weirder universe that you can explore through the free Cube games, which do belong to the room escape genre.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that these are puzzle games. And I hate most puzzle games because I have no patience and am often incredibly stubborn and foolish. Give me a puzzle game with a strong theme and/or story, and you might keep my attention though. The important thing is that I’m paying so much attention to the colours and the words that I don’t realise how much brainpower I’m having to spend on the actual puzzles.

Rusty Lake Hotel is a murder mystery game set in a creepy hotel in which everyone is for dinner. That’s the hook and it’s such a good hook that even though I’ve finished the entire game twice I can’t remember being annoyed by any of the puzzles. I probably was, but it didn’t matter because I had to see what happened next.

This is the strongest recommendation I can give to a puzzle game. Please play Rusty Lake Hotel. And then the rest.

That way you’ll be ready for the latest addition, Rusty Lake Paradise, which is out on Thursday.


  1. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    Bounced off of them on the PC, but absolutely tore through both Hotel and Roots on the tablet. The format just lends itself so well to playing while curled up in bed. Can’t promise they won’t leave you with insane dreams, however.

    Can’t wait for the new one.

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  2. Ossian says:

    Played Hotel a while back, and enjoyed it enough to pick up Roots recently, although I haven’t played it yet. I enjoy puzzle games with atmosphere, and found this satisfying for being strange and quirky. It’s been a while, but my memory-feeling is that the puzzles in Hotel were very reasonable and interesting.

    I don’t think they cost much, and on sale are usually very inexpensive, so worth picking up if this is the type of thing you find interesting.

  3. MikoSquiz says:

    More of a howdoit than a whodunnit, really.

    As for the player-friendliness, there’s a few solidly “eh?” puzzles (anyone wanna guess how you get tomatoes?) and one godawful “use these containers of sizes X Y and Z to measure out amount Q of water” that everyone gets stuck on for half an hour and eventually looks up.

    Apart from those minor bumps in the road, it really is a delightful little macabre and peculiar puzzlesnack. I think Roots is, in absolute terms, better, but something about the Victorian animal head people eeriness of Hotel (as opposed to the more historical horror epic feel of Roots) tickles me a little better.

    I highly recommend the whole series if you enjoy mild brainteasers combined with a mild sense of unease and discombobulation.

  4. TheBetterStory says:

    Wasn’t all that impressed with Hotel, but I did enjoy Roots, mostly because it seemed to have an actual story kicking around inside it.