There are a lot of interesting, and sometimes confusing, mechanics in Returnal, the latest roguelike shooter from developer Housemarque. One of those is the reconstructor, a device that randomly appears on each of Selen’s cycles across Atropos. But what exactly does a reconstructor do in Returnal, and why should you seek one out?
A reconstructor is equivalent to a checkpoint in Returnal. These are large circular statues with a horned Xeno form imprinted in the middle. Walk up to them and press “triangle” to activate them.
Returnal Reconstructor Explained
Once activated, you’ll see a cutscene and be able to continue on your run. You’ll then return to the reconstructor when you die, saving some of your progress through a biome, whether that’s the Overgrown Ruins or the Fractured Wastes.
Reconstructor locations are completely random, though they’re most often found behind the blue, triangular side-path doors on the map. Some of these devices will be deep within a biome; some will be relatively close to the beginning of a level. It all depends on Returnal‘s RNG and how each biome is procedurally generated in a particular cycle.
How to Use a Reconstructor
To use a Reconstructor, you’ll need ether. Each reconstructor “charge” costs 6 ether. You find ether randomly in each of Returnal‘s biomes; it appears as a purple drop in the environment, and it is often already on the ground once you enter an area. You do not lose ether when you die and return to the Helios crash site.
When you die after charging a reconstructor, you won’t lose your weapons or upgrades as you normally would, letting you continue your cycle without much penalty, sans the loss of ether. On top of that, any enemies killed between the reconstructor location and where you died will remain eliminated if you’ve already killed them.
It’s also worth noting that reconstructors can only be used once per run. Once you’ve died and resurrected, you won’t be able to charge that particular reconstruction for the rest of the cycle. You can find other reconstructors in other biomes, and use them as checkpoints, should you live to reach them.
That’s the skinny on the Returnal reconstructor. It’s a handy, if expensive, device that can save a run — and hours of playtime. For more tips on Housemarque’s latest shooter, such as how to get the Icarian Grapnel and how to get past orange energy barriers, consider heading over to our Returnal guides hub for more.