The world online has exploded into battle royale madness, with the launch of a couple of huge games. One is Fortnite and the other is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG to its friends.
The important thing about these huge titles is that they are now both mobile games – hence PUBG Mobile – as well as being available across other platforms.
PUBG Mobile: The essential details
The game is currently undergoing a phased roll-out, from 19 March 2018, but it is a global roll-out and it’s available in the UK and other territories on Android. The iOS version is also available.
You can find the Android version on Google Play and the iOS version on the Apple App Store.
PUBG Mobile minimum requirements
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile game is a persistent online game, so you’ll need a connection to the internet to play – be that via mobile network or Wi-Fi – but the lower the ping the better.
The tech specs for Android are Android 5.1 and higher and at least 2GB of RAM. We’ve played on a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and experienced no problems.
The iPhone version needs iOS 9.0 or later, so a full range of iPhone models back to iPhone 5s are supported and iPads back to iPad Mini 2, as well as iPod touch 6-gen.
The game is PEGI 16 rated in the UK; Fortnite is PEGI 12 in the UK.
PUBG Mobile: The basics of gameplay
Battle royale basically means all against all, a bit like The Hunger Games where you start with nothing and have to scavenge and collect weapons and equipment. The game is ultimately a battle to the last player standing, with 100 players on an 8 x 8 km island.
There are three modes of play: solo, duo and squad, with the latter letting you team up with three other players for a team of four. Each is a little different with various pros and cons, the big pro of team play being that have people to support you, revive you and bring an element of co-operative tactics to the game.
The game starts with you parachuting onto the game island. On landing your mission is to gather everything you can to help you win, from clothes to medical supplies to weapons, with a wide range of weapons and modifications for those weapons.
The island is a mixture of urban and rural environments, detailed in the map in the top right-hand corner of the game, and the full area is initially playable, but the play areas decreases in size as time progresses.
This forces the players closer together with ever decreasing circles, those left outside the safe play space will start to take damage and eventually die. The game reaches its climax when the last few players are condensed down into a small space and one player or team emerges as the victor.
Each game can last up to about 30 minutes if you’re one of the last standing. Of course, you can die almost as soon as you’re on the ground. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
PUBG Mobile controls and experience
The Mobile game provides the same gameplay elements as the PC and Xbox game, but uses on-screen controls. These can be customised for a number of different layouts and elements to suit the size of your device or preferences.
You can also change the controls for driving vehicles in the game, of which there are a number of options.
The gameplay is surprisingly good and smooth, although there’s an advantage for those with bigger displays and more powerful phones. There are three graphics settings you can use and the game will automatically select one. It’s advisable to close down everything else, turn up the brightness and volume for the best experience.
How much does PUBG Mobile cost?
The game itself is free to download and free to play. There is a rewards system within the game that will let you earn coins for your participation and completing various challenges – like login every day, travel a particular distance or survive a particular length of time.
These coins can then be used to buy items in the game – like clothing. Otherwise you have to collect the clothing in the game and you start in your underwear.
PUBG Mobile servers and problems
We’ve experienced some occasional game freezes which we think are server side. As this is a phased roll-out, there’s probably still some server optimisation going on. We’ve arrived in the Lobby to find it empty of players, needing to back out and start a new game to get it to play.
We’ve also had freezes where the game is unresponsive. Often it’s just a pause that lasts about 3 seconds. There is a ping monitor on the display and sometimes you’ll see a pause in the game followed by the ping rising sharply, which could be down to the home Wi-Fi network demands. Typically the game runs smoothly with a reported 32ms average ping on our network.
Excessive battery drain is to be expected. Not only is this a demanding game graphically, but it needs the display on all the time and that persistent connection. If you can’t play plugged in, then consider getting yourself an external battery pack.
Then there are the times that your teammates just run over you in a car and instead of getting out to revive you, they just run over you again and again until you are dead. Sadly, we don’t think anything can ever be done about people like that.