Rejoice, mobile gamers! The long-awaited-but-still-hot, free, and fun Fortnite: Battle Royale is now available on Android devices. Download the app directly from Softonic’s website! And while you’re waiting for the installation to finish, here’s a helpful review.
Epic Games’ Fortnite: Battle Royale for Android is by nearly all comparisons identical to the IOS release, which is itself a faithful mobile mirror of the console and PC/Mac title. Players find themselves air-bus-dropped onto an island with distinct sections and buildings, and must scramble to find weapons, gadgets, and resources that will help them to survive and dominate their fellow players. Three modes are available: Solo, which allows you to take on up to 99 other players; Cooperative, where you group with three others for some violent team-building exercises; and 50 vs 50, which is a massive territory war of base-building and firefights.
Like the similarly popular Player Unknown: Battlegrounds, there’s little opportunity to camp and hide, as a random encroaching storm narrows the play area throughout the match. Unlike that other title, Battle Royale allows players to build structures to reach higher ground, bridge divides, or create defenses against the attacks of their fellow players. Players collect the resources for these structures by hacking apart existing homes and buildings, plant life and obstacles.
Fortnite: Battle Royale for Android plays much like its IOS counterpart, sharing the same interface options and overall playstyle. While it may not match the graphic capabilities of a larger machine, the mobile version is pretty enough and powerful enough to render on near the same level at a reasonable resolution.
Players use a digital joystick on the bottom-left corner of the screen to move, dragging in the main screen to aim, and tapping to fire. Alternate configurations also allow dedicated on-screen buttons for the firing function. Buttons for crouch, jump, and to toggle between building and combat mode are all intuitively located, and the player never needs to stretch their fingers too far to hit a button they need to.
If you’ve not played Battle Royale on IOS, you’ll find it surprisingly easy to move around and engage with the environment. Moving over any item will pick it up if you have room, and doors will auto-open when you run into them. If you have an item in your inventory you don’t want, just click and drag it away to make space. Everything in the environment that you can interact with will have a touch-button pop up when you get close, minimizing any frustration of knowing just where on the screen to hit.
Combat in the mobile version is a bit clunkier than in the console/computer version -- which is perfectly understandable, as touch-screen play lacks the precision of keyboards and controllers. To compensate, the game will auto-track opponents you are attacking when they are a certain distance from the middle of your screen. Though this can be frustrating to engage at first, players will swiftly get used to making the auto-track work for them, and combat will become easier (and hopefully more successful).
One clever and intuitive aspect of the mobile version is a sound location display that pops up around your character in an arc, showing you the direction and type (weapons fire, footsteps, treasure) of sound nearby. Given that most phones only have a modest speaker in a fixed location, it’s a nice kind of visual cue to keep you always on your guard.
One of the more satisfying aspects about Fortnite: Battle Royale for Android is that it is a pure port. You’ll find all the same weapons, gadgets, and power-ups and in all the same areas. If you connect to your main Epic Games account, you have access to your existing player profile with all the same acquired cosmetics and skins. Progress in one is progress in the other. With the notable exception of the interface and controls, the experience of playing Fortnite isn’t filtered or dumbed down in any way. Whereas other popular games start from the ground-up to create mobile editions in an accessible, similar spirit, Epic Games has directly ported their popular shooter-builder to your handheld device.
Still, there are some downsides
Unfortunately, players who are fond of building in the PC/Mac and console editions of the game will find building in the mobile version more difficult. Despite how excellent the game transitions to a mobile platform, this aspect of the title really shows the limitations of touch-based gameplay. Firing on an enemy is one thing; positioning your wall, ramp or ceiling the way you want it is a task that takes a lot of getting used to. Still, many players are making the most of it, and you’ll see the same impressive forts and structures -- albeit, just a bit slower to make.
Fair warning: Even though this is intended as a mobile game, with all the convenience of being able to play it anytime, anywhere, it’s nevertheless a battery-hog. Keep a charger or mobile charge station close by if you plan on playing more than a few matches at a time. Similarly, the game seems to have some difficulty with lag when not connected to a dedicated, strong Wifi signal. The lag can be sporadic, but will occasionally grind your experience to a halt at critical moments, particularly when there are a lot of other players in an area with their guns pointed your way.
If you love Fortnite: Battle Royale and have an Android mobile device, why are you still reading this review?