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Returnal Review

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Posted: 15 months ago, last updated 11 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Returnal is a sci-fi shooting game played in repeating rounds that slowly change the world and your character. You are a pilot stranded on a mysterious planet and must investigate and fight through the world to both survive and solve the repeating problem.

Memories of home slip away and the call to take arms grows stronger. With third-person shooting and investigating (both your memories and the alien world), the challenge becomes as much a psychological drama as shooter.

"Over and over, I've relived my first moments on this alien planet. The crash, the attack, my death." But each time it's slightly different, so although trapped there's a puzzle to solve about how to escape the cycle.

It make’s excellent use of the PS5’s DualSense controller and its adaptive trigger buttons to switch instinctively between firing modes. Go straight from aiming down sights to your gun’s alternative fire. Haptic feedback extends immersion of in-game actions big and small – while exploring fragments of Selene’s memories, or when firing visceral alien weapons. The new consoles immersive 3D audio also brings the alien world to life around the player, helping players navigate the intense positional combat.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/04/2021

Platforms: PS5

Genres: Action, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @HouseMarque


Duration: This game will take between 12 hours and 15 hours to complete. Although, because of the nature of the game’s looping runs, this will vary considerably. It's worth noting that a single run can take up to 3 hours and you can't pause or save mid run.
Players: This is a single player game.


Returnal usually costs £69.99 to £79.99.


PS5 £69.99

Returnal Digital Deluxe Edition

PS5 £79.99
PS4 £79.99
Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. There are different versions available to buy:
  • Returnal Standard
  • Returnal Digital Deluxe Edition with extra weapons, consumables, artefacts and boosters. You also get the digital soundtrack.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Rated PEGI 16 because it features strong violence. Violence towards the player’s character is generally non-realistic. For example, when hit by an alien's tentacles, she falls back and then stands up again. However, some violence is more realistic in nature. For example, when the player's character is struck by a series of glowing orbs fired by an alien character, these produce an 'electrocution' effect, with the character's body shaking and falling to the ground.

ESRB TEEN for Blood, Mild Language and Violence. Players use futuristic pistols, machine guns, and rocket launchers against enemies. Combat is frenetic, with realistic gunfire, explosions, and cries of pain. Some alien creatures emit splashes of blood when shot and killed. In one sequence, blood stains appear on an altar that players interact with. The word “*!@?*” appears in the game.

Skill Rating: This game is enjoyed by 14+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity.


On PlayStation 5 the DualSense controller offers detailed haptic feedback about what is happening in the game. There is a very good aim assist option. You can opt to toggle to sprint, scan or interact with "risky" objects. You can also adjust the size of the cross hair. Extensive audio options including one to improves the clarity against all background noises when turned on.
Our Returnal Accessibility Report details 21 accessibility features:

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Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Returnal or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Returnal, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 16 or ESRB TEEN games.

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