Returnal’s latest update rebalances the endless Tower of Sisyphus

Sony surprised fans with the Returnal: Ascension update in March. Adding campaign co-op and an endless survival mode called Sisyphus’ Tower to the popular roguelike, it was well received and now it’s been adjusted via a new update.

Advertised via Twitter, developers Housemarque confirmed the details of Returnal’s 3.03 update earlier this morning, which has since gone live. Said to rebalance gameplay and fix several bugs affecting co-op play, Housemarque has confirmed that it has also reset the leaderboards for this endless mode, putting everyone on a level playing field.

However, if you’re hoping for a more detailed look at what’s been changed, you won’t find it, not yet. The exact balance changes made in this update have not been confirmed by Housemarque in the full patch notes. As of this writing, version 3.03 has only been out for nearly three hours, which means there hasn’t been much time for detailed breakdowns.

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You can find the full list of bugfixes below:

  • Tower of Sisyphus: Audio log added 94 at an additional location in the tower
  • Tower of Sisyphus: Fixed a rare issue where Algos could refuse to die or die too early in the tower
  • Tower of Sisyphus: Increased ranking scroll speed
  • Cooperative: Fixed several issues where a client or host could experience a black screen or hang when moving between biomes during co-op play
  • Cooperative: Fixed several minor game bugs
  • Cooperative: Fixed two rare crashes in co-op mode
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We don’t know if there will be any more updates to come, although we do have some hints about what’s next for Housemarque. Speaking at the DICE Awards in March, Managing Director Ilari Kuittinen confirmed that the team’s next game will be an all-new IP instead of a sequel to Returnal, stating “it’s the start with we’re starting a new game, new IP, designing it. We’ll see what comes with that.”

Return Key Art - Selene

(Photo credit: Sony)

Return: Ascension gave fans a reason to return

Ascension arrived almost a year after the initial launch of Returnal and although we saw some significant post-launch updates – the 2.0 update added both a save system and a photo mode – the 3.0 became a literal game changer for two reasons.

First, we had Sisyphus’ Tower, a survival mode with increasing difficulty. Once you’ve unlocked the Icarian Grapnel, you can access this new endless mode divided into phases, each with 20 floors and a new boss, Algos. Unsurprisingly, it gets harder with each phase, but thanks to leaderboards and score multipliers, there’s plenty of incentive to try again.

Second, it also introduced two-player online co-op to the main campaign, allowing you to play with friends in private matches or random players publicly. You can’t get too far from your teammate and if another player is downed, your partner has a chance to revive you. Between these two features, fans had a great excuse to replay Returnal.

We had strong opinions about Returnal when it arrived last year, giving it 4.5 stars in our own review. Blending third-person shooters with roguelikes, we called it “the perfect game for those who like a challenge with a bit more behind it. It’s a game of risk, with its unpredictability defining the degree of challenge more than the enemies themselves.”

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