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Selene looks downcast in Returnal

Returnal guides

How to survive in Returnal

You’ll die and live again many times in Returnal. Each new cycle is an opportunity to survive longer and travel farther. While much of your success depends on experience and skill, there are several things worth knowing that will make each run easier.

Polygon’s Returnal guides will help you survive this challenging roguelike.

Beginner’s guides

You’ll die so, so much. However, if you refuse to give up, you’ll be treated to a mysterious space adventure.

Our beginner’s guide offers tips to make your time surviving the dangerous world of Atropos easier. To make your repeated journeys even more successful, we’ve detailed 11 tips about important things that Returnal doesn’t tell you.

Even though you lose all your items and gear when you die, there’s one resource you keep throughout all runs: ether. To make the best use of this limited resources, check out our guide on how to spend ether.

If you want to stay alive longer, then you’ll need to learn how to increase your suit integrity.

Boss guides

The bosses in Returnal are large monsters that will test your ability to dash, dodge, and jump to avoid their bullets. Each offers unique challenges to overcome.

The game’s first boss, Phrike, attacks with bullets and lasers in a foggy arena. The game’s second boss, Ixion, takes to the skies while it rains down projectiles. Returnal has several other bosses to defeat, each of which will get you a PlayStation 5 trophy.

Returnal explainers

Much of what you learn in Returnal comes through trial and error. To help you make sense of the game’s many weird terminals and mysterious objects, we have a few explainers worth reading.

If you noticed the many orange lights and climbable objects you can’t access in the game’s early regions, then you’ll want to know when you get the grappling hook. Instead of running past the weird terminal that appears at the start of each journey, you should learn how to use the Cthonos. You should also learn the best way to use the Obolite Repository. Another great terminal to increase the success of your runs is the Reconstructor.

For those who manage to get the credits to roll, know that the game isn’t over. There is a secret ending in Returnal for you to discover.