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a game by Housemarque Ltd.
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8.5/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 9.2/10 - 5 votes
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See also: Third-Person Shooter Games, Psychological Horror Games, Time Loop Games

When it comes to grand space operas, you’ll likely be in one of two camps. You’ll either think that all the tropes and cliches we have seen throughout the last few decades have milked all they can from the genre. Or alternatively, you’ll be a sucker for these titles and will pray that a video game developer can bring the detail, storytelling and unique aspects that shows such as Firefly have managed down the years. Well, thankfully the game industry hasn’t given up on this genre and Returnal is the next AAA offering aiming to blow us all away.

While we don’t know exactly how this game will play, we do have a rough idea of what the studio is going for. The closest comparisons that we can draw to existing titles are Mass Effect, Dead Space and Lost Planet. But it also has roguelike features akin to titles like Hades or Rogue Legacy. This is an ambitious and promising title but do we think it will live up to the hype? Find out in our review for Returnal.

Seeing In The New Era

One of the things that the next gen gaming platforms have been guilty of has been not offering us with titles worthy of the ‘next-gen’ branding. Thankfully, we might start to see less of this as more flagship titles arrive on the platforms. Returnal is keen to show why it earns the title of next gen through the use of incredible haptic feedback functionality to provide incredible immersive moments. Plus, thanks to the use of the adaptive Dualsense triggers and incredible visual displays on screen, the player can’t help but sit back in awe of what is on offer.

Then with regards to the world-building and the story on offer. We have to say, we are a little more reserved. While in terms of action and spectacle, it is hard to fault this area of the game. We have to say that the story doesn’t do a lot to suck the player in. The worlds on offer to look a quite open, empty and devoid of any interactive aspects or points of interest. Now, we could be wrong here because the info about this game is still limited but from what we have seen so far, we just fear that we could have another Anthem on our hands.

Still Has a Lot to Prove

Then we move onto the combat for this game and it’s the same story as above. From the outside looking in, the combat looks reasonably good and mechanically it all seems to work. However, there were no animations, moves, systems or enemy attack patterns that made us stand back and take notice. The issue here is that while it all looks the part, none of it really stands out or feels unique and in a saturated field like an otherworldly shooter, you need to stand out somehow or face mediocrity.

What we do like about this game is the roguelike nature of the progression and the fact that the area is unmapped. So the player has to get to know their surroundings intimately and the game doesn’t hold your hand to make this possible. It’s definitely a strong point of this title but we feel that without strong core gameplay and a compelling storyline, this game may become stale after a few hours.

The Verdict

Overall, Returnal does show a lot of promise ahead of its full release. The visuals are striking, the Dualsense compatibility is reportedly a step up from anything we have seem outside of Astro’s Playroom. Plus, the combat while not mindblowing does look like its been put together to have some depth and complexity to it.


However, we feel that this game will struggle to keep players invested, the story will fall flat and the shortcomings in various other departments could make this one rather forgettable. In short, this one could be what Anthem could have been, or it might be what it is now. Only time will tell.


  • Visuals are sublime
  • Dualsense functionality is reportedly very strong
  • Combat seems to be complex
  • Unmapped navigation is a fun touch


  • We are sceptical as to whether the story can deliver
  • Combat doesn’t seem to have any unique aspects
  • World design looks very open and empty

Download Returnal


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Returnal is a frantic and dynamic Roguelike, Bullet Hell Third-Person Shooter that won’t give you a rest as soon as you start playing. The game is tough and hard, and it’s not easy to progress here, so it’s not a game for those who love the casual gameplay and find the grinding an annoying thing.

The Plot

The plot of this game seems rather simple at first sight, but it’s filled with secrets and deeper meaning as you progress through the game. You take control of Selene, an astronaut whose ship crashes in Atropos, a planet full of mystical beasts and an ancient culture you’ll discover more of as you play. As Selene starts exploring the place, she discovers that whenever she dies, she’ll return to where her ship crashed, so, in short, she’s trapped in a loop. The mission is to find a way to leave the planet or be trapped there forever, dying over and over again.

Of course, this is one of those games where the plot is more of a background thing that just works for the whole game to have a sense. You can’t expect a narrative masterpiece here, and in this case, it doesn’t matter at all! The story is simple, and it doesn’t need more than that!

The Gameplay

While the gameplay itself is easy to understand, it’s very hard to fully dominate it and it’s mostly because of the monsters and their attacks you’ll discover as you explore Atropos. This game can be pictured as a 3D-like Touhou if you want a comparison. The game traps you as it’s highly addictive!

The weapons are excellent and none of them are useless; everyone can get to be your favorite one if you give it enough time and you unlock the correspondent upgrades to make it work.

It’s fair to say that this game heavily relies on it running fluently on your device; otherwise, it’ll be impossible to play. Anything under 60 fps can complicate the things by a lot, as this is a game where you really need to have sharp reflexes and a calm mind to succeed.

Atropos, a Dark Place

The graphics and the design of this game are top-tier, and this game will be remembered as the perfect game for those who love an excellent sci-fi thriller. Everything has details and there’s not a single thing that shines above the rest in a bad way.

The enemies are perfectly executed and can stick in your mind for a lot of days. Their attacks and bullets shine in tone with the mystery around the ones who execute them, and Atropos is a chilling place to explore.


If you like a challenge, try this one. You won’t regret it. Also, if you don’t like hard games, that’s not a problem; give this game a try too! It has an arcade component that makes the game enjoyable no matter what you like, and the game’s plot, aesthetic, and music will trap you for a long while.

Pros and Cons


  • Everything in this game, from graphics to music, works like a charm
  • The gameplay isn’t unfair and it’s enjoyable
  • The game offers a really harsh challenge, but the reward for completing it makes the grinding worthy


  • You can’t enjoy the title if you don’t have a high-end PC or a console to play it

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

See Also

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