Returnal resources explained: the most important resources to pick up

Returnal resources explained
(Image credit: Sony)
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Looking for a Returnal resources guide? Then you've landed on the right page. The amount of Returnal resources you need to keep track of can be a bit overwhelming but we're here to help.

While there are a few basic collectables in Returnal that you’ll get the hang of quite quickly, there is also a cavalcade of other equipment and items to find and pick up - and it can be hard to work out what each of them does.

As such, you may well be looking for an overview of all of the important resources in the game. In this guide, we’re here to provide just that. We’re going to tell you where to find each Returnal resource and explain what they’re used for. 

Returnal resources explained

Returnal resources explained

(Image credit: Sony)

Every time you kill an enemy in Returnal, you’ll receive bits of Obolite. These small yellow orbs are the game’s main currency. They’re what you use to activate Fabricators so that you can access items and upgrades that help your build. You can also get Obolites from certain chests hidden throughout the world, special statues with yellow eyes and rock formations in the Crimson Wastes. You can also find malignant Obolite stacks in the world, where cracking them open puts you at risk of developing a malfunction.

Silphium is green and it’s what you need to heal in Returnal. Small and Large Silphium orbs will give you your health back, whereas Silphium Resin will add a notch to the meter left of your health bar. Once filled, this will add to your maximum health. You can also find malignant resin which will heal or add a notch to your bar but you also run the risk of getting a malfunction or taking damage.

Ether is the secondary currency in Returnal, and it tracks across your runs. The easiest way to get Ether is to avenge the corpse of another player — you’ll know there’s one nearby when you see “suit signal detected” on screen. You can also find Ether randomly while exploring. You’ll need it if you want to interact with Reconstructor machines, which provide you with a second chance if you die. You’ll also need it to unlock new items from the obelisk outside of your ship. 


(Image credit: Sony)

These blue-hued items upgrade your weapon proficiency when collected. Your weapon proficiency determines the level of weapons that you can find in the world, so it’s well worth picking these up.

Artefacts can be found in chests or fabrication machines. Think of artefacts like items that you can collect to improve your build. Each one will feature a different buff that stays with the player until they die. You will want to collect as many artefacts as possible to make Selene more powerful.

If there’s a red drop left behind when you open a chest or kill an enemy, you’ve found a weapon. Each weapon offers different stats, traits and alt-fire abilities, so choose wisely. The in-game pool of weapons will also grow as you progress through the game

These squirming little creatures attach to Selene’s arm and offer a buff as well as a debuff. To make them fit your build, you should weigh up the pros and cons of any parasite before you pick it up. You can also find special machines that get rid of your parasites for free, though they are quite rare.


(Image credit: Sony)

Datacubes are rare collectable items that can be found randomly in Returnal. They contain blueprints that can unlock artefacts and items, adding them to the permanent item pool. If you find one you will have to unlock it withIn your current run at a Datacube Station, which is also found randomly. We usually see Datacube Stations after defeating a boss. Datacubes are also lost instantly upon death, so be careful when carrying them.

You’ll no doubt run into a few keys as you play Returnal. You’ll need them to unlock red doors and chests that don’t just open when you walk towards them. Malignant keys also exist, where you’ll have a chance of getting a malfunction if you pick them up.

There are hordes of consumables to be found in Returnal, and they’re usually dropped by enemies, crafted in Fabricators or found inside chests. Mapped to the L1 button, you can activate them to benefit from timed buffs. Some will even give you the chance to quickly boost your health when you’re in a bind.

Jordan Oloman

Jordan Oloman is a journalist and documentarian with experience across the pop culture/tech spectrum writing reported features, reviews. news, guides, op-eds and more for a wide variety of outlets. He is also an affiliate streamer on Twitch and have previous experience in scriptwriting, podcasting, game consultation and creating video content.