Addicted to ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds?’ You can play free on your phone

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been having its thunder stolen in recent months by Epic Games’ Fortnite, and with the latter recently launching on mobile devices, it has been in plenty of headlines. But Bluehole and Tencent are aiming to become the most popular battle royale game once again, and that starts with the North American launch of PUBG Mobile.

Available now for free, PUBG Mobile is a port of the PC version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds rather than a specially designed game like the one Tencent released earlier in China, though only the original map is available right now. It’s built with Unreal Engine 4 and features the same 100-player mayhem of the other versions, but with touch controls built specifically for mobile devices. The game looks surprisingly great running on a phone, and we found the framerate on an iPhone 8 to often be better than it is on Xbox One X.

We found the framerate on an iPhone 8 to often be better than it is on Xbox One X.

Shooting in PUBG Mobile is as simple as looking at your target and tapping a small bullet icon on the screen, and you automatically sprint when holding the virtual control stick in the direction you wish to move. You can even use your mobile device’s built-in microphone to communicate with players if you’re playing in a squad, which is supported at launch, as well.

PUBG Mobile bears a very strong resemblance to PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield, one of two Chinese games Tencent already released — if it isn’t the same game entirely. Another slightly twitchier game called PUBG: Army Attack was also released in China, but the decision to title the other game PUBG Mobile means it’s likely the only one that will make it to the United States.

Tencent suggests having at least an iPhone 6 to get the most out of the game, though it can technically run on an iPhone 5S running iOS 9. For Android users, you’ll need Android 4.3 or higher. When you first start the game, your graphical settings will be automatically determined based on the device you’re using, and it’s frankly difficult to tell the game apart from the other versions.

PUBG Mobile is available for iOS and Android in the United States right now. It will come to other regions at a later date.

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