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How to access locked chests in Returnal

Tempting. Tantalising. Taunting. Trapped behind stone bars? Here’s how you access the locked chests in Returnal.

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Tempting. Tantalising. Taunting. Trapped behind stone bars? Here’s how you access the locked chests in Returnal.

Returnal is a game full of mystery. Why does the planet shape-shift? How can you escape the loop? And why the hell is Selene’s 20th-century house slapped right in the middle of this H.R. Giger-inspired hell-scape?

But there are also the smaller mysteries, like the inaccessible chests which taunt players from behind their locked stone cages. And the answer is infuriatingly simple.

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Dotted around every other area in Returnal, chests are easy to find. The blue hue from behind their stone wall prisons is an easy tell, but a quick look at the map will show any nearby chest as a box-shaped icon with a circle in the middle.

But once located, how do you access the locked chests in Returnal?

Returnal locked chest screenshot 01

After finding a chest, it’s simply a matter of uncovering the access switch, which can usually be found on a nearby wall.  These are typically higher up, and can sometimes be a corner away from the chest itself.

Returnal locked chest screenshot 02

Sometimes overgrown roots or foliage can make these a little harder to spot, but the switches will usually stand out with their lighter-coloured square shape and glowing yellow light.

Returnal locked chest screenshot 03

Once you’ve picked one out, it’s a simple matter of shooting the shape – which will glow red when being aimed upon.

Returnal locked chest screenshot 04

After shooting the switch, that’s it! You are free to gather up whatever precious (or damaging) loot Returnal’s locked chests have to offer.


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The most passionate casual gamer about, Aaron is a filmmaking graduate, Premiere Pro aficionado, and film and gaming journalist hailing from the windy realms of Scotland. He loves to split his time between writing articles, hosting his film podcast, producing some top-notch video content and building up a backlog of games he’ll probably never complete.

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