Mass Effect Andromeda Remnant decryption guide: monoliths and glyph puzzles

By Brenna Hillier, Sunday, 7 May 2017 16:00 GMT

Monoliths, glyphs and alien sudoku completely sorted out in our Mass Effect Andromeda Remnant decryption guide.


In Mass Effect Andromeda, the immigrants from the Milky Way come across the remnants of an ancient, technologically advanced civilisation, which they and the locals cleverly nickname “Remnant”.

Find more tips, tricks and explanations in our Mass Effect Andromeda guide and walkthrough.

While much of your interaction with Remnant tech involves shooting and being shot at, sometimes Ryder will have the chance to interface with it, unlocking who-knows-what ancient potentialities. Local antagonists the Kett get a bit upset about this, as they’ve been trying to get their claws on the Remnant tech themselves, and to be honest we don’t blame them. It does seem a bit odd that some blow-in from another sector of space is the only person able to talk to these machines, doesn’t it?

Ah well, in any case, a lot of great loot and a huge uptick in planetary viability awaits you behind Remnant security systems. Track down glyphs, activate monoliths and initiate vault sequences with your magical Remnant decrypting AI, which for some reason makes hacking look a lot like … sudoku?

Clearing monoliths by scanning glyphs in Mass Effect Andromeda

To track down monoliths in Mass Effect Andromeda, open your map on any landable planet and zoom out to spot three symbols that look like twisted spires. Click on one to activate and track a quest to activate all three. Once you’ve dealt with them, it’s off to the vault.

Unfortunately, resolving monoliths isn’t just a matter of shooting the baddies who protect it and looting any nearby containers, as with general Remnant ruins found all over Mass Effect Andromeda.

Thanks, Alienware!

Brenna is playing Mass Effect Andromeda on an Alienware 17 with a GX 1070, kindly loaned, at her request, by Alienware Australia’s PR representative.

For starters, you’ll need to locate any nearby glyphs. Glyphs are those weird symbols you’ll see when you try to interact with the central console at a monolith (and also in some other Remnant ruins and dungeons, on switches and chests. Because nobody speaks Remnant, you often need to work out some of the glyphs in order to be able to communicate with Remnant technology.

Most monoliths in Mass Effect Andromeda require three glyphs to solve. To find a glyph, open your scanner (D-pad down on consoles and G on PC) and examine the area around the central console. You’ll see a number of glowing wires or paths leading away around the environment.

Voeld monolith

There’s a monolith on Voeld where the wires lead outside. You need to exit the cave and clamber around the back of the structure, where a Fiend awaits, to scan two of the three glyphs. For some reason it’s really hard to find the second glyph on the surface until you go back inside and scan the wires again. It’s probably a bug.

Track each of these wires from the base of the console to the far end and then scan the glyph they terminate at; in normal view it looks like a faint tracing of blue energy, but through your scanner it’s a glowing square, flat on a surface such as a floor or wall, sometimes above or below you. This often means clambering all over the structures that surround the monolith, and many times the glyph will be on top of an object or behind it. Don’t forget to press the actual scan button once you find the glyph, and be sure there’s no object between you and it when you do so.

Once you track down every glyph attached to a monolith, either Ryder or SAM will tell you you’ve collected all the glyphs you need. Head back to the central console to begin Remnant decryption.

Remnant decryption in Mass Effect Andromeda

With all glyphs scanned, activate a monolith’s central console to begin Remnant decryption. This is the Remnant’s ancient secret security system, and it can only be bypassed by means of … sudoku. We don’t know why the interface between an ancient, incomprehensible technology and an organic brain from another galaxy presents as sudoku, nor why SAM can’t just solve the damn things himself given computers are excellent at sudoku, but hey: we don’t create blockbuster sci-fi universes for a living.

The grids are usually smaller than regular numbered sudoku, and the divisions can be all sorts of shapes rather than just squares. The rules are the same, however: you cannot repeat a glyph in any row, column, or division.

If you’ve never played sudoku, there are all sorts of logic tricks to help you solve them and activate those monoliths. Here are our hot tips for Remnant decryption in Mass Effect Andromeda:

  • Find an empty square and click through (“browse”) all available glyphs. Give them nicknames so you can differentiate them easily. This just makes it a bit quicker, mentally, when you’re working out what’s missing from a row – like “I’ve got a hat, a pair of socks, the L and the hawk, so I need the jam jar”.
  • Look at the glyphs that have already been filled in. Are there any rows, columns or divisions that are missing just one glyph? If so, you can fill in the blank with whichever glyph is not already present.
  • Count all the types of glyphs and see which one is the most common. If you have three of one kind of glyph and the puzzle board only has four rows and columns, there’s only one place the remaining glyph of that kind can go without conflicting with its buddies.
  • If you find a row, column or division with just two missing glyphs, try both of them in the empty squares. Odds are you’ll see one of them can’t work in one of the spots, which means it has to go in the other.
  • Stuck? Check each individual square by row, column and division, one by one, to locate anything you might have missed; you probably only need to brute force just one glyph to set of a chain of logic on the others.
  • Try this sudoku tutorial for general tips on how to play.

If all else fails you can override Remnant decryption with keys, often found in Remnant ruins or sometimes purchased from shops.

By the way, you have to press the “submit solution” button once you finish the puzzle; it’s no good just solving it. If you’re wondering why your solution hasn’t been accepted, that may be why. (If you submit an incorrect solution, you’ll be attacked by Remnant. If you fail to press the submit button, nothing happens at all.)

Once you’ve completed a Remnant decryption at each monolith, you’ll unlock the vault – where more Remnant decryption awaits you. You’ll be doing a lot of this in Mass Effect Andromeda, but practice makes perfect.

Activate the vault on each planet in Mass Effect Andromeda to substantially increase local viability, reduce the impact of environmental hazards, and give yourself a warm fuzzy glow. Alien sudoku isn’t enough to stop you.

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