Ever since the nascent dawn of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (opens in new tab), Battle Royale has skyrocketed into the centriole of mainstream culture, and opportunist developers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon and hastily throw up their own take on the battle royale genre, where a large number of players are dropped into an increasingly finite arena to fight to the death.
That unfortunately makes it hard to discover the genre’s latest gems amongst a flooded market of ignoble facsimiles, but you need not sift through the Android Store any longer. We’ve made our picks for the best mobile battle royale games right now, and outlined each one below for your consuming pleasure. You’ll recognise the obvious players, but hopefully there’s an unknown entity in the following list that’s about to become your next favourite battle royale game.
Fortnite: Battle Royale
Accessible, iterative, and exceptionally optimised for mobile devices, Fortnite (opens in new tab): Battle Royale is hard to ignore for your smartphone, even if you’ve got the game downloaded on myriad other platforms by now.
Epic’s jubilant alternative to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has a big advantage over its main competitor beyond mere style and technical prowess, in that it’s constantly being updated week by week with new content, themes, and changes to the expanding meta of Fortnite lore. No two weeks of Fortnite are therefore ever the same, a refreshing concept for a game that gives it serious sea legs in the replay value department. If you’ve yet to play Fortnite by now, you probably never will, but the mobile version always beckons should you suddenly gain a craving for more fatalistic death matches.
Regional titan of the Chinese games industry NetEase Games has slowly cultivated a name for itself as the mobile battle royale developer to watch out for, churning out several smartphone experiences in the vein of PUBG and Fortnite to a surprisingly high quality of standard.
Knives Out is very much influenced by PlayerUnknown’s creative baby, with its military stylings and robust suite of similarly themed vehicles, weapons, and costumes. Nothing about Knives Out even particularly stands out, in fact, but it does execute the nuts and bolts of the genre with such confidence and clarity, that it can easily scratch any battle royale itch to satisfying results.
What if battle royale but vikings? That’s the question Crescent Moon Games set out to ask with AXE.IO, and the answer is just as barmy as you’d hope. Suffice to say, you’ll mainly be chucking axes wildly at other players in a mad bid to outlast everyone else in each match, but there’s something strangely compulsive about levelling up your character and earning more currency as you go.
AXE.IO’s production value is also strong, boasting a distinctive visual style and strong soundtrack, while running perfectly on mobile, even when the action gets over the top. And over the top is certainly on the agenda here, especially when dragons can pop up at a moment’s notice to rain hellfire on whoever’s nearby. Few other battle royale games can claim to have that going for it.
It was only a matter of time before PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made the jump to mobile. The game that started the battle royale craze in earnest has certainly made enough money to do whatever it wants, for whatever platform it chooses.
Weirdly enough, PUBG Mobile almost runs better that its PC and console equivalents, with separate developer Tencent Games running a tightly wound ship that intends to keep players engaged and fixated no matter where they are in the world. The controls could use a little bit of work, but this is very much the Battlegrounds you know and love, albeit one that you can fit into your pocket for the morning commute.
Rules of Survival
Capable of hosting matches between 300 players, Rules of Survival ups the battle royale ante to wild, unprecedented levels of madness, but keeps the core gameplay simple and fun to avoid complicating the competition.
Those 300 player rounds won’t be a rarity, either, as the game has racked up a player count that sits comfortably above the 200 million mark, with cross platform options enabled to make teaming up with friends easy and always feasible. Sadly, Rules of Survival has seen its fair share of cheaters ruining the competition since release, but developer NetEase Games (yes, those guys again) has been cracking down on this to make sure those playing fair are still the ones winning by the end.
Pixel Gun 3D: Battle Royale
Like an unexpected love child of Minecraft and PUBG, Pixel Gun 3D channels the ferocity of battle royale through a whimsical voxel art style for something a little different to the Fortnite clones that you’ll find elsewhere. It is, without a doubt, one of the maddest battle royale games you will play, with a multitude of maps, characters, weapons, and abilities to play with in fights against nine other players.
Yes, that’s a comparatively small number next to the 100+ fighters you see in other battle royale games, but Pixel Gun 3D makes up for that threshold with a rambunctious moment-to-moment overload of sensory action and loaded visual flavour.
Zero points for name creativity, but top marks awarded for trying out something new, Battlelands Royale takes the formula that PUBG popularised and experiments with its core ideas through a different framework; the top-down perspective of arcade shooters. It’s an experiment that pays off for Futureplay Games, as Battlelands unique perspective opens the path to completely different styles of play for a battle royale game.
There’s no hiding, just spatially acute shooting and high-octane shooting, usually amongst multiple foes at once. The fact that all the characters are drawn in the classic Kawaii style of ‘big head, small body’ only increases Battlelands Royale’s appeal as a game worth every megabyte of its install base.
So far, this list has featured voxel themed battle royale games and top down perspective battle royale games, but what about one that features both those things in one somewhat inconsistent but nonetheless thoroughly entertaining package? Guns Royale is your clunky answer, with middling graphics and wonky controls only slightly muddying its breakneck heapings of battle royale.
Guns Royale even comes with its own unique alternate reality feature, which lets you do battle in your own living room. It’s gimmicky and far from a long-term play experience, sure, but that’s all part of Guns Royale offbeat charm.