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Specific tags for the title's features


Similarity & Review


Multiple Sources


Compared to VS. Not a review!

Similarity Scale

Percentage of possible points earned scored -1 to 1 in tenths in 60 categories

Genre Controls Modes Progress Builds Stages Content Aesthetic Vibe



Very Different. Perhaps you want a lot more action challenge and AAA graphics. Third-Person Shooter Rogue-Lite, might scratch some of the same itches but very bullet hell compared to heaven. You see it mentioned on reddit an it's not an out of the line recommendation, because it does really pull you into another short run and you can certainly see a lot of bullets on screen at once. It's a great game, but not particularly similar at all in the movement categories.

Bullet Hell Dungeon Crawler Roguelite Roguevania Story Rich Third-Person Shooter
6.2 Combined Ranking Score
51/72 Ranking Position
1170/1600 Total Points
9.2 Final Review
81% Steam
10.0 Scale
9.5 Vibes
3116 Steam Reviews
376/400 Review Points
3.2 Similarity Score
66% Diagnosis:
Very Different
794/1200 Comparison Points
55% Genre 0.8/8 genre
7% Simple Controls -6/7 move
50% Survival Modes 0/4 modes
60% Power Progression 0.8/4 level
64% Buildcrafting Depth 1.4/5 build
100% Stage Features 7/7 stage
92% Content Breadth 7.5/9 stuff
68% Aesthetics 2.2/6 style
82% Gameplay Vibe Check 6.4/10 vibe vibe

Returnal Ranking Notes

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Scaling and Review Notes

Personal Hours Played: 8.0

Every game ranked was played, but also scaled based on research, talking to developers & your feedback. The priority with the scale's initial design was to compare similarity on relatively objective features - so it doesn't claim to include reviews of the depth and clarity you'd get at a games journalism site, nor the intensive time played you might get from player reviews on steam. We try to incorporate and link all of that along with a 'review scale' that checks for bugs. See the heatmap and breakdown! Time played noted so you can take any notes with a big grain of salt! I can't get to high level gameplay in 850+ games so I heavily research every game. Over 80 game creators let me interview or survey them! I Hope to go back and refine. Please argue or submit your own scores and reviews to be incorporated with credit into the notes and score numbers.

Added or last checked on 10/16/2023

Third-Person Shooter Rogue-Lite by Shmup Legends Housemarque, might scratch some of the same itches but very bullet hell compared to heaven. Mostly played on PS5.

This sometimes gets suggested and it's a fun one, but very different in many ways.

I haven't gotten good enough at it to see any bullet heaven overclocked builds personally.

Popular game so you can look up youtube videos.

Returnal Similarity Scale Heatmap

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Measured in 60 categories via likert-scale style options -1 to 1 in tenths, how does this game compare to Vampire Survivors. This allows 1200 total "points". It's easier to have a point of comparison and we just picked Vampire Survivors since it's the most popular and commonly referenced game in the subgenre. For detailed methodology read the explainer. For in depth examples at score value, see the scoring guide and for term definitions see the key.

3.2 Similarity Score
66% Diagnosis:
794/1200 Comparison Points
Rogue-lite 1/1
Auto-Fire / Auto-Battle -1/1
Real Time 1/1
Top Down or Isometric -0.9/1
Direct Control of Single Avatar 1/1
Arcade Style 0.4/1
Bullet Heaven A (Many Player Bullets) 0.3/1
Bullet Heaven B (Few Enemy Bullets) -1/1
One Handed Play (w Controller) -1/1
Move Only -1/1
No Dash -1/1
No Trigger -1/1
No Special Move -1/1
No Aiming -1/1
No On-Aim / On-Fire Movement Penalty 0/1
Timed / Boss Ended Survival -1/1
Endless Mode 0.8/1
Organic / Unannounced Waves 0/1
High Enemy Count (Horde) 0.2/1
Level Up on XP Gain Event 0/1
Streamlined Level Choices (Simple UI) 0/1
Currency Based Meta Unlocks 0.2/1
Goal Based Meta Unlocks 0.6/1
Build Crafting 0.3/1
Weapon Combination / "Evolution" 0.5/1
Interesting Item / Weapon / Ability Synergy 0.5/1
Broken / Invincible Builds Possible 0.1/1
Explorable Map 1/1
BIG Maps 1/1
XP on Ground 1/1
Health on Ground 1/1
Temp Powerups / Items on Ground 1/1
Treasure Chests and/or Loot Events 1/1
Vendor / Merchant on Run 1/1
Enemy Variety 1/1
Bosses / Elites 1/1
Many Interesting Characters 0/1
Many Challenges 0.5/1
Multiple Stages 1/1
Difficulty Modifiers 1/1
Bestiary / Lore 1/1
Achievements 1/1
Secrets 1/1
Retro / Pixel Art -1/1
Damage Numbers 1/1
Lofi Charm 0/1
Bumpin Music 0.2/1
Fun Writing 1/1
Subtle Humor 1/1
Panic & Zen Duo Vibe 0.1/1
Over the Top 0.3/1
"One More Run" / Short Runs 1/1
Difficulty Ramp 1/1
Fun Ramp 1/1
Low Price -1/1
Technical Check 1/1
Controls Check 1/1
Fun Check 1/1
Feels like VS 0.3/1

