App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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It was only a matter of time before someone tried to bottle the magic of Player Unknown's Battlegrounds and put it into mobile form, and Guns Royale seems like the first big attempt at doing exactly that. It takes up to 16 players, dumps them on an island, and asks them to murder each other until only one player is left alive. The only real problem is that Guns Royale's take on Battlegrounds is overly simplistic and random, making it something you'll hardly sink any serious time into.
Every match of Guns Royale begins with 16 players queuing up in a lobby with an overhead view of the island that every match takes place on. Once enough players have joined, everyone picks a spot on the map where they'd like to start, everyone drops down to said spot, and the fighting begins. Every player starts with a pistol, but scattered throughout the island are all kinds of guns, armor, and other items that can help make sure you stay alive and your enemies don't.
The island in Guns Royale is pretty sizeable, but the game ensures that players eventually confront each other by constricting the play area over time. Ring-shaped zones appear on the map and get smaller and smaller over time. Anyone outside of these zones takes damage until they move to a safe area or die. It's the exact same system that Player Unknown's Battlegrounds employs to drive its players together.
Guns Royale presents its combat from a top-down view and gives players simple dual-stick controls. You'll also spend a lot of time in the game looking out for armor, better weapons, medkits, and other things, which you can pick up or use with a simple tap.
These simple controls and the relatively small size of the map make Guns Royale a pretty fast, arcade-like experience. Players are all sprinting around, looking for good weapons that they can then turn on you while you do the same. There is little suspense here, and most games last just a handful of minutes. It's a set of design choices that make Guns Royale easier to play on-the-go, but it also makes for a game that doesn't really feel like the game it's imitating.
Without longer matches or much suspense, Guns Royale just feels like a permadeath arena shooter. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does present some problems with considering the random loot system present in the game.
When everyone lands on the island, it's kind of a crapshoot if you're next to a bunch of people or not and what the loot there looks like. If you find yourself surrounded by other players that find good weapons quickly, there isn't much chance for you to survive. You can't really rely on stealth or wits here, and you're at a huge disadvantage if you don't get the guns to keep up with everyone else.
The bottom line
Guns Royale has most of the things you'd find in a game like Player Unknown's Battlegrounds, but the ways in which it departs from the formula make it less fun. By being so loot-focused and action oriented, Guns Royale ends up feeling like a slot machine with shooter mechanics rather than a satisfying Battlegrounds-like.