Fortnite Mobile - Battle Royale on the Go

February 1, 2019
Fortnite Mobile - Battle Royale on the Go
Image source: Epic Games

Fortnite has successfully taken over every modern platform, so obviously it’s going to be a few days worth of content on any mobile games news site. Whatever your preferred system is, it’s available. Making it even better is the fact that it’s one of only two games to have full cross-platform support (the other game being Rocket League). This means that no matter what your friends have, you can all play together. This is obviously great since everyone prefers a different platform at GameBuz.

As always, I had my doubts since this is another PC title that got ported to mobile. Turns out it’s not a bad port, it’s actually really good. On iOS it’s amazing and Android has its issues, but the problem with it is that Fortnite has unique gameplay that isn’t easily emulated on phones. So, let’s take an in-depth look.

Graphics

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Image source: Epic Games

Considering that it’s mobile, the graphics are amazing. There are some additional settings you can change to balance performance and visuals, which is nice to see. There isn’t too much to say about it, it feels the same as it does on other platforms.

Gameplay

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Image source: Fortnite official Facebook page

Again, it feels the same as it does on other platforms. The only problem is that the controls are hot garbage. There are too many things you need to do at the same time and it’s simply impossible to keep up with it.

Fortnite is so specific and unique because of the building mechanic. You have 4 different types of structures, they can be built from wood, brick or metal, and you can also make small changes to them and rotate them. Now imagine all of those controls on your phone’s screen. You have one button to switch to building mode, 4 different buttons to pick the structure, 3 more to pick the material, a button to rotate, a button to edit and a button to actually place them.

You have to completely change your playstyle on mobile, there are no build battles and you can’t quickly build up a shooting position. It’s disappointing since it’s such a big thing in Fortnite. Some of the best moments in Fortnite are the huge monuments to panic that get built near the end of the game as you try to outbuild your opponent and they’re not something you will experience in the mobile version.

Hearing gunfire and footsteps is a pretty important thing in action games and you can't always have your phones sound on. To remedy this a visual sound indicator was added, meaning that any sound made will show up on your screen. So if someone is running near you or there is a chest behind a wall, you will have a visual indicator pointing towards the general direction of the sound. The opacity of the indicator changes based on how far you are from the source of the sound. It's really helpful when your sound is off, but it does take some time to get used to it because it takes up a fair amount of the screen.

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Instead of having an interact button, each weapon, chest and ammo box is clickable to pick up or open. This means there are even more buttons covering your screen. It can feel a bit wonky at times, but you can get used to it.

In an effort to not add more buttons to the screen, you don’t have a weapon switch button. Instead, you click on the weapon bar to pick the one you want to use. So it does have a very quick method for changing weapons and next to the bar you have your inventory button.

Another problem is the aiming. You really can’t hold that against them, it’s a problem that pretty much every mobile shooter has. It’s made worse due to the fact that close quarter battles are common in Fortnite and it's not easy to move the camera around as quickly.

There is a small remedy to this issue in the form of auto-fire. When your crosshair is on top of an enemy or very close you start shooting. This also feels a bit wonky.Sometimes your gun turns into a laser and hits headshots one after the other, other times it won't register that you’re aiming at an enemy or it will be incredibly inaccurate. Auto-fire is very much hit or miss (no pun intended) so if you use it, the shoot button stays on the screen for backup.

Performance

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As mentioned, it works great on iOS. Generally, it’s easier to make a game for iPhones because they don’t differ too much one from another and Fortnite has been available on them longer. Android is another story and it’s not too good. When it comes to Android the main focus is the Galaxy series of phones, but it supports a large number of other phones too. This makes it harder to keep the game running as well on all of them.

The Android version has worse graphics and most phones still have trouble getting to and staying at 30 FPS. If you want to make it an enjoyable experience, you’re going to have to additionally lower the graphics and tweak some settings on your phone. Even then it’s not going to be the same experience as on the iPhone.

An optimistic view of this would be the fact that Fortnite is still in beta for Android. We can hope that it will get some love and be a more enjoyable experience.

There is a problem both versions share, the game eats your battery. So be ready to lose 10-15% per match and have a charger handy. This is big enough of a problem that you have an indicator in the top right corner showing battery charge. At least it works as a reminder to keep track of time.

In conclusion

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Image source: Epic Games

Both versions share the problem of mobile controls, which reduces the building to a minimum and heavily impacts the gameplay. You can invest in a gamepad and that will fix a lot of those issues and it will feel more natural. Battery life is going to be a problem if you spend way too much time on it.

The Android version is still in beta, so it has its bugs and issues. Your options are to either tinker with your phone to make it playable or wait for Epic Games to optimize it better. Honestly, a very weak 7/10 for Android.

When it comes to the iOS version, it’s very well made, doesn’t stress your phone too much and offers smooth gameplay. The controls take away way too much from it and that makes it a solid 8/10.