Box art - Returnal

Returnal Grappling Hook: How to get Icarian Grapnel

As soon as you make any real headway into Returnal, you’re likely to notice glowing orange spots on high ledges. You’ll probably imagine there’s a way get up there with a tool you don’t have yet, and you’d be right. As it turns out, Returnal does have a grappling hook you can use to reach new areas. It’s called the Icarian Grapnel, and you’re going to have to put in some work to acquire it.

How to get the Icarian Grapnel grappling hook in Returnal

How to get the Icarian Grapnel grappling hook in Returnal

You’ll get the Icarian Grapnel grappling hook after defeating Ixion, the boss of the Crimson Wastes biome. However, you’ll need to defeat Phrike, the first boss in Returnal, before you can reach the Crimson Wastes.

While that sounds simple enough, Returnal throws a lot of information at players in the first few hours. It can all be a bit confusing. Basically, you’ll need to advance through the game until you find and defeat the second boss. However, that involves finding and using several key items.

Luckily, we can help keep things simple. Follow these basic instructions in order to fight Ixiom and acquire the grappling hook:

  1. Explore the Overgrown Ruins until you find the Atropian Blade, which is used to destroy Xenotech barriers
  2. Use the Atropian Blade to destroy the barrier blocking access to the Anathema Key
  3. Open the Anathema Vault using the Anathema Key
  4. Defeat Phrike to earn the Crimson Key
  5. Use the Crimson Key to access the Crimson Wastes
  6. Finally, find and defeat Ixion to get the Icarian Grapnel grappling hook

Once you’ve defeated Ixion, the grappling hook will be added to your inventory as permanent equipment. After that, you’ll be able to use the Icarian Grapnel to reach high ledges simply by pressing the Triangle button. Any orange glowing spot can be grappled to, and using the area scanner will highlight any possible grapple points.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to unlock the grappling hook in Returnal immediately. You will find grapple points in the first biome, but you won’t be able to use them until you get the Icarian Grapnel from the second biome. Luckily, you can’t miss it — you’ll get the grappling hook as part of the game’s natural progression.