Roguelites like Returnal can be quite hard to beat since you have to start your run all over again if you’re defeated at any point. The game has a main story that is spread across six biomes, and you spawn back on the crashed ship in the first biome if you’re defeated in any of the first three.
Crimson Wastes is the second biome you’ll encounter in the game, and it’s quite a challenge to get past this since there’s a lot you have to do. The desert-like area is filled with unique hostiles and you have to learn a few things to make it easier to beat them.
Since it’s the second biome, you’ll have to get past the main boss in Overgrown Ruins to get to the area. There’s quite a process to reach this main boss as well. You’ll first have to find the Atropian Sword that can be used to remove the red barrier from a specific room and get an Anathema Key.
With this key, you can enter the boss room and fight Phrike. This boss has both long and short-range attacks. Usually, it’d throw a bunch of orbs in the area, which limits your movement and then dash at you with its weapon. Moreover, the boss has three health bars that you have to deplete before it finally succumbs.
Once Phrike is defeated, you’ll be able to get a Crimson Key. Take this key back to the room where you found the Atropian Sword and fix it inside the portal. The portal will be activated and you can head over to the Crimson Wastes.
Thankfully, you only have to do this process once. If you’re defeated and start over in Overgrown Ruins, you can head to Crimson Wastes as soon as you find the portal rooms since it’ll already be activated. Whenever you go through the portal, you’ll spawn in a little room in a huge desert area.
How To Reach The Mountain
As you enter Crimson Wastes, you’ll see some stairs leading up where you can get a healing item. Moreover, there’ll be a consumable on the pedestal that will let you have a moderate portion of your health back whenever you want. After claiming the items, head through the first door and witness the desert.
Your quest will mention that you have to reach the foot of the mountain, and you’ll see a yellow beacon marking the area as shown above. While it might look like you can simply go past all the rooms by going to the side, it won’t work as the game forms sandstorms when you go out too far and blocks your way.
You have to go through five or six rooms to get to the mountain. There aren’t distinct doors marking the rooms in Crimson Wastes, but you can see when you enter a different room on your mini-map. You will also have some optional rooms marked by a blue triangular door.
In the rooms here, you’ll be going against many enemies including Crimson Turrets, Aetheract, Waste Kerberonyx, and Archonact. All of these enemies are exclusive to the desert area, and you need to know their attack pattern so you can beat them. After going through enough rooms, you’ll reach a path that leads to the mountain.
How To Ascend The Mountain
As soon as you get into the mountain for the first time, you’ll see the room shown above. When you go deeper into the room, a cutscene will play and introduce you to the Severed enemy. This is a mini-boss in Crimson Wastes and you have to defeat him if you want to progress.
After defeating the enemy, you can jump through the different platforms to get to the main doors. Your main objective here is to ascend the mountain. There won’t be the desert open area anymore, and you’ll be back to raiding multiple rooms that contain waves of enemies.
The enemies in Crimson Wastes are quite tough, so it’s recommended to avoid the Vault room if you’re in the biome for the first time. This room is marked with a yellow door on the map and it spawns waves of difficult enemies for a great prize at the end.
Once you’ve crossed enough rooms, you’ll get to a room with two Fabricators. Beyond this room, you’ll find a Translocator in a shape of a blue orb. Upon using this Translocator, a cutscene will play that will show you going higher in the area. You have to ascend the mountain in this way twice before you can reach the top.
How To Find Ixion
As you ascend the mountain for the second time, you’ll see yourself going to a large ring. When you spawn in the area, there will be many platforms far apart from each other. You have to parkour through these platforms to reach the top where you’ll find one of Selene’s bodies with a pistol beside it.
Just like Overgrown Ruins, this pistol is placed to warn you that you’re about to enter the boss room. If you have a better gun, don’t try to switch to this pistol since it doesn’t have anything special that will help you defeat the boss.
Climb in the mountain a little more to stumble upon a giant arena below. Ixion will spawn as soon as you drop in this area, and there’ll be no way out of here until you defeat it. After defeating the boss, you can unlock the Icarian Grapnel permanently, and this will let you get to the portal for the next biome.
Tips To Survive In Crimson Wastes
When you enter Crimson Wastes, your health doesn’t get regenerated. Moreover, the biome takes the longest time because you have to beat a ton of rooms to ascend the mountain. All of this with the enemies around the area make it quite difficult to get past, but here are a few tips that can help:
There are certain yellow auras in front of a statue that takes you to a secret room. These rooms were quite helpful in the Overgrown Ruins, but they can be deadly when it comes to Crimson Wastes. If you’re entering one of these areas, make sure you’re prepared to fight a Malformed enemy.
Most enemies in Crimson Wastes prefer long-range battles. You can’t even reach some of them since they’re so high up in the air. If you want to fight these enemies without losing too much health, it’s a good practice to use different objects as a way to block their projectiles.
It’s even more important to know the weakness of your enemy here. For example, you’ll barely deal any damage to a Gorgolith if you attack its shell. You need to look out for its vulnerable face if you want to defeat it. Similarly, most enemies in this area have a weak spot that kills them quickly.
As mentioned above, you get a consumable that can give you health on demand. Even if you’re quite low on health, it’s recommended to save this consumable for emergencies. The rooms at the beginning of Crimson Wastes are easier, and you can find health items in these rooms easily.
Trap rooms are a major part of Returnal regardless of the biome you’re in, but certain rooms in Crimson Wastes can be deadly. For example, you’ll come across a room with a blue barrier in the early stages. Your dash is disabled when you enter the barrier, and it’s a death sentence trying to beat this room early on.
You’re guaranteed to have the fabricator room before the ascension Translocator, so it’s recommended to save your Obolities since these Fabricators give you a ton of options.