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Returnal guide: How to get the grappling hook

How to climb the orange lights and orbs with the Icarian Grapnel

The main character of Returnal with the grappling hook Image: Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Throughout the early stages of Returnal, you may have noticed orange lights and floating orbs in the first two biomes. You won’t be able to make use of these until you get the grappling hook.

In this Returnal guide, we’ll explain how to get the grappling hook, access the second biome, and offer some tips tips on how to beat the game’s second boss, Ixion.

Get to the second biome

To get to the second biome, you need to access the Crimson Gate. You have to beat the games first boss. Defeat Phrike, and you’ll get the Crimson Key, an item that remains in your inventory you throughout all future runs.

With the Crimson Key in your inventory, you need to find a portal door that leads to the Crimson Gate. With the key in hand, the Crimson Gate will open, allowing you to enter the second biome, the Crimson Wastes.

How to get the grappling hook

The path to Returnal’s second boss, Ixion, is a one-way trip. To keep moving forward, you need to beat Ixion and retrieve the grappling hook.

Ixion is a difficult boss who not only takes shots at you from the skies but can also dive bomb you, creating waves of energy you need to dodge or jump over.

For tips on how to defeat the second boss of Returnal, check out our Ixion boss guide.

Once you’ve taken out the second boss, you’ll receive the Icarian Grapnel. This is Returnal’s grappling hook or hookshot. With it, you can grapple to any orange light you see in the game. You’ll often find these orange sources of energy coming off of ledges that you can zip up to. Others emanate from floating orbs that you can swing from.