Once you slog through the first bit of Returnal, learning how to deal with the inability to save and understanding the game’s mechanics, you’ll stumble across the first boss, Phrike.
The diamond-headed alien is quite an intimidating sight, glowing bright red, boasting multiple arms and an exposed chest. However, after a few tries, players will eventually understand the boss’ intricacies and attacks and defeat them. While this means progress in the story, it also means you get access to one of Returna’s biggest mysteries.
That mystery is a datacube, which is first accessible once you defeat Phrike. The big question with the datacubes is where you can them in, which is explained down below.
Turning in datacubes in Returnal
Datacube processor in Returnal. (Picture: Housemarque Studios)
Datacube will spawn during any given run in Returnal and you’ll need to deliver each one to a device called the Datacube Processor. This is available once Phrike is defeated and every region after holds a separate processor. However, each one only becomes available once that region’s boss is defeated. The game’s first datacube is found after Phrike but each one beyond that can be found at random points.
Once you’re at a processor, you need to insert the datacube and you’ll receive a blueprint of a weapon, artefact or consumable. This is stored in your inventory but, of course, you won’t be holding onto it for long after the currency cycle resets.
Luckily, that blueprint is permanently unlocked for you to find in each run. There are 18 blueprints total that all can be unlocked by inserting datacubes in processors. The processors don’t seem to move in each region, so you can keep inserting datacubes to a region’s processor once you know where it is. For example, if you find a datacube in Crimson Wastes, turn it into that region’s processor.
- Read more: Returnal: How to use the Reconstructor
To find more datacubes, you have to keep running through Returnal. This also unlocks more processors, so the two objectives go hand in hand.