The fight for battle royale supremacy has entered a new arena, with both PUBG Mobile and Fortnite Mobile vying for a bigger piece of the mobile gaming pie. Both games are still in early access (in fact Fortnite Mobile doesn’t even have an Android release date), but there are some key differences between the two biggest battle royale titles for mobile devices.
Of course, a comparison between Fortnite vs PUBG can’t definitively say which game is better, since many of the differences are stylistic. Both games are great, and judging by the rate at which they are updated, the best is yet to come.
Fortnite vs PUBG – Visual style
Both Fortnite Mobile and PUBG Mobile are faithful recreations of their PC counterparts, and that includes their distinct visual styles.
Tencent’s Lightspeed and Quantum Studios have simplified the realistic graphics of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds for the mobile version, but the essence is still there. The characters, map, and guns are all realistic.
Fortnite Mobile, on the other hand, takes a more cartoony approach. Everything is bright and colorful as if it were torn from a Pixar film. Some weapons are based on real weapons, but others seem straight out of Looney Tunes like the temporary “Egg Launcher” reskin of the grenade launcher.
The difference between Fortnite and PUBG is best summed up by a players first 30 seconds in a match. In PUBG Mobile, players parachute out of a cargo plane onto a Russian island with a military base and power plant. In Fortnite Mobile, players skydive out of a bus strapped to a massive balloon, breaking their fall with an umbrella or futuristic glider.
Neither game invented the battle royale formula, but the basic gameplay is the same. Players are dropped onto an island with 99 other opponents, from there you collect weapons and other gear to fight until the last man is standing.
The playzone (also known as the circle) also grows smaller and smaller, forcing the remaining players closer to one another. The area outside the playzone deals constant damage, and should be avoided at all costs. PUBG further limits the play area with red zones, where bombs drop from the sky that will instantly kill any player outside of cover.
PUBG Mobile is intense and gun fights give a real sense that death is imminent
A comparison between the gameplay of Fortnite vs PUBG follows along the same lines as their visuals. PUBG Mobile is intense and gun fights give a real sense that death is imminent, whereas Fortnite Mobile gives players a lot more room to maneuver and play creatively.
Much of that maneuverability comes from the fact that players in Fortnite Mobile can build structures using resources collected by hammering away at trees, rocks, or buildings. If caught in an open field, a quick 1×1 tower will provide enough time to assess the situation or med up.
On the contrary, getting caught unaware in PUBG Mobile is almost certain death. As a result, most people play more cautiously, hiding behind trees or in the brush. Unlike Fortnite, players can lay prone on the ground while they line up their next headshot.
You can play cautiously in Fortnite as well, but more often than not players simply run towards the action. Even the most carefully constructed fort can be destroyed with a few hits from a rocket or grenade launcher, so it’s usually better to stay on the move. Fortune favors the bold in Fortnite Mobile.
The controls are where it’s really apparent which company has more experience making mobile games. Tencent is the undisputed king of mobile games, and PUBG Mobile reflects that in spades.
As far as controls on mobile shooters go, you’d be hard pressed to find a better system than the one used in PUBG Mobile. Plus, there are several control schemes built in, with the option to completely customize them to your liking.
Fortnite Mobile doesn’t feature any kind of customization, and often the controls leave something to be desired. Part of this is due to the more complicated nature of the game, with building, setting traps, and so on, but some of it is due to specific design decisions.
What kind of monster puts the jump button below the crouch button?
For example, to shoot you can either tap on the screen or press the shoot button on the left side of the screen. But tapping on the screen only shoots a single shot, so with any automatic weapon you’ll want to use the button on the left. That means you can’t move and shoot at the same time, unless you adopt some crazy claw method while playing on a tablet.
Also, what kind of monster puts the jump button below the crouch button? One goes up, one goes down. It shouldn’t be this hard.
It’s likely that Fortnite Mobile’s controls will improve before its official release on Android, and they’ll need to if Epic Games wants to compete with other shooters in the ecosystem.
One major difference between Fortnite and PUBG is how connected the mobile titles are with the PC titles they’re based on. PUBG is a standalone game developed apart from the PC version, and Fortnite Mobile is essentially the same as the other versions of the game.
Player accounts, progress, skins, and so on are shared between platforms, so no matter where you play you’ll have the same items. Players can even play alongside their friends on Xbox, PS4, or PC right from their mobile device.
Fortnite Mobile players can even play alongside their friends on Xbox, PS4, or PC from their mobile device
Fortunately, mobile solo players will never be stomped by mouse and keyboard using PC players. Player base is determined by parties, so mobile-only players will play with other mobile players, parties with console players will play with both mobile and console players, and parties with PC players will get matched with all of the above.
For what it’s worth, the PUBG Mobile developers are also committed to keeping pure mobile players separate from PC emulator users. That said, matches have fewer than 100 real players due to the next item on the list.
PUBG Mobile’s decision to introduce bots into the battle royale formula was certainly controversial, but it’s also one of the main things that separates it from Fortnite Mobile.
A player’s first few matches only have ten to twenty human players, with the rest of the game populated by bots. Even after you’ve got a few games under your belt, don’t expect more than half of your opponents to have a pulse (unless playing in a custom game).
