The grappling hook in Returnal, aka Icarian Grapnel, is an item that you can use on the yellow grapple points to reach previously inaccessible areas, as well as move quickly in combat. As you can probably guess, it is an incredibly useful thing to have, but getting your hands on it is no easy matter. At least it’s impossible to miss. In our Returnal Grapple Hook – Use Yellow Grapple Points guide, we’ll show you how to unlock the grappling hook and how to use it.
How to Unlock the Grapple Hook in Returnal
To unlock the Returnal grapple hook and use the yellow grapple points, you first need to unlock the second biome, Crimson Wastes. To do that, you have to defeat the game’s first boss, Phrike. Doing so will reward you with the Crimson Key, which opens the Crimson Gate that leads to, as you’re probably guessing the Crimson Wastes. Incidentally, you get to keep the key in all subsequent runs; it doesn’t disappear when you die.
Once you find yourself in the second biome, play through it until you reach the second boss, Ixion. Once you defeat the creature, you’ll automatically unlock the grappling hook, called Icarian Grapnel. It is an unmissable upgrade, so don’t worry about accidentally looking it over. Do keep in mind that Ixion is a vicious boss, though. It can take to the sky and shoot at you from above, to say nothing of his dive-bomb attack that unleashes waves that you need to dodge or jump across. Good luck.
Once you have the Returnal grapple hook, you can finally interact with the yellow grapple points by facing towards them and pressing Triangle. You can use these in several ways. For one, you can use them to reach higher ground. That way, you can get to previously inaccessible hidden items; in fact, some items can only be found this way, allegedly. However, grappling is incredibly useful in combat, too. You can dodge projectiles, as well as flank enemies or get a better overview from above.