It’s no secret that battle royale games are the hot genre right now, much like open world survival with crafting elements before it and first-person war-torn shooters before that. Some have made groundbreaking waves in the gaming industry while others haven’t seen as much success. Right now, what are the best battle royale games available to play?
We have compiled our list of the very best battle royale games you can play right now, whether it’s early access, on mobile or even a browser game.
- Brilliantly balanced strategy and action
- New maps up the pace
- Incredible suspense and tension
- More polished and stable than the original release
- Xbox One version still lags behind
- Not the most immediately fun Battle
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Kicking things off is the grandaddy of battle royale games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The game initially started off as a mod for ARMA and while some titles tackled the battle royale experience prior to this, PUBG was the first game to explode in popularity and take the genre to the heights it’s at now.
PUBG is as close as you’ll get to a “battle royale simulator” – there’s a lot to learn with the general gameplay but with three unique maps and a fourth winter setting coming soon, PUBG is going from strength to strength.
- Building system adds valuable depth
- Simple gunplay is immediately fun
- Combat mechanics feel polished
- Limited time events
- There’s still a cheating problem
- Junior atmosphere feels jarring
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
If there’s one game absolutely everyone has heard of, it’s Fortnite. The free-o-play battle royale mode has been the biggest global video game sensation since Minecraft.
A child-friendly take on the genre, Fortnite uses a cartoon, non-realistic aesthetic and large, oversized weapons to create its own identity. Wacky skins and dances in the store mean Epic makes a shedload of money from it and the unique building aspect means there’s nothing else quite like it.
- Addictive, and you can play it at work
- Satisfying customisation
- Captures the battle royale theme
- Bit limited
Platforms: PC (browser)
Now we’ve covered the two biggest names, it’s time to look at the lesser known gems. Everyone remembers Agar.io from a few years back, right? Now there’s Surviv.io, a top-down battle royale game where each player is simply a circle.
Weapons and upgrades can be found, the gameplay works like most other battle royale games and as always, there’s a steep learning curve. Surviv.io is great because it’s such a quick game to play and anyone can try it out as it runs in Flash. Get a few pals on with you and for half an hour, it’ll be the most fun you’ve had in ages.
The Darwin Project
- Mix of crafting, survival and brutal combat
- Fun ‘overseer’ role has one player responsible for messing with the other players
- Dynamic games
- Only one map, and it’s a small one
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
One of the first battle royale games announced, Darwin Project has been known since E3 2017. Players fight it out in a frozen landscape with fast gameplay and designated zones that gradually close off rather than a shrinking storm.
It was originally in Early Access and saw moderate success, but in an attempt to gain more players, it’s now free-to-play. It’s worth trying out as the game offers some very unique concepts: have you ever wanted to be the cruel ringleader of an arena, awarding people favour if they act like your performing monkey?
You can do that, and with stellar Twitch integration, streamers can bring their audience along for the ride.
- Matches exceed 100 players
- Slick and polished
- Vehicular battle royale has potential
- Lag issues on Euro servers
- Microtransactions are deeply woven in
Platforms: PS4, PC
Initially a zombie survival game like DayZ, H1Z1 made the switch to battle royale in February 2016. On the surface, it looks very similar to PUBG but in-game, it plays much faster, almost like an arcade version. Player count has started to dwindle but the game recently launched on PS4 to immediate success, flaunting over 10 million unique players.
On PC, there’s a separate mode for vehicles only called Auto Royale and while it feels like H1Z1 has been playing catch up since the battle royale genre exploded with PUBG’s launch, H1Z1 is still a solid experience on both PC and PS4.
- You turn into a chicken when shot
- Fun combat
- Lots of unique tweaks
- Baffling design choices in some cases
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
HiRez Studios, the team behind Paladins, launched Realm Royale as a battle royale version of the game into early access this year. It took off straight away – some players describe it as World of Warcraft battle royale. You can pick a specific class, play to your strengths and even summon a horse to gallop across the map on.
Plus, when players die, they transform into a chicken which gives them the ability to flee. Some questionable development decisions meant the game declined in popularity almost as quickly as it rose but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Give this a chance.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
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- Smooth gunplay
- Excellent level design
- Story woven through all three branches of multiplayer
- A great reinvention of a slightly stale franchise
- No single player campaign
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Perhaps an unusual entry, but Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s battle royale mode Blackout is one of the best we’ve played. After all, how many other battle royale games let you scout things out with an RC car?
Blackout mixes the tight gunplay and movement of Call of Duty and mixes in the classic battle royale format, although with a few tweaks that CoD fans will recognise like zombies and consumable perks. Somehow it all blends together into something that feels completely unique, with the high production values of Black Ops 4 shining through. Blackout is a delight, and shows what AAA development can do to add a bit of sparkle to a tired formula.
Rules of Survival
- Mobile battle royale
- Mobile controls can be finicky
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
The only mobile exclusive game on this list, Rules of Survival is very similar to PUBG but is much better to play on your phone. Over 200 million players have downloaded it and while mobile controls are finicky at the best of times, Rules of Survival offers one of the better experiences.
There are 120 players per game which is more than nearly every other battle royale title. Since it’s been so successful in Asia, it’s become an esport with the world championships taking place earlier this year. Looking for something to play while lying in bed or on the toilet? This is the one.
Fear The Wolves
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R but battle royale
- You can play as a pacifist, escaping on a helicopter
- Wolves not actually that fearsome
Fear The Wolves launched out of early access recently, and while we’ve yet to play the full version, we played a lot of the slightly wonky Early Access period. Set in Chernobyl, radioactive anomalies appear and wolves roam around the towns which offer two player-vs-environment elements you don’t tend to find elsewhere.
It’s first-person and kills matter far less because to win, you don’t have to be the last person alive. You can opt to flee on the end-game helicopter instead, although you may get shot while climbing the rope.
- Fast, frantic combat
- Best-in-class movement
- Three dimensional characters
- Gorgeous artstyle
- Everyone is a bullet sponge
- Limited ammo to loot
An early game surprise, Apex Legends brings Respawn Entertainment’s signature super-slick gunplay and shooter sensibilities to the battle royale genre. There’s more than a touch of the excellent Titanfall 2 here, while one of the best ping systems in the game makes it easy to play with random players without even using your mic.
For teamplay, there’s nothing better than Apex Legends, although some might be put off by the pace. Those people are wrong, Apex Legends is ruddy great.
What’s your favourite battle royale game? Is it on our list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @TrustedReviews.