PlayStation jumped onboard the roguelike train big time by providing Housemarque the budget to provide the AAA experience in the genre, which so far is paying off. The brutal difficulty of these kinds of games can be daunting. It requires a mix of luck, knowledge, and skill. If you are starting out, then you have come to the right place. Our beginner’s guide for Returnal will help you survive its brutal difficulty.
1. Clear the room
When you enter a new room, your map will indicate any items that are there. Make sure you clear everything out the best that you can as there are essential upgrades for you. You may find health or boost to the maximum of your integrity. Ether, the most important substance that sticks with you after death, can be found around in the funniest of places. Regardless of the weapon, crate, or stat boost, make sure there are no more little markers on your minimap before going through the next door.
2. Learn the doors
There are four different types of doors found on this alien planet, making it a bit tricky if you booted up and unsure where to go. This is why it’s best to read up on a beginner’s guide to learn (hey, that’s this!). Here is the explanation of each one:
- Light blue: This is where the money is at, well, at least in a sense. If you want to get to your main objective, go through the light blue doors. Following the orange blip on your map can be tricky, but thankfully the developers made it pretty simple instead of having to go through a maze to figure out where you need to go.
- Dark blue: You don’t want to always go straight through the main path; you need to prepare for what lies ahead, especially if its boss related. The procedurally generated rooms make this bit of a gamble, but it can be worth it. Find puzzles or other challenges to earn great rewards to power you up when moving ahead.
- Broken circles: You will see on your map a door symbol that has a broken circle above the frame. Once you defeat a boss, you will reach these portals into the next biome. Progress through, and you will reach access. Kill the first boss, Phrike, to obtain the Crimson Key to enter the second area. Once you defeat the boss of that environment, Ixion, you will receive the grappling hook to reach a new area with a portal into the next biome. Overall, these are pretty straightforward to finish the story.
- Yellow: The yellow doors with stars are extra challenging as it locks you in until you clear all the enemies. Make sure you are prepared, but if you succeed, you will get a weapon and plenty of obolite.
3. Find the right weapon
There is no right answer to this one, but you should experiment with different guns to find the right one for you. The roguelike offers plenty of options from the starting pistol, various assault weapons, a shotgun, and more. While stats matter, it is more important that you feel comfortable with what you are using. If you are more aggressive, then maybe the Spitmaw Blaster (basically a shotgun) will be for you. If you want distance, then try out the Tachyomatic Carbine, which is a devastatingly good machine gun (I personally use this).
Weapon proficiency is a stat that determines much of the usefulness of your chosen firearm. It matters that when an enemy drops a new gun that you check it out and see if it’s better, even if it’s the same type or a different one.
With that in mind, it is best to find a balance. Play around to see what suits your playstyles and make sure that you are getting higher leveled weaponry when one is dropped.
4. Utilize the weird tentacles
One thing that scared the hell out of me when I first played was when I first came across these tentacles hanging from the ceiling in the first biome. They grabbed me, and I didn’t know what to do outside of dashing away from these horrifying things that resemble the Barnacles from Half-Life.
If you look above you, you might notice items on ledges that you can’t reach. That’s where these slimy friends come in handy. Let it grab you and drag you up a bit until you are a good level from your destination. Dash and you will reach that chest or Silphium to heal yourself or whatever else it might be as there could be plenty of goodies waiting for you. All you need is a little help from a terrifying alien.
If you get too high, it will bite you, but don’t worry, as it’s only a small amount of damage.
5. Destroy the purple alien sacks
I wish someone told me this right away as I thought it was a fun little detail to the world where if you run into these purple alien sacks, they explode into goop. I thought nothing about it until hours later where I realized there is a chance of them dropping something useful. Often, parasites are the things that come out, but I have had obolite and malignant come out too.
Usually, you don’t see too many of them, outside of a few instances. So, when you see these, and you are safe, then run up to them. Nothing needs to be done; just run or dash, and it will automatically turn into smush. The drop rate is not great, but you have no real drawbacks from squishing some weird alien sacks as it takes no time or effort.
6. Assess the gamble
Everything you do has a risk to it. A door might provide a treat that will give you a much-needed edge, or it will have a plethora of strong aliens ready to rip Selene’s flesh apart. Playing well is one thing, but you have to be smart to succeed, which if you took away anything from this beginner’s guide for Returnal, it would be that.
7. Use parasites
Please, use parasites when you can. The system involves Selene attaching an alien parasite to her, which grants her unique properties. It always has a pro and con to it, which is why you must read before equipping. Once you assess the risk, then equip and then get whatever assistance you can gather.
The range of usefulness to dangerous ranges pretty far. It can go from increasing proficiency but making the drop rate of malfunctioning items higher, which is a pretty good trade-off as long as you pay attention to whether or not an item will hinder you.
That is it for our beginner’s guide for Returnal. Nothing can fully prepare you for its difficulty, but hopefully, these tips help you out. If you have something useful players should know, then let us know in the comments.