Returnal’s roguelike brand of action can be tough.
Whether it’s massive mini-bosses, pesky projectiles, or just good ol’ fashioned platforming pitfalls, there are tons of ways to meet a swift end on the planet of Atropos.
To lend a helping hand, here are 5 of the top Returnal tips we learned in our way to rolling the credits on this PS5-exclusive adventure.
Returnal Tips | How to master your cycle
Run towards danger
Owing to its roots in classic shoot ‘em ups, you can actually use Selene’s dash ability to dodge into and through red enemy projectiles.
Train your brain to dash towards enemies, though their bullets and beams, and you’ll avoid damage more often.
This becomes particularly important later on, where enemies attacks often expand to fill almost the whole screen.
You need to dodge through those expanding zones, so you’re inside away from harm, rather than backwards where it will eventually catch up to you.
Money, money, money
When you first start playing Returnal, the tiny orbs, Obolites, which act as currency seem inconsequential.
You might even struggle to pick them up until you get the hang of dodging into enemy projectiles and defeating them at close range - I definitely did.
But if you want to roll the credits on Returnal and beat the final boss, grinding out money is vital to crafting a successful character build.
Generally, if you want to go the distance, you’ll need to collect around 1200 Obolites across the course of your run. 2 lots of 450 Obolites to buy the 25% max health upgrades from each shop, as well as an additional 300 to grab an Astronaut Figurine.
The 25% max health upgrades are really important not just because they massively increase your survivability, but because they also come with a free health roughly equal to a large health vial.
With a long bar of health and an extra man, you should be able to roll with the punches of even the toughest enemies.
Some guns are better than others
While the guns in Returnal are certainly unique, not all of their quirks shake out the same in battle, and it’s worth sticking with what you like rather than grabbing something that’s a couple levels higher just because it’s new.
As you progress through the game, weapons you find will often come with new traits, which unlock with use.
This means that your favourite weapons get stronger the more you use them, which could also naturally funnel you towards a certain piece of equipment.
Weak ones - I’m looking at you Hollowseeker - will just get you killed. Get a feel for which ones you like and focus on finding and levelling their traits.
The sidearm pistol and carbine are both fine, but my personal favourites are the Thermogenic Launcher and Electropylon Driver, despite the high learning curve.
Shortcuts finish last
As you defeat bosses on Atropos and travel to new areas, shortcuts will unlock between the locales.
On subsequent runs it’s tempting to skip forward as quickly as possible, but this will leave you weak as a kitten in the face of later enemies.
When you pick yourself off the floor at the foot of the Helios at the start of every run, build your way back up through the areas methodically, collecting health upgrades, money, and weapon proficiency, until you’re strong enough to take on the challenges ahead.
On that same vein, you’re not going to get very far if you don’t roll the dice on malignant items every now and then.
The suit malfunctions seem daunting at first, but as you get a feel for how to clear them effectively, you can start to tick them off without a huge amount of extra effort.
When you’re in a position to do so - eg. not on the edge of death or already have two active malfunctions - consider interacting with malignant items.
This goes for side paths as well. Exploring side paths is where you’ll find all sorts of useful items and services, so you’ll want to tick them off whenever they appear.
You can usually tell what’s inside just by looking through the door. If it’s a small chamber, there’s something useful inside. A larger room usually means a fight, so enter cautiously if you’re in fit shape for an extra scrap.
For more on this new PS5 exclusive, check out our Returnal review, here.