Housemarque’s new roguelike, Returnal, is out now on PS5 and includes several mechanics found in the developer’s previous games. In many ways, it’s the culmination of everything Housemarque’s been working toward over the past decade with Resogun, Nex Machina, and Matterfall. Alongside precision dodging, bullet-hell combat, and unique, upgradeable weapons, Returnal brings over another staple of those games: the lack of a manual save function.
Like many other roguelikes, Returnal sets you back at the beginning when you die. While it does keep some of your progress, such as key story items, dying means you lose the weapons and mods you’ve acquired, your artifacts, and your consumables. This is the nature of the genre, but runs in Returnal can be very long — upwards of several hours for some players.
It took me 45 minutes to get through the first biome, for example, and I had to quit my first run in the second area, Crimson Wastes, ultimately giving up on my progress because of a few other, more pressing priorities. Again, the nature of the genre beast, but nonetheless demoralizing.
Because of those run lengths, some players have begun asking Housemarque to patch in a proper save function for Returnal. And the developer has said they are listening. First spotted by Eurogamer, Housemarque replied to a Reddit post about players’ inability to save Returnal and come back to a run later.
“We hear the community and we love you all. Nothing to announce now, but keep playing and enjoying the challenge as you can!”
— Housemarque (@Housemarque) April 30, 2021
As pointed out by Eurogamer, Returnal does feature a pseudo-save system via checkpoints. These are made possible by a device called the Reconstructor, which can be found randomly in Returnal‘s procedurally-generated levels. There’s no guarantee one will appear in a player’s specific world — or that they have the patience to uncover it across multiple winding paths. On top of that, players need to have farmed enough Ether to use the Reconstructor, which only allows for one checkpoint per run.
Whether Housemarque ultimately includes a normative save function in Returnal remains to be seen. The developer didn’t yet officially commit to including one in future updates and patches, though they are certainly contemplating the idea, it seems.
Returnal has received mostly positive reviews from critics, garnering an 86 on Metacritic across 89 reviews and a “Mighty” on OpenCritic across 92 reviews. We’ll have our full thoughts on Housemarques roguelike next week, so stay tuned.