Returnal Review Scale Heatmap

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The review scale is judged from -1 to 1 in 10 categories, with 200 possible "points" earned. Steam review positive percentage is worth another 100 points, and a "ten point" pure vibe review number adds extra subjectivity. Converted into points, that's 400 points total. The points aren't used directly in the ranking, though, which averages the three number scores for the final review score listed in the game line above.

9.2 Final Review
81% Positive Steam Reviews
3116 Steam Reviews
9.5 Pure Vibes
10.0 Review Scale
376/400 Review Points
Not Buggy 1/1
Not Janky 1/1
Good UI 1/1
Controller and Deck 1/1
Lots of Content 1/1
Good Theme 1/1
Good Graphics and Sound 1/1
Fun Feel 1/1
Unique Twists 1/1
Vibe Check 1/1

Metacritic Scores

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This title has metacritic data! The "fuck the man" score is adjusted so each person's review is equally weighted, regardless of critic or fan status.


8.6 Converted 10 Point Score
47 Number of Critic Reviews


6.7 User Review Average
188 Number of User Reviews


7.7 Direct Average
7.1 "Fuck The Man" Combined Mean

Returnal Tag Cloud

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More sortable taxonomies and categories associated with the game (genre tags are available in the main game table line!) We've just started adding tags to enable more sorting options, this section will get more filled out as we go!

Release Tags

EpicPS5Steam DeckWindows PCReleased

Sorting Categories

Very Different

Genre and Control Style Tags

Bullet HellDungeon CrawlerRogueliteRoguevaniaStory RichThird-Person Shooter

Aesthetic Tags


Setting / Story Tags

DungeonsSci-fiTime Loop

Control Styles


Game Mode Tags

Dungeon CrawlEndless Mode90m

Features and Extras

SoundtrackSteam AchievementsSteam Cloud


Climax StudiosHousemarquePlaystation Studios

Game Features

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Listing various features we've got info on.


  • Local: No
  • Online: No
  • Player Count: 1
  • Leaderboards: ?

Steam Features

  • Steam Cloud: Yes
  • Steam Achievements: Yes
  • Steam Leaderboards: No
  • Steam Workshop: No
  • Steam Trading Cards: No

Extras, Etc.

  • NSFW: No
  • Demo Available: No
  • DLC Available: No
  • Soundtrack Available: YouTube Amazon Spotify Apple Retail (LP)

Marketing Blurb

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Some description of the game and its features from the creators.

"Fight to survive as this award-winning third-person shooter brings Selene’s story to PC. Take on roguelike challenges. Engage enemies in bullet hell-fuelled clashes. Share your journey through Returnal™ with another player."

Game Modes

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Dungeon Crawl Runs
(Story Act 1 & 2)

Endless Dungeon Crawl
(Tower of Sisyphus)

Game Mode Notes

Minor spoilers: For game modes there's story act 1, story act 2 and the tower. The tower is an endless climbing mode that gets progressively more difficult. It features a unique boss and weapon consumables. Co op is available for the story but not the tower.

Run Times & Speedups

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Average Run Time: 90m

Run Time Notes

Via HollowSeeking on Discord: "Run time varies, you can complete a story cycle in well under an hour. Speed runners can do fresh file runs in well under an hour. A full clear story act on replay is around one hour depending on thoroughness and play style. I usually take 1.5 hours but I'm slow, thorough, and easily distracted. First playthrough can take much longer. 8 hours, 20, 60 hours, it varies by a huge margin."

Speed Settings

There's no clock speed up. You can run past battles but enemy and projectile speeds stay the same always. Some weapons you can get traits for or stat investments that speed up things like fire rate. Some other gameplay mechanics can impact run speed. So run time may vary, but you can't use a menu option to change game speed or timed goals.

Home » Returnal

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