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Returnal boss guide: How to beat Phrike

How to defeat the smoky boss of the Overgrown Ruins

Phrike, the first boss of Returnal Image: Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Returnal’s first boss, Phrike, is a creepy, tall creature that stalks a smoky room in the Overgrown Ruins. Defeating it requires good knowledge of its room-filling attacks, quick strikes, and what it does in all three phases of its fight.

In this Returnal boss guide, we’ll show you how to defeat Phrike. We’ll explain its moves and how to dodge them, and we’ll detail the attacks it uses in all three of its phases.

How to defeat Phrike

To find Phrike, follow your objective marker to the red door with triangles that appears at the end of your map. Once past the door, ascend a pair of large steps leading to a final door. Behind that last entranceway is a massive hole in the ground. Jump down and prepare to face off against Phrike.

This boss stands mostly at the far end of the room while shooting various attacks at you. In the second and third phases, it dashes and swipes at you with one of its arms.

As long as you understand each of its attacks, Phrike is a fairly simple boss to defeat. So let’s go through them phase by phase.

Phrike phase one

During the first phase, Phrike has a series of straightforward attacks. To dodge most of them, strafe left and right around the circular boss arena.

These are the attacks you need to look out for in phase one:

  • Phrike raises its three hands and shoots a barrage of orange blasts forward at a single spot. Run to the side once fired.
  • When Phrike raises its hands, it may also create a circular shower of yellow energy bullets that expand and fall toward you. Move back, forth, and to the sides to avoid them.
  • While the yellow bullets fall from the ceiling, Phrike shoots a wave of purple attacks. Strafe and dash hard to the left or right.
  • If Phrike’s face glows, it’s charging up a powerful beam. Phrike aims at the floor, raises its head, and shoots the beam toward you. Dodge to the sides.

Phrike phase two

In phase two, Phrike moves and attacks a lot faster. It also mixes and matches a few attacks to change things up. For instance, Phrike might shoot the laser beam while the yellow energy bullets fall from the sky. It will also shoot the purple energy bullets by themselves, but at a much faster rate.

Phrike also adds a few new attacks in phase two:

  • Phrike sinks into the fog, covering the battlefield to teleport elsewhere. Follow the faint red light to see where it’ll reappear.
  • The boss charges red energy into the ground, creating an expanding red circle on the floor. Jump over or dodge it.
  • After casting the attack above, Phrike charges at you at high speed and swipes at you with a glowing red arm. Dodge to the left or right.
  • Right after a short charge, Phrike shoots a large, sweeping red beam across the battlefield from its face. Jump over it or dash through it.

Phrike phase three

Phrike doesn’t add too many new attacks in this phase. However, the boss immediately begins this phase with the charging swipe attack. It also continues some other attacks from the earlier phases. One of its main threats is a double dose of the glowing yellow energy bullets that fall from the sky. It’s the same as the previous attack, just with twice as many attacks to dodge.

It casts a doubled up version of the red floor rings. Again, it finishes up this attack with a charging swipe. Be ready to dodge that melee attack and jump over the two rings of fire. The last of its modified moves is the sweeping eye laser. When it shoots this, it swings back the way it came, so be prepared to dash through the laser twice.

The Phrike boss fight in Returnal
Run through the attacks while dodging the aerial shots
Image: Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

During this phase, its main attack is a spinning wave of yellow bullets that you must weave in and out of to avoid getting hit. While you’re doing that, it rains down small, red energy attacks toward you. Once the attack finishes, Phrike teleports across the room.