Returnal is an action science fiction horror video game developed by Housemarque and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released exclusively for the PlayStation 5 on April 30, 2021. The game is sold on physical discs as well as digitally on the PlayStation Store.
In Returnal, the players take on the role of Selene, a deep space scout working for ASTRA. While on a mission, she defies orders so she can track down a mysterious signal codenamed "White Shadow." Following this signal causes her to crash-land on a planet called Atropos. On Atropos, Selene must face the horrors of a time loop that re-awakens her in the same place every time she dies. Every time this happens, the world changes around her and new obstacles and challenges appear.
Returnal is a third-person action shooter game with elements of roguelite games in terms of the intention of dying and replaying a loop over and over again. The third-person action also incorporates "bullet hell" aspects that have become familiar in prior games developed by Housemarque. As Selene, the player has access to many weapons and abilities to help explore the environment and take on the many dangers found on Atropos.
Apart from the action, Returnal also has storytelling elements which let the players find out more about Selene, the world around her, and what is going on on Atropos.
On March 22 2022, Housemarque released a free update titled Ascension that introduces online cooperative multiplayer, which allows up to two players to complete the game's campaign together. The update also includes single player content named The Tower of Sisyphus, an ascending gauntlet of increasingly dangerous phases, with each containing twenty floors. Additional story content with two new endings is also featured.