Returnal Steam Deck performance, best settings, and more

Does Returnal run on Steam Deck? PlayStation 5’s popular roguelike is finally hitting PC this week. And players will be dying to know whether Returnal will have official Steam Deck compatibility. We’ve tested the game on Valve’s hardware and can report back on any problems you may face.

Before you get started, you should look at Returnal’s system requirements. According to Steam, you’ll need a minimum of 16GB RAM and a GTX 1060. However Housemarque recommends something closer to a 2070 Super for decent performance. This is already ahead of what the Steam Deck currently holds, with a GPU similar in performance to the GTX 1050. 

You’ll also need 60GB of space and run it from an SSD, so unfortunately Steam Deck 64GB users are already out of luck. I’ve tried it on my Steam Deck 512GB.

YouTube video

Can you play Returnal on Steam Deck?

In our tests, Returnal on Steam Deck does not run well. If you limit the framerate to 30FPS and turn all graphics settings to low, you can hit 30 frames per second pretty comfortably in areas with no enemies. However, when it gets busier you can expect to drop into 10-20FPS territory. It would sometimes even drop to around 5-10FPS. The battery life sits at around 1h30m for a full charge to completely deplete.

If this was a slower, relaxing game, we’d say that this is manageable. However, Returnal is a fast-paced shooter that requires quick reactions. 60FPS is the target here, with anything less resulting in a poor experience. It is certainly not going to be enjoyable on Steam Deck. Running the game on low settings also makes the game look horrible, which is a shame given how gorgeous it looks on desktop and console.

The Best Action Games To Play Right Now

So can you play Returnal on Steam Deck? Technically, it will run. But it would be a horrible experience. We would recommend you check it out on a desktop PC or PS5 instead, where the game is designed to run flawlessly.

In our review of Returnal, we said: “Returnal is a chaotic delight to play, and fits perfectly with the setup and mindset of a PC gamer.

Featured Image Credit: Housemarque