For those players doing any kind of research on Returnal, it is highly likely that it has been compared to another recent hit game, Hades. These comparisons aren't without merit, as although both games are vastly different from one another in terms of actual gameplay and style, they share a lot of elements thanks to their common ground as roguelite experiences. Both games also are heavily influenced by Ancient Greek mythology, albeit one a bit more covertly than the other, and this creates some more interesting parallels. Notably, eagle eyed players might have noticed that both games practically share the same major currency, the Greek Obol.
Returnal and Hades are two very different games on the surface. In the former, players find themselves stranded on an alien planet, beset by all manner of horrific monsters and trapped in an endless time loop. On the other hand, Hades places players in control of Zagreus, a Cthonic God hellbent on escaping from the Underworld. Rather than sci-fi guns and laser swords, Zagreus uses more traditional weaponry for the most part. While Returnal's Selene is doing battle with hostile alien fauna, Zagreus instead finds himself embroiled in combat with shades, mythical monsters, and ancient demigod heroes.
In Hades, players will collect a great deal of Charon's Obol as they hack and slash their way up and out of the Underworld. This currency can be traded with Charon himself in return for more godly boons, healing items, and other collectibles. The trick here is that if the player dies or even if they complete the run and successfully escape the Underworld, all of the Charon's Obol that they collected are removed. In the game it is implied that Charon takes them back because they are not permitted within the House of Hades or that they are simply lost.
These are a direct reference to the Greek Obol, an actual currency used in Ancient Greece. While the Obol was a standard form of currency in that age, Charon's Obol referred to a golden coin that Ancient Greeks would place in the mouth of a deceased person before they were buried. This rite was performed because it was thought that one would have to give an Obol to the boatman Charon in order to secure passage to the Underworld. Without an Obol, souls would instead forever be trapped on the other side of the river, unable to start their afterlives.
Early on in Returnal, players will come across their first bit of Obolite. This currency will be extremely important for getting through each of the increasingly difficult biomes, and it has many uses as well. Just like Charon's Obol from Hades, though, players will lose all of their Obolite if they die or if they successfully escape Atropos. This encourages them to spend it whenever they can rather than holding onto it. Although players don't have any kind of ferryman here to trade their Obolites with, Fabricators found throughout Atropos can use it as an energy source to create artifacts, consumables, and other power ups.