Returnal doesn’t do the best job at explaining different in-game mechanics when players first stumble upon them. Of course, this is by design, as the entire game is brutal by nature.
However, one of the tougher obstacles that some players still haven’t been able to figure out is the lava floor. The seemingly impossible obstacle has stumped even the most experienced RPG players. Luckily for those who are still stumped, there’s an easy method of getting across the floors and not dying as soon as you try to walk through them.
All that’s needed is some in-game progression and one key upgrade.
Walking on lava floors in Returnal
The first prerequisite players need to have to walk on lava floors is to get to Returnal’s fifth biome, Fractured Wastes.
Next, players also need to have an Atropian key in the inventory. If you don’t have one, then you’ll need to head back to the fourth biome, Echoing Ruins, and find one. The keys are relatively easy to find during an entire run as long as you’re heading down each optional route.
The Fractured Wastes in Returnal. (Picture: Housemarque Studios)
Once you’re in Fractured Wastes and have the key, start your run, and eventually, you’ll come across a chamber with four different paths. Three of the paths are required to progress the story but one is optional, which is the one you want to head down by using your Atropian key.
The optional path leads to a room with lava and three platforms. You need to carefully jump on each platform and then use your grappling hook to reach the area beyond the lava. Here, you’ll find the Promethean Insulators sitting on a pedestal on the side of the room.
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The Insulators are what you need to cross lava floors without being killed. Fortunately, the Promethean Insulators are one of the six permanent upgrades that players can acquire in Returnal. So even if you die, the Insulators will stay with you, allowing you to walk on lava floors whenever you want.
For more on Returnal, check out where to turn Datacubes.