Returnal Launch Trailer Shows This Is One Existential Roguelite

Returnal is asking some existential questions while it throws a million bullets at you.


Housemarque's bullet hell rougelite shooter Returnal is out Friday, and the game's launch trailer offers up a taste of what you can expect from its time-loop narrative. If you have seen Edge of Tomorrow, you may have an idea of what to expect, but it has an extra dose of terror thrown in for good measure.

"Time is like a tide," hero Selene says as we watch the dangerous tentacled enemies of Atropos attack and see some brief shots of her past at home. "It pulls us and shapes us, uncovers our secrets hidden deep below the surface. With each rush upon us, it leaves a fresh scar behind. No matter how hard we fight, we can never stop it."

In addition to being a bit of a bummer to think about, Selene's line is also essentially the premise for Returnal itself. As a roguelite game death in Returnal means restarting a run with most of your power-ups and your weapons gone. You need to learn from your mistakes as you push forward, and this is worked into the game's narrative. Another trailer showed Selene finding her own body on the ground.

"Creating our own fate" is at the heart of Returnal, and Housemarque's use of dangerous hazards and projectile-filled shootouts make it still feel like the developer's arcade-style games of old, just with an added AAA sheen and presentation. Selene spends some of the game in a first-person view, apparently to examine her past via a house that looks remarkably like the PT house.

Returnal releases exclusively for PS5 on April 30. You can read GameSpot's Returnal review now and if you're looking to play the game, be sure to check out our essential tips to know before playing it. Lastly, if haven't played Nex Machina yet, do so now. Housemarque's magnum opus thus far, it just might be the best twin-stick shooter of all time.

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