Unlike other mobile versions of popular battle royale games, such as PUBG: Mobile and Fortnite, Apex Legends Mobile is not just a straight port of the original game onto your mobile device. This game was built from the ground up for smartphones. While it’s similar to the base game, the differences here are substantial enough to make even the most experienced Legends stumble a bit when sliding into this portable battle royale experience.
You will need to get a handle on more than just the new controls when acclimating to Apex Legends Mobile, and if it’s your first time getting a chance to experience this free-to-play, class-based take on the battle royale genre, then you have even more onboarding needed before you can call yourself a true Legend.
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Get a handle on the new controls
Starting off in Apex Legends Mobile, you will get a nice little tutorial that helps you set your controls for the game. You essentially can pick between either the Classic or Apex control schemes. Classic is fairly intuitive, especially if you have played other battle royale mobile games, with the typical digital thumbstick and buttons. Apex is a bit more complex on the surface but is at least a better starting point for players who intend to put a lot of time into the game. Whichever one you pick, remember that you can, and should, use that as the baseline, and then make more personalized changes in the settings to be more comfortable for you. Based on what size screen you have and how big your hands are, you should tweak the size and spacing of the buttons to be most comfortable.
Alternatively, perhaps the best way to get a grip on the controls, especially for players migrating from the console version, is to link up a controller. If this option is open to you, it is by far the best way to play Apex Legends Mobile. You don’t have to worry about touch controls or your own hands obscuring the screen. Apex Legends Mobile launched with full controller support while in-game, though you still need to navigate menus and such with the touchscreen, and can allow for any DualSense, DualShock 4, Xbox One, Series X, or S, and Razer Kishi controllers so far.
Once you have your preferred controls set up, don’t just jump right into a game quite yet. The firing range is there for a reason, and the best time to use it is before you start shooting at other players. Again, this is something even veteran Legends will want to do since guns in Apex Legends Mobile do feel quite different than their console and PC counterparts. If you’re new, then it’s even more important to know what each gun even is, how they fire, which to always pick up, and which should be ignored when looting in a high-stakes situation.
Pick the right Legend
Apex Legends Mobile launches with 10 Legends to pick from, and they all have their own special abilities, almost like a lite hero shooter. Each one has three abilities — Tactical, Passive, and Ultimate — and fits a different role in the game. For example, Bangalore is an offensive Legend with the Tactical ability to use a smoke grenade to obscure line of sight, a Passive that makes her run faster if she’s being shot at, and Ultimate to call in an airstrike on a targeted area. On the other hand, Lifeline is, naturally, more of a support character. She can call in a healing drone, has a Passive revive drone, and an Ultimate that calls down a care package full of armor and healing items.
Take a look at all the Legends, read up on their abilities, and play around in the firing range with them to see what suits your style the best. After that, play at least a couple of rounds with a few Legends in the game itself. It can take a few matches for a Legend to click, so don’t dismiss one just because you had a bad round or two.
This is more of a tip for those unfamiliar with Apex Legends at all, since all the returning Legends have the same abilities as before, although there is one new Legend in Apex Legends Mobile that everyone will need to learn.
Play the Arena modes
Apex Legends Mobile is more than just a battle royale game. Sure, that’s what the first game was built on, but the Arena modes, such as a more classic team deathmatch mode, offer a more traditional way to play. We recommend doing these modes first, especially while learning new Legends, because of their more focused setup on getting you into firefights quickly. Since you can pick both your Legend and what weapons you want to start each round with, it is a perfect way to get some real practice in for the main focus: Battle royale.
You can also jump into Quick Battle to ease into the battle royale style. This mode essentially fast forwards a normal battle royale game to the latter half, with fewer total players and an already constricted play area.
Each Arena mode also puts you in a section of the maps you’ll be playing battle royale in, so you can also learn the layouts of the maps at the same time as you’re feeling out what Legend and weapons you like.
Team up and coordinate
When you do want to take things to the next level and drop in for a serious battle royale, you will need a team. Yes, you can queue in solo, but Apex Legends Mobile, just like its big brother, is built around squads of three. You might get lucky and get matched up with two others ready to work together, but you will have a far better experience getting your own party together.
The first important factor you and your team needs to dominate is a good team composition. Having all attack-focused Legends might seem fun, but a well-balanced team of attack, defensive, and support Legends is much more effective in the long run. This is also why we recommended you not just stick to learning one Legend earlier on. That way, if you need to, you at least know how to play a Legend from different roles if your favorite gets picked.
Next — and this should be obvious — stick with your squad. All your opponents are going to be running in groups (if they’re smart), and spotting a solo player is like a pack of lions spotting a wounded gazelle. Don’t be the wounded gazelle. If you want to go somewhere, tell your team and have them move with you. If they’re going somewhere, don’t linger or leave yourself behind.
Going hand in hand with that tip is communication. Apex Legends Mobile has a great ping system, and if that’s your only way to communicate, it can get the job done. But nothing beats getting on comms and actually giving and getting specific intel. Calling out enemies, coordinating attacks, retreats, and strategies are what separate teams that make it to the middle of a match and those that get to the final round. Even with direct communication, still use the ping system, though. It is much easier to find a piece of loot a teammate left for you if it’s pinged than just describing where it is, for example.
Be smart about where you drop
Different parts of the maps have different concentrations and levels of loot, making some areas more or less dangerous to land in. The areas with the most valuable loot will be marked in purple on your map, and should be avoided unless you and your team are confident in your ability to take on multiple teams at once right away. For a more sustained and manageable drop, go for areas with more middle-tier loot. The less action you get early on, the more you can scrape together. Even if it isn’t the best loot possible, not getting into a giant fight early on and potentially wiping, or at least losing a teammate, is well worth it.
Also, don’t be afraid to divert course while dropping. If you spot four other squads diving toward the same point of the map you were planning on, veer off and find somewhere safer to land.
Don’t ignore the new skill system
Finally, Apex Legends Mobile introduces an entirely new system called skills you can unlock on a skill tree for each character. The more you play as a character, the more XP you earn to spend on their specific skill tree based on how well you did and unlock new, very useful, buffs. These come in three types: Perks, Finishers, and Abilities. Even though there’s more than one type to unlock for each character, you can only equip one per category at a time to keep things balanced. You can set these as loadouts to easily swap among as well. None of these break the game’s balance, but are nice to make each Legend a little bit more your own and give you something to work toward over time.
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