Returnal can be messy, tough, and perhaps a little too uncompromising for a $70 game. And yet, despite the moments of pad-clenching exasperation, it remains a moreish experience even after you’ve plumbed its depths.
Returnal’s cycle begins abruptly. A crashed ship on a mysterious planet. No goals other than to chase a signal called the White Shadow. Only your wits and the discarded pistol of what looks like your own corpse to help you survive. By the time you’ve acquainted yourself with this roguelike’s basics, just about getting a handle of how quickly stranded astronaut Selene can glide through environments, a luminescent monster comes along to body you and start the real task of trying to break out of this Alien-meets-Groundhog-Day nightmare.