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Rusty Lake Paradise Review

Rusty Lake Paradise Review

Rusty Lake Paradise Review

While this title is not my favorite in the Rusty Lake lineup, it is still a worthy addition to the series and I recommend it for adventurers who enjoy the unexpected


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Genre: 2D Point-and-Click Adventure
Release date: January 11, 2018
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

 Meanwhile, Back at the Lake  

I should mention that I am a huge fan of Rusty Lake. I began playing their free “Cube Escape” series and got hooked on the quirky, dark humor and the stylized graphics. Then I discovered their first two full adventures: Rusty Lake Hotel in early 2016 (which I loved) and Rusty Lake Roots in late 2016 (which I reviewed and loved even more).

So, it was with eager anticipation that I waited for the release of their newest game, Rusty Lake Paradise. At the risk of being a fickle fan, I must say that this game is not my favorite in the Rusty Lake lineup. I recognize that the development team has a tough job trying to surpass the perfection of their first two adventures. Don’t get me wrong. Rusty Lake Paradise is a good game. But, unlike the two previous adventures, it’s not a great game.

The story focuses on Jakob – the eldest Eilander son who has returned to Paradise Island after the death of his mother. The island is cursed by plagues which correspond to those visited upon Egypt in the Biblical book of Exodus. The game is broken into segments, each of which corresponds to a specific plague that must be dealt with through a series of puzzles. Ultimately, the Eilanders progress towards a family ritual that is performed to end the plagues and put spirits to rest.

Take a Walk on the Dark Side  

Paradise is a small island and is presented in 2D with limited animation. Like its predecessors, Rusty Lake Paradise features the unique and macabre style that fans have come to love.  With artwork by Johan Scherft, original music by Victor Butzelaar, sound effects by Thymo Boog, and voice acting by Bob Rafferty, the game comes together in a most interesting way.

As in previous titles, there are black cubes, owls, spirits, animals, and peculiar characters with a flair for the bizarre. Puzzles often involve knives, blood, and other bodily fluids. After playing all previous Rusty Lake games, I find myself immediately going for the darkest solution to a puzzle. Someone’s thirsty? I don’t look for water, I look for blood. And, finding blood inevitably involves cutting or killing something or someone. Cross paths with a small animal in the woods? Rather than cuddling it, you are more apt to skin it for a hat or take it home for dinner.

Rusty Lake Paradise has a simple interface with inventory that is permanently displayed on the right side of the screen. Items are manipulated by highlighting them in inventory and then clicking on the place where they are to be used or put. Navigation is simple. From any screen, small arrows appear to indicate which directions have destinations. Clicking on an arrow shifts to the next scene. Scenes wider than the current screen can be dragged sideways with the mouse. 


 Paradise Lost

Rusty Lake games often include puzzles that are incredibly obtuse. When I play one, I accept that I am probably going to have to find a video hint at some point. Instead of being irritated or crying “unfair,” I simply accept that this is part of the overall experience. Rusty Lake Paradise is no exception in this regard.

I use hints as a last resort. As a result, I spent an inordinate amount of my time in Paradise clicking frenetically as I pixel-hunted and tried every inventory item in dozens of places without success. The good news is that the game includes 50 achievements that are often earned by taking unexpected actions or using inventory in a creative way. So, while my pixel-hunting did not always yield game solutions, it did increase my achievement count!

Puzzles in Rusty Lake Paradise take three primary forms – the traditional “find and use,” pattern matching (visual and audio), and mechanical. The mechanical puzzles have different formats, some of which resemble “mini-games.” In the one shown below, you position the shells to drive the lobster from one side of the screen to the other without hitting a sea urchin. Okay. Then, you do it again, with more shells and sea urchins. And, then again. And, again.


In another, you organize vegetables to match row and column counts. This puzzle is also repeated multiple times, with more vegetables added in each iteration.Same with the sliding ice cubes. Then there is the cabinet with 4 keyholes – each requiring a different interpretation of a group of zodiac symbols/constellations. In my mind, these repetitive puzzles add time to the game but do not do much to enhance the overall experience.

Except for the repetitive puzzles, the other conundrums are well-integrated into the story and make sense as you strive to rid Paradise of each plague. Dialog is limited to character comments made when you click on a person. In some cases, clicking on a character yields an “idea” icon depicting his request for a specific object. In the image shown below, a shrimp is your price of entry through the gate.


Just for the Fun of It 

If you have never experienced a Rusty Lake game, I would recommend playing them all. You will be delighted and appalled as the macabre stories progress and you may found yourself laughing out loud at totally inappropriate moments. While pushing a person down a well, cutting an ear off, or killing a squirrel with a falling icicle are not laughing matters in the real world, they are par for the course in the Rusty Lake universe.

Continuation of all that makes Rusty Lake an entertaining (and sometimes troubling) experience

+ Professional voice overs and original music add to the delightful graphics that fans have grown accustom to
+ Those who have played previous Rusty Lake titles will immediately feel at home and enjoy being back in that universe
– Repetitive puzzles do not increase the “fun” factor and may become a bit annoying to some players



System Requirements

MINIMUM Windows:
OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP/Vista/7,8, 10 or later
Processor: 1.8 Ghz Processor

Graphics: Direct X 9.0c compatible video card
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 100 MB available space

OS: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later
Processor: Intel Mac 1.8 Ghz

Memory: 1 GB RAM

Cindy Kyser

Cindy Kyser

Cindy’s love affair with gaming began when she opened a mailbox in front of a white house and took the first step in a long series of adventures. ‘Back in the day,’ Cindy was a regular contributor to JA and an active member of the online gaming community. She has attended several E3s and has had the pleasure of spending time in person with both Ray and Randy. Her all- time favorite adventures include the Tex Murphy series, the Gabriel Knight series, and The Longest Journey. She also enjoys RPGs and her list of ‘best ever’ includes Fallout, Asheron’s Call, and Planescape Torment. Â Frustrated with the cost of rising PC system requirements, Cindy decided to switch to console and tablet gaming. Although you can teach some old dogs new tricks, she discovered that console controller dexterity is a skill set that she is lacking. Her results with tablet gaming were not much better. With the exception of a few gems such as The Room and Forever Lost, there is a limit to how much one can play Candy Crush and Hidden Object Adventures. Having proved that pure escapism is worth the investment, she has a new gaming laptop and is back to her search for the perfect adventure. Â After spending most of her life in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Cindy escaped the stress of urban life and moved to rural Arkansas. To show that she has become a true Arkansan, she has taken up deer hunting, wears pink camo, and put a chicken coop in her backyard. On a stressful day, she can be heard yelling ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ when all else fails.

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