Returnal – Ixion boss battle guide

How to beat Returnal's second boss battle.

Ixion is the second boss in Returnal, found in the Crimson Wastes at the top of a mountain. It’s a winged menace that uses its abilities of flight to attack you from multiple directions. As with the other bosses, it has three health bars, with its attack changing as you deplete each one in turn.

For our money, this boss battle isn’t as challenging as Phrike. You should be much more familiar with Returnal’s bullet hell gameplay, have gained higher Weapon Proficiency for more powerful guns, and taken the opportunity to increase your max Integrity (health bar).


In this guide:

Ixion Boss Battle – Best Weapons, Consumables and Artefacts

Best Weapons

Your pool of weapons has expanded the first time you enter the Crimson Wastes. Again, your best bet is to have a powerful mid-ranged weapon, and alongside the Tachyomatic Carbine there is now also the ultra-fast firing Hollowseeker. The Modified Sidearm SD-M8 is also still an option.

You will also have had a chance to unlock weapon traits. High Caliber on the Carbine will reduce its fire rate for more damage, while Slug Shot makes the Spitmaw shotgun a more viable option, if you can land the single powerful slug shot.

Of the alt-fire modes, Trackerswarm and Horizontal Barrage are still reliable, as is the new Voidbeam laser attack, but we feel the grenade-like Blast Shell attack is less relevant against a flying enemy, and the close range Shockstream remains tricky to use.

We’d stick with the Hollowseeker on this occasion.

Best Consumables

You will now have two consumable item slots. Try to have a Silphium Vial for health and Apex Sphere to get up to Adrenaline Max if you are hit. The Anti-Energy Pulse can create a barrier that blocks incoming projectiles, but is visually rather disruptive.

Best Artefacts

Make sure to explore the environment fully to pick up as many Artefacts as possible. Again, the Astronaut Figurine is great, as it revives you in place if you are downed. Other useful Artefacts include Recharging Overload (Overloads reduce Alt-Fire Cooldown by 3s), Golden Coil (Grants +5% Weapon Damage for every 200 Obolites carried), and Fractal Nail (Grants +10% Weapon Damage while you have a Malfunction).

Ixion Boss Battle Tactics

Ixion is much more mobile than Phrike and has attacks that spread both horizontally and vertically, but this means that there’s often more time between its attacks. Again, the principles remain pretty similar. Stay at a distance to allow slow moving projectiles to spread and let you move around without using a dodge, and time your dash move to avoid faster attacks.

Whenever Ixion is visible, keep on firing and use your weapon’s alt-fire as much as possible.

Ixion Attacks and Stages

Ixion’s attack patterns grow over the course of the fight as you deplete each of its three health bars.

Ixion Stage 1 Attacks

  • Projectile spread (medium) – Ixion hovers above the circular arena and spews out a spread of blue projectiles in your direction. Move horizontally to avoid the messy square of projectiles heading your way.
  • Dash with projectile burst (slow) – Ixion dashes to a new position on the map, creating a burst of slow moving blue projectiles that spread out in all directions. Only a handful will be heading your way, so this is easy to avoid.
  • Spiral projectile cone (medium) – Ixion creates a widening cone of blue projectiles targeted on your position. Move to the side quickly to avoid but (if necessary) dash back inside the cone to avoid being hit.

The cone of projectiles is easy to dodge.

Ixion Stage 2 Attacks

Stage 2 is when Ixion really starts to flex its wings. Immediately after its first health bar is drained, Ixion will shoot up into the sky.

  • Red ground pulse (medium) – Ixion shoots up into the sky and lands with a thud, creating a medium speed pulse on the ground. Hop over it.
  • Blue energy pulse with projectiles (slow combo) – Ixion lifts an arm to the sky and draws a beam of energy to create a (seemingly) non-damaging blue wall, followed by a spread of ground-level blue projectiles and a burst of airborne projectiles. There will be three of these in succession. Jump over the blue wall (or risk it not doing damage) and dodge to a space between the projectiles each time.
  • Flying projectile cone attack (medium-fast combo) – Ixion disappears into the sky and then swoops down quickly across the arena creating a blue wall and a spiral projectile cone. Move away from this attack and then jump/dodge back toward the middle as necessary.
  • Blue projectile stream (fast) – Ixion hovers and fires a stream of projectiles you way. Strafe to the side and blast it!
  • Blue projectile sweep (fast) – Ixion hovers and creates a sweeping wall of blue projectiles across the arena. Keep a distance and jump/dodge through to avoid damage.
  • Blue vertical laser & missiles (fast combo) – Ixion flies to the edge of the arena and draws in energy to create a vertical laser sweep, before releasing darts in all directions that target your position. Strafe to one side and keep moving. Change direction or dodge if necessary.

Ixion layers blue projectile attacks in its second phase.

Ixion Stage 3 Attacks

Ixion mixes things up again for Stage 3, forgoing the Stage 2 attacks and now using its right arm for ground-level attacks.

  • Blue energy pulse with projectiles 2 (slow combo) – The same as the first combo attack, but now replaces the all-direction projectiles with a diagonal disc of projectiles.
  • Leaping melee (fast combo) – Ixion screams before leaping toward you and releasing a local burst of red projectiles at the point of impact. This is followed up by a melee dash that also unleashes a head-height energy pulse. Very difficult to avoid damage, but dash to try and quickly regain distance.
  • Red ground pulse x3 (fast) – Ixion slaps the ground three times, creating a trio of energy pulses and some red projectiles near where it’s stood. Try to maintain distance and hop over the pulses.

Watch out for melee attacks as Ixion stays on the ground through most of Stage 3.

Right, that should be Ixion done and dusted, and what’s this? A new grappling hook toy to play with? Nice one.

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