There are plenty of brilliant Battle Royale shooters (and even some non-shooters) out there. They're certainly not all alike, even if they are built on the same premise. For those that don't know, this is a genre of games spawned with a play style inspired by the Japanese novel and subsequent 2001 movie: "Battle Royale".
A large group of players tends to be dropped from an aeroplane onto a large island or map, where they then need to scavenge for loot and weapons while battling it out with each other until there's a final survivor or winning team left.
To add to the tension and ensure the game doesn't end up full of campers, a randomly generated shrinking area of doom often forces players closer and closer together. Any gamers who fail to stay within the confines of this area will find their health being drained until they reach the safety of the centre. These games are not just a battle against other players, but a race against the clock. It makes them frantic, fun and highly appealing too.
We've rounded up the best, and explained why each is worth a look.
- What makes it interesting? Often seen as the original Battle Royale game and one that kickstarted it all. It's also a more serious game than most of the rest and features cross-platform play.
- Publisher: Bluehole/Kakao Games
- Developer: Bluehole/PUBG Corporation
- Platform: PC/PS4/Xbox One and mobile
- See offers at Fanatical
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, AKA PUBG, is often seen as the original Battle Royale game. However, it was actually a mix of Day-Z and H1Z1 that spawned the idea, but PUBG brought the concept more into the mainstream.
This game was created by Brendan Greene and started life as an early access game on Steam before moving to a proper PC release. As PUBG gained traction it made its way onto console and mobile as well.
PUBG is far more serious than other Battle Royale games and it's that tactical gameplay and team-based fun that people love.
It pits 100 players against each other either in solo, duo or squad modes all fighting it out for the inevitable chicken dinner for the victor.
- What makes it interesting? Fortnite stands out from the crowd with building mechanics, a massive player base and plenty of regular updates.
- Publisher: Epic Games
- Developer: Epic Games
- Platform: PC/PS4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch and mobile
- Download from Epic
Riding on the coattails of PUBG, Fortnite smashed its way into mainstream popularity with surprising speed and ease. Its launch certainly wasn't without controversy as the makers of PUBG tried to sue Epic Games for copyright infringement, but it seemed nothing could stop the game on its path to success.
- What is Fortnite Battle Royale? How does it work and what devices can you play it on?
- What parents need to know about Fortnite
Fortnite took the already loved Battle Royale genre and improved upon it with some simple additions.
It was immediately appealing thanks to being free-to-play, but had much more to offer beyond that. The game lets players gather resources for building that can be used to create defensive walls to protect fallen comrades, crafted into giant bases or quickly positioned into makeshift platforms into the sky to get the height advantage. This simple mechanic makes Fortnite even more frantic and interesting than other Battle Royale games.
Cartoon graphics, emotes, outfits and much more besides make it appeal to a wider audience too. Fortnite is also regularly refreshed with new content and includes a "Battle Pass" system to unlock rewards and keep players engaged.
Call of Duty: Warzone
- What makes it interesting? Silky smooth shooting and an absolutely huge map and player count make for frenetic action
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Infinity Ward
- Platform: PC/PS4/Xbox One
- Download from Battle.net
Warzone is the big new name on the battle royale scene, a free add-on for Modern Warfare owners, and completely free to play for everyone else. It's a superb entry, too, with 150 players battling across a massive map set in Verdansk. Gas closes in slowly over time, to constrain the playing area in classic style.
There are vehicles to get around in, and a huge range of weapons to fight with. Plus, being based on the foundations laid by Modern Warfare, the gameplay is super smooth and gunfights are responsive and feel fair. There are also millions and millions of players right now, shortly after launch, making it a really quick process to find a game and get started.
Warzone also brings some smart little changes, like the option to win a second airdrop after dying if you win a one-on-one gunfight, and giving you the option of contracts to complete as you move around the map to give you more to do than just loot and shoot. It's a great package that looks set to be a big player in the battle royale genre for a long time to come.
- What makes it interesting? An unusual hero class system with three-person squads.
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: Respawn Entertainment
- Platform: PC/PS4/Xbox One
- Download from Origin
Apex Legends is another in a long line of Battle Royale games, but it's also one that came out of nowhere and surprised many.
This is a Battle Royale shooter created by the team behind Titanfall. It quickly proved to be one of the most popular shooters in the genre and in the world. Like Fortnite, it's free-to-play, but also stands out from the other games with some unusual features you don't see elsewhere.
In Apex Legends, you have the ability to not only rescue downed friendly players but also to revive dead teammates as long as you can stay alive long enough to get their data chip and take it to a respawn point.
- What is Apex Legends? The free to play Battle Royale for PS4, Xbox One and PC explained
- Apex Legends tips and tricks for beginners
It also has a game mode that only allows you to play with a squad of three players for the sake of balance. But, its main appeal is a hero class system that includes various "Legend" characters with different abilities and skills. This is certainly unusual as these games usually set out to put players on a level playing field, so Legends need to be carefully balanced to ensure no one player has the upper hand before the game even begins.
Like Fortnite, Apex Legends also has a Battle Pass system with seasonal content to keep players interested. Cosmetic items, new legends to unlock and more are all designed to ensure the game stays interesting for months to come.
