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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Rusty Lake: Roots (2016) 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.

Our examiner, Ben Kendall, first checked Rusty Lake: Roots 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 2 years ago.
Kids not old enough for this yet? There are lots of games similar to Rusty Lake: Roots. Here are some similar younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Point-and-Click game with Brain Game, Narrative and Puzzle elements. This is a single-player game.


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.

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 Level

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.


Rusty Lake: Roots usually costs £3.99.

Rusty Lake: Roots

Steam Store PC £3.99
Steam Store Mac £3.99
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 20/10/2016

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Players: 1

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

Accessibility: 18 features

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Developer: Rusty Lake Com (@RustyLakeCom)

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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