Chinese conglomerate Tencent has been working hard to bring Battlegrounds to mobiles after jumping on the Battle Royale juggernaut last year. And surprisingly, a game that relies on massive draw distances and 100 players running around a single server actually holds up well on mobile.
Clones of PUBG have been on Android and iOS over the last couple of months. Tencent, which has been working with the makers of PUBG on an official Battlegrounds mobile spin-off, actually released two clones of their own.
But over the last week or so, more and more people have been mucking around with the official PUBG mobile game. It’s currently available in Chinese, although you have to go to the website and download the file directly. (You can also get it through the TapTap third-party app store, although you obviously do so at your own risk.)
I’m on Android, so that’s the version I went with. Installing the game from there is a installing more complicated then But regardless of which platform, you can find plenty of footage of the proper mobile port. And it looks surprisingly reasonable: the UI seems pretty reasonable given everything that’s going on, the controls are straightforward, and provided your device is recent it holds up pretty well.
I ended up having to make a WeChat account (which required SMS verification) to get through the app installation process. But once I was past that point, the gameplay was a pretty authentic PUBG experience.
There’s some concessions to mobile, obviously. You don’t have access to the full map: the game I played above, for instance, only started with 38 players and everyone was more or less in an area around the size of what you’d expect the second circle to traditionally be.
That’s what you get in the “arcade” version of PUBG on mobiles, anyway. There’s actually two official mobile spin-offs. The smaller, arcade version was just under 800mb at the time of writing. The version that uses the fuller map and has the traditional 100 players was closer to a gigabyte, but whether that’s a great experience on your device depends on how old your phone is. For reference, I had a much better experience with the smaller, arcade version, and the ping was vastly better too (around 110-120ms compared to 300ms+).
Both versions make some concessions for mobiles, like picking up non-critical items such as bandages and attachments automatically. The arcade spin-off also did things like automatically opening doors, which I actually quite preferred. I think dealing with less people and a slightly smaller map works better on the phone, but that’s just me.
Either way, you can check out the official PUBG games on Tencent’s site and through TapTap. They’ll come to the Australian Play Store/iTunes eventually, but if you’re impatient you can check it out now.