Video SeriesZero Punctuation

Returnal – Zero Punctuation


This week on Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee reviews Returnal.

Want to watch Zero Punctuation ad-free? Sign-up for The Escapist + today and support your favorite content creators!

We have a merch store as well! Visit the store for brand new ZP merch.


When you think about it, aren’t we all trapped in cycles of one kind or another? Cycles of work and sleep, hopefully not at the same time. Cycles of eating creme eggs and shitting them out to make room for more creme eggs. Perhaps there lies a universal truth in the premise of this week’s subject, Returnal, in which the protagonist is trapped in an existentially horrifying cycle of death and resurrection in pursuit of an answer to the overhanging question: is it worth buying a fucking PS5 yet? And the related question, is it finally time to have an interaction with an eBay scalper that doesn’t end with you picking bits of broken teeth out of the treads of your shoes? Well let’s not go nuts. Returnal is, in the simplest possible terms, a roguelite, a game with procedurally generated maps that you have to start from scratch every time you die. Only this is a roguelite with triple-A graphics and financial backing, and as tends to be the case when triple-A gets its cakey fingers into something that indie and retro circles have been playing with since Peter Molyneux still had all his own hair, they’re acting like they fucking invented the concept, why else would they name the game after it.

About the author

Yahtzee Croshaw
Yahtzee is the Escapist’s longest standing talent, having been writing and producing its award winning flagship series, Zero Punctuation, since 2007. Before that he had a smattering of writing credits on various sites and print magazines, and has almost two decades of experience in game journalism as well as a lifelong interest in video games as an artistic medium, especially narrative-focused. He also has a foot in solo game development - he was a big figure in the indie adventure game scene in the early 2000s - and writes novels. He has six novels published at time of writing with a seventh on the way, all in the genres of comedic sci-fi and urban fantasy. He was born in the UK, emigrated to Australia in 2003, and emigrated again to California in 2016, where he lives with his wife and daughters. His hobbies include walking the dog and emigrating to places.