Returnal Is Looking Like A Souped Up Risk Of Rain

Returnal Is Looking Like A Souped Up Risk Of Rain
Image: Returnal (PlayStation)
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Does the idea of a gorgeous, sci-fi 3D roguelike third-person shooter sound good? Well, now that we’ve seen more of what Returnal looks like, that’s pretty much what you’re in for.

A video of the game’s combat systems was published by the official PlayStation account recently. Returnal‘s a pure PS5 exclusive, so it’ll only be available on the Sony platform (and not for PS4) when it drops on March 19.

And now that we’ve had a bit more footage from the game, it’s a pretty easy sell. Housemarque games always had a wonderful beat and rhythm to them — Matterfall, Alienation and Nex Machina were all great bites of fast-paced brilliance.

And if you’re a Housemarque fan, you’ll see lots of elements from the studio’s action games in the latest Returnal trailer. There’s the random attributes (buffs or debuffs) that you can equip by finding parasites throughout the in-game world. There’s pillars that give you short-term buffs, not too dissimilar from what you’d see in a Diablo game.

There’s gadgets to help deal with the groups of enemies that you’ll run into, like a ground spike that impales the nearest enemy. We also got a very short look at how Returnal‘s levelling system works — at 1:52 below you can see how the player gains an extra proficiency level after landing a few melee blows on an enemy.

It’s all looking like a slightly creepier, crisper, funkier take on the 3D roguelike action we get from titles like Risk of Rain 2. And that’s excellent. More people should play that game, and I’d totally love to see more devs dabble in that space. The only thing I’m missing about Returnal, really, is the lack of co-op. It looks like it’d be amazing to play with a friend or two, but right now, the game is solo only according to the official listing.

The trailer also has what looks like pieces of story content, or bits from cut scenes. I’m curious to see whether Housemarque has done a Hades and found a clever way to stretch their storyline out across multiple runs, giving people reason to continually re-finish the game just to uncover more of the world. That’d be especially handy in a creepy, mysterious adventure like this.

Returnal is out for the PlayStation 5 on March 19.


  • It’s funny, when I watched some of the dev blog videos showcasing combat, my first thought was ‘If Anthem were a bullet-hell shooter.’

    The art direction just shares so much in common with Anthem it’s not funny.

  • I like the look of this game but I must admit I am a bit put off by the price. I guess the assumption on that price is the game is very robust and full of content, you would hope so at least.

  • Is this timed? Bit unusual for a 3rd party Dev to be fully exclusive. Unless Housemarque is owned by Sony and I haven’t seen it

    • It’s hard to know when it comes to publishing deals with Sony.
      Sometimes it’s just a basic publishing role and other times that role is just a smaller part of a much bigger deal.

      • Varies on the project I’d say – the better the pitch the more risk and upfront $$ Sony would be willing to put up. Would also matter what else there is in the pipeline, if we’re talking PS5 exclusives.

    • Housemarque are independent, but they have a history of PS exclusives. Super Stardust HD (although that was based on Stardust that they made for the Amiga and Atari ST back in the 90s), Dead Nation, Resogun, Alienation, Matterfall. They released Nex Machina for PC in addition to PS4, but other than that I don’t think they’ve done a real cross platform game since Outland, about 10 years ago.

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