Battlefield V Firestorm
- What makes it interesting? Battlefield V's breathtaking graphics in a Battle Royale setting. Mini-objectives, resupply points and the ability to use vehicles make this one appealing.
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: Dice/Criterion
- Platform: PC/PS4/Xbox One
- See it on Origin
Battlefield V Firestorm is a free download for all owners of the main game and it takes the classic Battlefield gameplay into a Battle Royale arena.
Firestorm takes place on Battlefield's "biggest map ever" and puts players into battle in either solo or quad mode with 64 players fighting it out for victory.
All the things players love from the Battlefield series are present too - there's the huge map, squad-based play and a range of vehicles to use, including cars, helicopters and even a tractor.
Battlefield V Firestorm is also appealing because of the destructive environments. Seen an enemy that thinks they're safe in a house? Flush them out by destroying the walls and tumbling the roof with a well-placed anti-tank rocket or explosive.
If that's not enough of a draw, how about some tanks? Yep, that's right, you can jump in a Panzer to crush your enemies, rumble over the landscape or smash through a building on the way to victory.
Battlefield's spotting system is also here as well, so you can point out threats or let your mates know about good gear you've found. There are also mini-objectives that can be completed as the circle closes - with the reward of extra high-class loot at the risk of exposing yourself to enemy fire.
The shrinking circle is also a great wall of fire, so that certainly heats things up.
- What makes it interesting? Cuisine Royale is quite possibly the daftest of all the Battle Royale games, but it's also hilariously enjoyable.
- Publisher: Gaijin Distribution KFT
- Developer: Darkflow Software
- Platform: PC/Xbox One
- See it on Steam
If you're looking for something a little bit different, then Cuisine Royale might well be it.
This is a WW2, third-person Battle Royale game that's free-to-play and doesn't take itself too seriously. It's based on the engine of an upcoming WW2 MMO Enlisted and both looks and plays really well.
Cuisine Royale appeals because it features brilliantly hilarious gameplay that includes some pretty nifty mechanics that really change the way you can play the game each time you play.
As with other Battle Royale games, you're able to find and equip armour that offers different levels of protection. But, unlike other shooters in this genre, this game also has a number of other things to make it interesting.
You can find and equip various bits of kit that change the way your character reacts to the world. There's a cigar that gives you extra health, but also gives away your position with a plume of smoke; a pair of bunny slippers that allow you to jump high onto the roofs of buildings to get the upper hand on enemies but make a distinct loud sound as you do so; and winged kneepads that allow you to run fast and a bullet-deflecting frying pan that can be used as a melee weapon.
No two games of Cuisine Royale are the same and it's regularly updated it with more content too. The developers have added in all sorts since the game first launched, including special "rituals" and traps that can be deployed by players to various effect. Some of these impact everyone in the game, others are localised to a specific area. We're big fans of one ritual that turns every toilet into a portal that teleports you across the map, a trap that drops a surprise grenade for enemies and one that unleashes a horde of zombies onto the map.
Like Apex Legends, Cuisine Royale also has characters with special abilities that can be unleashed to make things interesting.
Ring of Elysium
- What makes it interesting? There's actually a reason to get to the end of this game - escape from disaster. You can also get about with gliders, bikes, grappling hooks and more.
- Publisher: TCH Scarlet Limited
- Developer: Aurora Studio
- Platform: PC
- Download it from Steam
Ring of Elysium is another free-to-play Battle Royale game that's worth checking out. It's PC-only, but is certainly drawing in the players thanks to an awesome design and great gameplay style.
This one is different from the rest in a number of ways, the most interesting of which is an actual reason for battling it out to the centre of the ring. Disaster has struck the imaginary world and your only hope for survival is aboard a single rescue helicopter which conveniently only has enough room for up to four people.
Ring of Elysium's locations also change dramatically as the disasters roll in, making this game a real survival experience beyond the usual PvP battles.
Throw in a healthy mix of transport modes that include gliders, grappling hooks, snowboards and more and you've got some pretty unique playstyles. If you're a fan of extreme snow sports and shooting then this is one for you.
Forza Horizon 4: The Eliminator
- What makes it interesting? It's a Battle Royale game with cars?
- Publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Developer: Playground Games
- Platform: PC
- See the official site
If you're bored of Battle Royale games that require you to outshoot other players, what about one where you have to outdrive them instead? The Eliminator mode in Forza Horizon 4 offers just that. Burn around the map looking for upgraded vehicles, then race your way to the final circle and victory.
Totally Accurate Battlegrounds
- What makes it interesting? The silliest Battle Royale game around. Utterly daft physics make TABG a total hoot.
- Publisher: Landfall
- Developer: Landfall
- Platform: PC
- See it from Steam
If you've always thought Battle Royale games are a bit too serious, then there's good news. Totally Accurate Battlegrounds is anything but. Daft physics, hilarious graphics and plenty of parody-based humour make this game a real chortle.
This game was originally made as an April Fools joke but actually turned out so well they've kept it going. The wibbly-wobbly physics, amusing character customisation and range of daft weapons make TABG a total blast.