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Returnal: Ascension Gameplay Reveals The Endless Tower Of Sisyphus Mode

Climb a tower of increasingly dangerous threats in the Returnal expansion's challenging new mode.


New footage for Returnal's upcoming Ascension expansion has been released online, showcasing the game's endless tower mode. Described as an ascending gauntlet of increasingly dangerous phases, the Tower of Sisyphus will have its own story components and unique reactions from protagonist Selene depending on how far you are in your own Returnal campaign.

"We wanted to take the strongest elements of Returnal's combat and distill them into a very focused package full of intense action," Returnal game director Harry Krueger explained in the video. "Similar to a lot of the endless modes that we have made in the past, the tower of Sisyphus also tracks your progress from room to room and phase to phase. There's also a score that will measure your success in each round, and in order to get the best possible score you'll have a multiplier that you need to keep alive as well. We felt that this is a great way to add some depth and replayability to Returnal. A familiar package with an entirely new twist."

Ascension also includes a campaign co-op mode that allows you to "share your entire journey through the shifting labyrinth of Atropos" with another player. It'll be available for free on March 23 for all Returnal players.

After releasing Returnal in 2021, developer Housemarque was acquired by PlayStation. The studio is already working on its next game, although this project is still in its infancy. With the security of the PlayStation acquisition, Krueger added at the time that the deal gives the company "a clear future and a stable opportunity to continue delivering on gameplay-centric approaches" as it creates more experimental video game titles.

In case you missed it when it first came out, Returnal earned positive reviews for its blend of challenging bullet hell action, third-person exploration, and roguelike elements.

In our Returnal review, Mike Epstein wrote, "Do you need to be a little brave to play Returnal? Yeah. Do you need to be glutton for punishment? It helps. They say that anything worth doing should scare you at least a little bit. I'm not sure if that's always true, but Returnal makes a strong case."

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