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5 Tips For Returnal


Returnal is a game that seems to have gone under the radar a little since its release. It nestles itself into a rather unique mash-up genre of both a shooter and a rogue-like. This genre Frankenstein honestly should be a more utilised match up in the gaming world. But that is a bigger discussion for another time.

Gamers who enjoy rogue-likes can be put off due to the shooter mechanics, and shooter fans can be put off by the rogue-like aspects. I am here today to try and ease some of these concerns and share some tips and tricks to make your runs in Atropos smoother and hopefully get you closer to breaking the cycle.

1: Weapons Are Key

The weapons in Returnal may not be as vast in number as in a lot of games, but each of them is unique in function. Getting a good grasp on each of the different weapons is essential to your runs. One thing to keep in mind is to not just swap out a weapon to another weapon simply because it is a higher level. There is no point swapping out a level 2 Tachyomatic Carbine for a level 3 Spitmaw Blaster if you really dislike using the Spitmaw.

But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss a gun after one use. Use them, try them, push them to their limits. The more you use a weapon the better they get in consequent runs. This is because they eventually level up and unlock traits that will be applied to the weapons automatically. Only decide against a weapon after you have really experimented with it and after they have upgraded a few times. You may think differently about a gun after it has upgraded.

Other things to get to grips with are the adaptive triggers, alternative firing modes and timing a weapon recharge to keep the battle flowing.

2: Enemies A’ Comin’!

As well as the various guns that you pick up along the way, there are also various enemies you need to take out. You know what advice is coming now, I won’t belittle you, but I still need to say it: learn how to deal with each enemy type.

There are enemies that you won’t see very often, ones you will see all the time, and most likely one type that you will dread coming across. The one I always dread are the big floating octopus like tendril flailing pains in the rear. If you don’t know the ones I mean, you soon will. Learning the best ways to tackle each of these enemies is necessary in order to keep your runs going smoothly. Just with any rogue-like game, don’t get too frustrated when you die. Take what you have learned and use it to improve.

I hope you aren’t expecting a run down on how to take on each of the tough enemies here. It is up to you to figure them out. You will likely find different ways to deal with the enemies than I did, as you might prefer different guns, parasites and play styles.

3: Para…Para…Paradise… I Mean Parasites

Parasites in Returnal are very much so double-edged swords. But swords worth wielding all the same. Most of the time. Parasites come attached with both a positive and negative effect. Most of the time the negatives don’t amount to anything too detrimental, but then there are the occasional one that will debilitate a run. Make sure that you pay close attention to any parasite that you come across and read the effects carefully. Do not be afraid to abandon a parasite if it will do more harm than good.

Parasites have the chance to appear anywhere but are mostly found in bonus areas. I am sure you have come across them. They are the floors that collapse when interacting with them, dropping you into a room. These rooms can be treasure vaults, challenges or even mini boss encounters. Sometimes you will fall into a room with two trenches filled with gooey egg sac looking things. Don’t worry, no face huggers here. Walloping these will often yield one or two parasites.

Parasites can compliment a build, but they can also ruin one. Tread carefully.

4: Stay Your Hand Good Sir

You might be tempted to gobble up every item and open every chest that you come across on your path in Returnal. But there are 2 things that you should leave until you have cleared out all the enemies in a run (if you make it that far).

The biggest thing to avoid is opening chests. Remember where they are of course, but don’t rush to open them as soon as you find them. The reason for this is that if there is a weapon in the chest, then it will spawn at the weapon proficiency you are currently at. You should kill all the enemies in a run and increase your weapon proficiency first. Then when you return to the chests and open them, any weapons they produce will be at a higher level. This obviously means they will go further in taking on the bosses at the end of a run.

The second is the health pickups. You might be tempted to pick them all up straight away, but sometimes it is good to hold off on them. If you are at full health then any green hp pickups will be turned into resin instead. Resin will instead increase your maximum hp. Leaving all the hp drops (that you don’t need) until all the enemies have been cleared will let you mop up all the hp/resin drops at the end. This gives you the best opportunity to get your max health to the fullest before a boss battle. By this I mean all the enemies in a run, not just the ones in the room. Any drops will stay where you leave them.

5: Risk Vs Reward Vs Leave Behind

There are many elements in the game that offer a risk reward outcome. From the aforementioned parasites to the malignant items, to some of the contraptions you will find. A lot of them will tempt you with something shiny, at the risk of potential harm. It is up to you to decide what to do with these.

My main bit of advice would be if it is the start of your run, or it isn’t going to plan, then go for it, go crazy; see what happens. If you are in the middle (or toward the end) of a run that is going well, then the risk might not be worth it. Stave off that temptation! Or don’t.


These may seem like simple Returnal tips. But you can never underestimate the importance of basics. And the secret to any rogue-like game (including Returnal) is usually simple perseverance. Learn the items and weapons at your disposal. Learn the areas and the enemies that spawn in them. Experiment with the devices you come across. And most importantly, if you die, don’t fret about it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out into the world of Atropos. And have fun.