Data Cubes are special items in Returnal, that can be found scattered throughout all biomes in the game. A Data Cube contains encoded data that upon insertion into a Data Cube Processor, will convert into an item to be added to your item pool, and will make it available to be found in future runs. This guide will cover how Data Cubes work, where to find them, and where to deposit them.
Where to Find the Data Cube Location in Returnal
Returnal, being a roguelike, will have randomly distributed Data Cube locations, changing each run. In the starting biome, for example, there will always be a hidden room with a fake wall, behind which you can find a cube. Though the location of said hidden room will change by the run, so keep an eye out for a large cracked wall as you play through. An important thing to note is that you can only ever carry a single Data Cube at a time, as it occupies a unique slot in your inventory. So once you’ve got a cube held, you’re going to want to prioritize decrypting it in a processor. If you attempt to pick up a second one, it will drop it for the first, but you can always circle back around to grab it again later.
Luckily, Data Cube Processor locations are not randomized. The first one, however, is accessible only after you’ve defeated the first biome’s boss, so you are really going to have to put the work in to deposit your first Data Cube. In the room that follows the boss room, you can find the datacube processor, which will appear as a large stone pillar with a small square cutout.
Provided you made it here with your cube intact, you can interact to deposit it and claim your item. If you lost it along the way, you can usually find another one somewhere in this same area after the boss, so you can find and decrypt that one instead, or pick it up and decrypt it after you do the first one.
There are 18 total items to collect from Data Cubes. Upon decrypting it, you’ll be given one of those items immediately, then that same item will be eligible to spawn in chests and at fabricators throughout the game on future runs, so Data Cube decryption is imperative in clearing your way through Returnal.
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