Returnal Tips and Tricks

This guide will show you general tips and tricks, tips for bosses and everything else you need in Returnal. We know that there are people who have a hard time finishing the Returnal game. If you are one of those who find it difficult to finish the game, let’s take you to our Returnal guide.

Updated on 02.23.2023

Returnal Tips and Tricks

Welcome to our Returnal Tips and Tricks guide. In this guide we’ll talk a bit about useful settings, user interface terminology, my preferred weapons that I feel it makes my life easier, items (passives) that are cool and some stuff that the game does not do a great job explaining (or you might’ve missed it)


UI explained

Returnal Tips and Tricks
Returnal Tips and Tricks

Economy pickables

Obolites (yellow) – Main economy resource that you can use to buy items. They drop after killing enemies;

Returnal Tips and Tricks
Returnal Tips and Tricks

Obolite chunk – Found around the map and usually give between 13-15 obolites;

Returnal Tips and Tricks
Returnal Tips and Tricks

Malignant obolite chunk (purple with yellow) – Gives 40-50 obolites when destroyed with melee. It has a chance to give a malfunction to your suit;

Returnal Tips and Tricks
Returnal Tips and Tricks

Silphium (green) – Comes in 3 sizes and heals your HP (integrity) – Low, Moderate and High. This is transformed in resin if you’re full HP;

Silphium resin (green) – Fills up one of the 3 HP slots. When all 3 are filled, your max hp will increase (a second bar that will grow with each upgrade);

[WIP] Tips to have a better time playing Returnal [may contain spoilers]

Malignant silphium (dark purple) – healing/health upgrade item that can cause a malfunction;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Ether (Bright purple) – Economy item used to clean malignant items, offered to certain machines or or steal dead players equipment without avenging them. Can be found on the map, given as reward for completing the daily challenge or reward for avenging dead players bodies;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Other malignant items (dark purple) – Items that when interacted with, usually causes a malfunction on the suit (depending on their chances) and gives restrictions or disadvantages until cleaned; Found on chests or atropian keys;

Weapons (red) – Usually dropped from a miniboss or normal chests

Active consumables (orange) – Found in locked chests, dropped by minibosses or found on the map and can be activated once whenever you need them. They also stack;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Other pickable items

Weapon calibrators (blue) – Item that can increase your proficiency level (or less than a level)

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Atropian keys (blue) – Used to open red doors or chests

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Passive upgrades – Gives an advantage to the player (in stats or abilities)

Weapon proficiency explained

This stat determines the level of the next weapon you will find, as well as it’s bonus stats

  • Can increase when killing enemies
  • Can be maximum lvl.30 in biomes
  • Can go above lvl.30 in the Tower of Sisyphus
  • Guaranteed item when advancing to the next biome
  • Resets after each run (level 0 in Act 1 and level 5 in Act 2)
Adrenaline level explained

Adrenaline increases when you’re killing enemies without getting hit

  • Level 0 – Nothing
  • Level 1 – Enhanced Overload – Increases the reload bar of weapons
  • Level 1 – 1 additional projectile that seek enemies
  • Level 2 – Enhanced Vision – See traces of enemies through the walls
  • Level 2 – 2 additional projectiles that seek enemies
  • Level 3 – Enhanced Melee attack – Not sure what exactly upgrades here
  • Level 3 – 3 additional projectiles that seek enemies
  • Level 4 – 50% more proficiency gain from enemy kills
  • Level 4 – 4 additional projectiles that seek enemies
  • Level 5 – 50% more obolites from enemies and environment
  • Level 5 – 5 additional projectiles that seek enemies
  • Level 5 – One extra hit shield before adrenaline is reset
Minimap elements

Yellow door with a star – Mini-bosses room, also known as containment room; can spawn from 1 to 4 mini bosses, as well as a ton of normal enemies; gives a reward at the end and it’s required to complete to 100% a biome;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks
[WIP] Tips to have a better time playing Returnal [may contain spoilers]

Dot or circle inside triangle doors – This means the door is locked, requiring a key to open it

Dot or circle inside a chest – Same as above but for chests

Environmental lasers, inaccesible places and early navigation

Red moving lasers – You can dash through this without taking damage;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Bright purple static lasers – You cannot dash through this without taking damage;

Orange energy wall/ barrier – Can be destroyed with melee with the Blade Balancer upgrade (I don’t really recommend getting this);

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Vine walls – Can be destroyed with melee. Usually contains healing or currency;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Locked rooms – Can be opened by attacking a hidden lit button; Usually contains weapon chests or other consumables;

[WIP] Tips to have a better time playing Returnal [may contain spoilers]
[WIP] Tips to have a better time playing Returnal [may contain spoilers]

Tentacle vines – They will try to eat you if you don’t dash; Can be used to reach higher platforms in early game (act 1);

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Other machines you can interact with – WIP

  • Machine at the start with a white orb – can give you an item (can also be undiscovered) – WIP
  • Green bed – heals most of your hp and gives a bit of max hp – WIP
  • Red bed – can give an item (?); can damage the player – WIP
  • Parasites sacrificer – WIP
  • Mysterious cubes identifier and scanner thing – WIP

General Tips

What to do

Pick up all the parasites that you find so you can recycle them (you can 100% find one in act 2 before the boss or hub). If you want to feel safe, backtrack and pick them after all the rooms are cleared;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Try to pick up all the obolites of the dead monsters. Try to kill them one by one so you don’t miss any;

Use active consumables, make a habit out of it (I personally forget to use anything besides healing when they can be useful)