Think twice before bragging about winning a chicken dinner on your first try
Fortnite Mobile has none of this, with a full 100 human players in each match. In practice though, the bots in PUBG Mobile actually end up making the game more enjoyable for newer players. They give you a chance to practice and get a few kills before succumbing to the harsh reality of a battle royale.
No one wants to get knocked out in the first few seconds of each match, but think twice before bragging about winning a chicken dinner on your first try.
Maps and game modes
One major difference between Fortnite and PUBG is the number of maps and game modes they offer. Fortnite uses the exact same map as the PC version, which changes slightly as the game evolves.
For example, season four kicked off with meteors striking the island, destroying some structures and areas that had been there since the game’s launch (RIP Dusty Depot). Other new areas were added, some hidden at the sides of the map and others in plain sight.
Fortnite also occasionally offers limited time game modes, such as 50 vs 50 or sniper shootout. They spice up the game a bit, and disappear before getting stale.
PUBG instead offers several different maps, although currently only the original map has made it to the mobile version. Thankfully, the second map will be available in the coming weeks. PUBG Mobile also has a mobile-only arcade mode with fewer players to bring matches down to a more mobile-friendly duration.
Getting around the map
Both games give players the ability to get around the map quickly, but they go about it in very different ways. Keeping with the theme, PUBG Mobile stays true to life by placing cars and motorcycles around the map. They can explode upon taking too much damage, and run out of gas after covering long distances.
Fortnite instead gives players jump pads, which launch your character into the air to glide their way across the map. This won’t get you as far as a vehicle, but the map is also a bit smaller so it isn’t too tough to escape the reach of the storm.
Both games also feature auto-move to give your thumbs a rest. But again, crossing open fields in PUBG Mobile is a lot more dangerous than it is in Fortnite Mobile, so proceed with caution.
Auto pick up and other mobile-only features
Both PUBG Mobile and Fortnite Mobile add a few mobile-only features to make the game more playable on mobile devices. These include aim assist, directional indicators, and auto pick-up.
The directional indicators are virtually identical in both games, and show which direction shots or footsteps come are coming from to help players without headphones. Fortnite Mobile features and additional golden indicator for chests containing powerful weapons and loot.
In practice the indicators work better in PUBG, since in Fortnite gameplay is more three-dimensional. Players can build up and down, and the indicators are simply unable to provide that kind of information. You won’t know if a player is above or below you until it’s too late.
Auto pick-up is also similar between the two, and will pick up weapons, items, and meds to fill up your inventory. In Fortnite Mobile it also picks up building materials, and in PUBG Mobile it picks up and equips attachments for your guns as well as higher level armor and backpacks.
Another difference between Fortnite and PUBG is how they’ve chosen to monetize their content. PUBG for PC is the only non free-to-play title of the bunch, and even it contains in-game purchases. They truly are inescapable in today’s gaming landscape.
First of all, both mobile games are completely free and purchased content is limited to cosmetics that offer no competitive advantage. Fortnite Mobile has a lot more to offer in that regard, with tons of skins, dances, emotes, and now sprays to unlock. Some of these can be unlocked by playing, and others will need to be purchased.
Both games are completely free and purchased content is limited to cosmetics that offer no competitive advantage
Fortnite is divided into seasons, so every 70 days or so a new season pass will need to be purchased in order to level up faster and unlock that season’s unique rewards. It’s quite a grind to unlock all of them, but fortunately your progress is shared account wide so you don’t have to start over if you’ve played the PC version.
It might not sound that exciting, but a lot of the unlockables are really cool. Epic Games has also been really good at incorporating ideas from their community, so it’s filled with inside jokes and memes. But really, no one wants to be a lowly no-skin.
PUBG Mobile, on the other hand, opts for a more traditional loot box system for its cosmetic items. They include parachutes, jackets, glasses, pants, shoes, and other basic apparel. Some boxes can be opened using in-game currency, but others require real money.
PUBG Mobile and Fortnite Mobile run on the Unreal Engine 4, which was developed by Epic Games themselves. It’s not surprising that both Fortnite and Fortnite Mobile hit the ground running and were highly optimized right out of the gates.
In fact, one of the main things that lead to Fortnite overtaking PUBG in the first place (other than being free) was that it can be played on much less powerful PCs. It remains to be seen whether or not Fortnite Mobile will work on lower spec devices, since for now it’s only available on a few of the latest iOS releases.
Both games will drain your battery faster than you can say winner winner chicken dinner
Fortnite Mobile does look remarkably similar to the PC version, but currently there are no graphics settings to boost performance. Epic Games will surely expand this before it’s released into the wild west of Android devices.
PUBG Mobile offers robust graphics settings to adapt it to just about any device. Unlike the PC version on release, it’s also fairly well optimized, although low-res textures do take away from the realistic feel of the game.
Lightspeed and Quantum Studios has pushed out several updates to PUBG Mobile to include both higher and lower end Android devices. However, both games will drain your battery faster than you can say winner winner chicken dinner.
Fortnite vs PUBG – Conclusion
So which game is better when it comes to Fortnite vs PUBG? Both games are great (and free), but for now it seems like a moot point. Fortnite Mobile is still limited to a few iOS devices, so for Android users the choice is already made. Of course this could change when the Android version of Fortnite Mobile finally surfaces.
Who do you think will come out on top in the battle royale of Fortnite and PUBG? Let us know in the comments!