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Time-bending Rusty Lake co-op game The Past Within creeps its way onto PC today

It’s the first time the mystery series has gone 3D

The next instalment in the mysterious Rusty Lake puzzle series arrives today, and it takes things in a different direction than past games. A time-travelling conundrum that requires one person to play in the past and another in the future, The Past Within is the series’ first co-op puzzler. It’s also the only Rusty Lake game so far to include 3D environments. You can snag a glimpse of the timey-wimey, multidimensional eeriness by watching the trailer below.

The Past Within is played from two perspectives: Rose, the daughter of the bloke who’s responsible for the mystery in the first place, and another mystery character. There’s the past to explore with Rose, natch, but then there’s also the future. One player gets to inhabit each time period and help the other solve puzzles. Both players will need their own copy of the game, but PC players can team up with pals who have the game on their mobile or tablet, too. You’ll need to have some way to talk or type to your friend though.

Rusty Lake have been releasing unsettling mystery games since 2015. The Past Within, announced in 2021, is their 16th. Developers Maarten Looise and Robin Ras credit their inspiration for the series to director David Lynch’s surreal Kyle MacLachlan vehicle, Twin Peaks.

It shouldn’t take long to complete The Past Within if you’re an experienced puzzle maestro, as Rusty Lake estimate it's around a two-hour-long experience, although they recommend trying the other perspective. Sounds like just enough time to put up with your temporally misadjusted co-op partner.

The Past Within is on Steam and itch.io from today for £6/$6/€6, but there’s a 40% discount during launch week. It’s also out on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

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The Past Within

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CJ Wheeler avatar

CJ Wheeler

Former News Reporter

CJ used to write about steam locomotives but now covers Steam instead. Likes visual novels, most things with dungeons and/or crawling, and any shooter with a suitably chunky shotgun. He’s from Yorkshire, which means he’s legally obliged to enjoy a cup of tea and a nice sit down.