TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘PUBG Mobile’

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The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

PUBG Mobile

Let the battle royale battle royale begin. PUBG Mobile (Free) brings a confident effort in the hot genre, with the game that first exploded 100-man fights to the death into the mainstream getting an excellent mobile adaptation. It’s a well-made adaption, giving mobile players a comparably better experience than Xbox players have with their version of PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds. Additionally, with this version being…well, currently, it’s just free, with no way to spend money, it makes the coming war versus Fortnite (Free) interesting to watch as both titles are just as accessible as the other on mobile.

And in many ways, PUBG Mobile does feel like a better game than Fortnite. It controls better, it looks better, and handles items better than Fortnite does right now. It also offers voice chat, and more options for tweaking visuals an controls to the player’s desires. Fortnite still feels like an early release, albeit an extremely playable one, but PUBG Mobile feels closer to a finished product. Also, not having to focus on building makes PUBG feel a bit easier to get into on mobile.

While I personally prefer Fortnite‘s aesthetics, I can appreciate PUBG Mobile and enjoy it as well. For one, it’s a slower experience, that feels more in tune with my desire to play slow and survive for as long as possible. The map feels bigger, making it easier to find desolate parts of the map, and making finding another player to be that much more frightening. Also, where Fortnite‘s controls right now make gunfights a panicked competition (albeit one where both sides are fairly matched up), PUBG feels a bit more deliberate with the standardized shooter controls. I feel more confident going into gunfights.

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Also, having different equipment types gives the player more choice, and makes circumstances far different. I’ve had matches where I had to change my strategy based on whether I had a good scoped weapon or not. Fortnite streamlines a lot of the equipment and inventory management, but if you like a lot of options, PUBG Mobile does a good job at giving you choice while also giving you the tools to manage your choices.

The release strategy of having two different studios do PUBG games seemed silly at first, but it’s clear that unlike NetEase’s titles, one clear winner emerged: the Lightspeed-developed version over the Timi-developed version. Timi’s version was fine, and seemed to run at smoother framerates on older hardware, but it appears Lightspeed’s version is the champion. Of course, you never know at this point: next week we might be writing about the other PUBG Mobile by Timi. I don’t know what to expect any more when it comes to the release of battle royale games.

The inclusion of supposed bots in players’ early matches seems silly at first, and it does kind of cheapen the concept of the chicken dinner being this rare, hard-to-obtain thing. But it also helps the player get acclimated to the game, to knowing when to scavenge for materials. It also adds a further degree of unpredictability, especially when enemies appear in spots of the map you otherwise wouldn’t expect them to show up. This also makes the rough early days of playing a battle royale game a lot smoother, as players can feel like they have a fighting chance.

Other games can feel a bit harsh, as they drop players in and force them to find out on the fly, and it especially makes combat a tough proposition when you have zero clue when a gunfight will occur. At least PUBG Mobile gives you both a training experience with combat while also letting you experience a real match. It feels like a smart way to walk the line between popular mobile game design tactics of having tutorials, and the unfamiliarity of being thrown into a new situation that battle royale games excel at.

Perhaps the thing that makes me most excited about PUBG Mobile is that mobile gaming now has multiple high-quality battle royale titles for itself. Really, what’s the difference between PUBG Mobile and the desktop/PC PUBG besides the separate development branches? It’s roughly the same island map, the same weapons, the same structure, just on mobile. That whole tension of battle royale can now be experienced by anyone, regardless of the platform they’re on. You can complain about the viability of touch controls, but PUBG Mobile, along with Fortnite, goes a long way to show just how there’s really nothing that much different from mobile gaming as compared to console and PC gaming. It’s all just a different form factor. You can enjoy the same type of games anywhere you are, and the developers that provide those experiences will reap the rewards. And PUBG Mobile lets anyone get a darn good PUBG and battle royale experience wherever and whenever they want.


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