In just over a week, Epic Games has made a flurry of announcements. First, they revealed that Fortnite—their ultra-popular PUBG competitor—is coming to mobile. This was followed by brief sign-up period for interested beta testers before sending out their first round of invites yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on one of these early invites, so we can clear the air on exactly what Fortnite on mobile is like.
It’s more or less Fortnite
As opposed to being some stripped down version of its console and PC counterparts, the mobile version of Fortnite is only really different insomuch as it runs at a lower resolution and uses touch controls. You play on the same map and all of the game’s building mechanics operate just as they would in the original versions of the game.
There are some other alterations to the gameplay, like some auto-aim that helps you snap to targets in the middle of a firefight and some noise indicators that appear on screen to let you know when there are other people are around you. These feel more like smart adjustments to make Fortnite more conducive to mobile play than anything drastic though.
Where it falls short
It’s really awesome that Fortnite is able to make the move to mobile basically intact, but that doesn’t mean it’s an uncompromised experience. There is the aforementioned visual hit that the mobile version of Fortnite takes, but more of an issue can be the game’s touch controls.
You control your player’s movement with a virtual joystick, and do pretty much everything else with virtual buttons or by tapping or swiping on open sections of the screen. This kind of control scheme might not sound entirely unfamiliar to mobile shooter enthusiasts, but there are some peculiarities with this game in particular that don’t feel great. Shooting, for example, happens when you tap an open area of the screen, but tapping and dragging around on the open screen also controls your aim. As a result, tapping fire can move your aim, and sometimes you have to tap extra times to let Fortnite know you’re trying to shoot instead of just adjust your aim.
How does it compare to the competition?
Although Epic moved swiftly to bring Fortnite to mobile, NetEase beat them to the punch. Their Fortnite-like, FortCraft, went into beta just a couple days before the Fortnite beta invites went out, and it’s proven to be pretty successful. As a game that borrows heavily from Battle Royale games (including Fortnite’s building mechanics), the idea of having one of these games built from the ground up for mobile sounds like it has potential to be a better experience than simply porting an existing game over.
While there are some convenient aspects of FortCraft’s mobile-first design, playing it doesn’t feel nearly as good or as satisfying as Fortnite does. In addition to this, the fact that Fortnite will also offer cross-play and be updated alongside the PC and console versions of the game overshadows the fact that FortCraft’s construction interface feels a little more friendly and that its touch controls make a little more sense.
Whether you like it or not, it doesn’t seem like anything can slow down Fortnite, whether that’s on mobile or elsewhere. Thankfully, this mobile port isn't just a cheap cash-in and is actually the real deal.