Interact early with malignant items, especially with the ones giving malfunctions. It’s usually easy to complete their requirements for fixing; You can stop doing this later in the game if you’re not that sure you can overcome them;

Destroy fauna (mostly found in biome 3 and under water) Some can drop obolites;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Invest time to pick new weapons and research their upgrades. See what kind of weapons fits best for you (more on the weapons chapter below);

If you unlocked the grappling hook try to use it often to create distance between you and the enemies, especially when fighting mini-bosses;

Try to dodge towards a projectile as it grants invincibility frames. Combine it with jumping; (I usually like to jump first)

Try to keep silphium vials for boss fights or you think you might die. Use green consumables around the map as a prio if possible;

You can sleep in the bed in Helios to heal back to full HP;

Don’t worry too much about opening weapon chests, there are plenty. Another option generally known in the community is to open them at the end when your weapon proficiency is high for a chance of better weapons;

What to avoid doing
  • Avoid interacting with malignant items before a boss fight because you don’t have where to fulfill the requirements and it might make the boss fight harder;
  • Don’t go directly to the next biome without exploring everything; it’s a good idea especially if you’re not that good at the game;
  • Avoid going to containment rooms; they’re generally hard and you can easily die
  • Don’t stay in one place as it’s easy to get cornered by enemies;
  • Don’t stay too close to enemies because you will have a less time to react to their attacks;
Stunnable enemies with melee
  • Mycomorph
  • Tentacle dogs [WIP]


My favourite weapons that also gives me the best results (+ their best modifiers):

  • Tachyomatic Carbine
    Leech Rounds – Chance of healing per hit
    Armor Piercing – Projectiles will pierce hostiles and ricochet off surfaces
    High Caliber – Higher damage at the expense of fire rate
    Rising Pitch (best combined with Leech Rounds) – Fires faster the longer the trigger is held
    Hardened – Increases Protection
  • Hollowseeker
    Portal Beam/Turret – Creates a projectile-firing portal that targets nearby hostiles
    Waves – Creates a projectile-firing portal that targets nearby hostiles
  • Thermogenic Launcher
    Full auto – Fires at full-auto mode
    Obolite Magnet – Chances to automatically gather Obolite from killed hostiles
  • Electropylon Driver – Honorable mention – Fires some persisting lasers that stick to enemies; Good to focus on dodging enemies/bosses attacks rather than actively shooting; Fire a few shots once in a while; Also haven’t use it much to see which modifiers are the best.
  • Other weapons and why I rarely use them
  • Spitmaw Blaster – This one is in the middle to be honest. Has really good damage, even rate of fire if you’re lucky but it doesn’t do that good in long range and it can make you more open to attacks since you have to get closer;
  • Dreadbound – Insane damage. Unlimited ammo. The trick is to be close to the enemies because it has a 3 boomerang bullet type meaning that if you use it at long rage you can make a cup of coffee and the bullets will still not return to you in time. 

Upgrades & Items

Upgrades that every struggling player should have

Astronaut Figurine – Can respawn you with ~50% HP after you die

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Phantom Limb – Eliminating hostiles with a 10% chance to repair integrity

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Warped Rubber Ball – 5% more repair efficiency per ether carried (caps at 50%)

[WIP] Tips to have a better time playing Returnal [may contain spoilers]

Integrity Augument – 25% to your max HP

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

10% more damage

  • Protection Augument – consider picking this up if you can afford it, especially since some mini bosses and later stages enemies can damage you really really bad (can’t remember how many times I got suprised and got instant killed);
  • Integrity Circuit – gains max integrity when fixing and gaining malfunctions – Perfect!
  • Damage Augument – Always nice to have, especially if you feel like your damage is underwhelming;

Nice consumables for a dark day

  • Silphium vials (heals on use) – Vital for backup for any boss fight or later stages – Guaranteed to be found after fighting the boss and going to the next area
  • Apex sphere (instant 5.0 adrenaline) – self explanatory, good for that extra damage, seeing through walls and extra obolites
  • Shield Vial (protection for one hit) – Can be used after your hit from 5.0 adrenaline goes away


There are three secrets around the biomes, as far as I know:

Secret rooms – These can contain obolites, chests with weapons, passive/active items, mini-bosses or surprise monster spawns! Enter at your own risk;

Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks
  • Glowing eyes statues that drop obolites if destroyed; They seem to drop around 12 obolites.
  • Act 2 – Biome 1 – Echoing Ruins – Area filled with ~200 obolites hidden in all the green plants. Make them meet your sword
    100% has a lot of obolites hidden in the fauna (~200)
    100% a shop that sells 1 item
    100% at least a consumable or a blue item (upgrade or key)
    High chance of having lasers guarding the mini shop; if they’re red, don’t worry about it. But take care if they’re purple. I have died like 5 times going in and out of that place
    High chance of having 2 or 3 strixeras (the blue flying thing with tentacles)
    Can have 1-3 chrysoids (golden creatures things)
    These descriptions along with some screenshots should help you spot it in your runs


Optimised settings – Digital Foundry provided some optimised graphic settings for 2060 Super (Day 0, no patches) for less to none stuttering;

  • RT Reflections: OFF
  • RT Shadows: OFF
  • Volumetric FOG: High
  • Ambient Occlusion: Medium
  • Model Quality: Epic
  • Particle Quality: High
  • Shadow Quality: High
  • Lighting Quality: Epic
  • Texture Quality: Epic (8GB Vram)
  • NV: DLSS | Intel: XeSS | AMD: DBS/VRS/FSR
  • Other settings:
  • Enable one click run (instead of keeping the button pressed)
  • Make crosshair bigger
  • Play around with the sensitivity

Written by jOj

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