If you’re like me, you have joined the craze of people playing the Epic Games global hit, Fortnite. Dropping in squads, duos or even solo, you can shoot your way to the top by playing their 100 PvP Battle Royal or build forts around a point and fight off the hoard of zombies and monsters that try to kill you and your team. I’ve really enjoyed the game, mostly in that it was free to play, super fun, and now all my friends play. However, as of this week, Fortnite has taken its talents to iOS and has officially gone mobile. Playable on iPhone 7 & up, as well as most newer iPads, the port to mobile has lead to mass downloads and profits for the company, which wasn’t a household name until earlier this year. Massive amounts of people are playing Fortnite on mobile, and now you can battle with your friends out in the free world. No date for Android users yet but Epic Games has said they are working on it. I love playing the game on PS4 however, that doesn’t mean it is the same experience. It is the same game but is it? I noticed that the play on PC and console is much smoother and it made me wonder: could the clunky phone port actually turn people away from this insanely popular game?
Some things I noticed:
Fortnite mobile seems to be an exact port for your phone from the actual game. The loading screens, the maps, the players. Everything is the same. For me, that is not only comforting but it is baffling that my phone can run this game. To me, this is a game that launches mobile gaming to a new high in showing what our devices are capable of. On the other hand, it is a slightly different experience due to the graphics turning down and the controls not feeling incredibly confident. Some features I felt were cool, mostly because I wasn’t sure how they would handle it.(Ie. the fact you can see the directions from which noises come from). When I play, I am more than likely in a setting that it would not be okay to blare the sound to the world, so the folks at Epic Games came up with a modification to help with that. They made a small circle around you to ensure that when a noise happens, such as footsteps or gunfire, you can see where it comes from by an indicator on the screen. An incredibly welcome feature for this kind of game and probably the best feature on the mobile version.
I also liked the positioning of the buttons to shoot and the ability to have a virtual thumb stick. It gave a familiar feel to console controllers. However, using a touch screen for moving got kind of frustrating, pretty quickly. The touch screen makes it hard to aim, hard to run, and hard to build up walls and forts. I guess with practice I can get better, but I really didn’t think it felt natural. Along the same lines, the small screen of a phone does not translate well for sniping or anything long range, which is a huge part of this game. At times, it becomes really grainy to see and the graphics lose their sharpness and make it impossible to shoot anyone who is not directly in front of you.
I did notice that the connection was solid on my phone, connecting to games incredibly fast and allowing for minimal lag. If you’re playing a shooting game, lag in screen/reaction time could be a killer. Even so, the connection is fast but it sucks down data when on mobile broadband and battery life like no game I have played on my phone before. That can be a deterrent from playing away from WiFi or even away from a power cord. To me, that makes this game much less mobile.
Overall, I would say that this was a successful port to a phone, so much so that it is a top download in the world at the moment. Add in Android users and this game is sure to dominate the mobile platform for years to come. The formula and popularity of this game is exceeding most gaming fanatic experiences over the past decade and in the world of video games, that’s a big deal. I once thought that Overwatch was the future of gaming, but at this point, Fortnite is now the king. With similar mechanics to the console versions, people will deal with the slight issues and lack of precision. The game is fun and allows you to battle royal all over the globe. With Fortnites’ popularity comes a rush of other games trying to jump on the train and who knows, we might see the next big thing pop up because of it. Mobile gaming is a huge industry now but if you can do what Epic Games has done with Fortnite, you can make a whole lot of money. With the popularity of the Switch, Apple might be working its way into quietly taking over mobile gaming or gaming in general if you can play your favorite games on the go. Airplay and LTE connectivity make the iPad one of the most versatile platforms out right now.