Mass Effect Andromeda wants you to play alien sudoku. The hows, whats and whys of monoliths and remnant decryption.

Mass Effect Andromeda is littered with Remnant ruins – the scattered evidence of a long lost race of beings, now represented only by shattered, half-buried structures and mechanical automatons.

The Remnant, whatever they were, had access to amazing advanced technology – so alien that none of the races in Mass Effect Andromeda, be they Heleus locals or Milky Way arrivals, can interface with it. Except Ryder, of course, through the magical anchor – whoops! We mean SAM, the AI fused with their brain.

This is really important because each landable planet in Mass Effect Andromeda contains three monoliths which you’ll need to decrypt in order to access the vault, the central control system for all remnant tech on the planet. Once you’ve explored the vault, which you can think of as a sort of dungeon, you’ll increase the planet’s viability – which is good news for everyone. For example, clearing the vault on Eos means you can come back after a few missions and find that annoying radiation has cleared.

Clearing monoliths in Mass Effect Andromeda

To track down monoliths in Mass Effect Andromeda, open your map on any landable planet and zoom out to spot three symbols that look like twisted spires. Click on one to activate and track a quest to activate all three. Once you’ve dealt with them, it’s off to the vault.

Unfortunately, resolving monoliths isn’t just a matter of shooting the baddies who protect it and looting any nearby containers, as with general remnant ruins found all over Mass Effect Andromeda.

For starters, you’ll need to locate any nearby glyphs. Most monoliths in Mass Effect Andromeda require three glyphs to solve. To find a glyph, open your scanner (D-pad down on consoles and G on PC) and examine the ground around the central console. You’ll see a number of glowing wires or paths leading away around the environment.

Track each of these wires from the base of the console to the far end and then scan the glyph they terminate at. This often means clambering all over the structures that surround the monolith. Don’t forget to press the actual scan button once you find the glyph, and be sure there’s no object between you and it when you do so.

Once you track down every glyph attached to a monolith, head back to the central console to begin remnant decryption.

Remnant decryption in Mass Effect Andromeda

With all glyphs scanned, activate a monolith’s central console to begin remnant decryption.

Remnant decryption in Mass Effect Andromeda is basically sudoku, although the grids are usually smaller and the divisions can be all sorts of shapes rather than just squares. The rules are the same, however: you cannot repeat a glyph in any row, column, or division.

If you’ve never played sudoku, there are all sorts of logic tricks to help you solve them. Here are our hot tips for remnant decryption in Mass Effect Andromeda:

  • Find an empty square and click through (“browse”) all available glyphs. Give them nicknames so you can differentiate them easily.
  • Look at the glyphs that have already been filled in. Are there any rows, columns or divisions that are missing just one glyph? If so, you can fill in the blank with whichever glyph is not already present.
  • Count all the types of glyphs and see which one is the most common. If you have three of one kind of glyph and the puzzle board only has four rows and columns, there’s only one place the remaining glyph of that kind can go without conflicting with its buddies.
  • If you find a row, column or division with just two missing glyphs, try both of them in the empty squares. Odds are you’ll see one of them can’t work in one of the spots, which means it has to go in the other.

If all else fails you can override remnant decryption with keys, often found in remnant ruins or sometimes purchased from shops.

Once you’ve completed a remnant decryption at each monolith, you’ll unlock the vault – where more remnant decryption awaits you. You’ll be doing a lot of this in Mass Effect Andromeda, but practice makes perfect.

Read more here: VG247