Returnal may be an odd—and silly—name for a video game, but Housemarque’s latest project looks set to be its most modern offering yet while retaining its core appeal of hardcore arcade action with a good dollop of rhythm thrown on top. The plot is simple: As an astronaut by the name of Selene, you’re dead. Or you will be, and you have been before.
Confusing? Sort of but not really, as Selene is trapped inside a never-ending point in time where each death resets her back to the starting line of the entire experience. Like some sort of deathly…loop. While the edge of tomorrow beckons, it’ll be up to you to use a new set of skills within the roguelike action game to move a step forward while uncovering the mystery of the white shadow.
Sounds spooky! Here’s a fresh trailer for it:
And if the alien world that Selene is stuck on looks like it was designed to push you to your limits, that’s because Housemarque wants you to be constantly challenged. “Each environment is a special location that has new creatures to encounter, more story to discover and much more,” narrative designer Greg Louden wrote on the PS Blog.
As you can see from the trailer, the Overgrown Ruins is a maze-like oppressive forest, filled with the remnants of the alien civilization that rearranges like a puzzle on every cycle,. In comparison, the Crimson Wastes is an open red desert with new hostile threats and story layers to uncover.
Every location on Atropos shuffles and changes on each death and rebirth, giving Selene and players a new challenge with every replay. Fortunately Selene is very resourceful and can utilise the xeno-tech to find shortcuts, while making permanent progress thanks to certain items that withstand the cycle. Other items also allow her to fight longer and harder with every cycle.
Returnal will arrive on PS5 on April 30. Possibly with a sense of déjà vu as well.
Last Updated: March 17, 2021