Ho boy, this was interesting. PUBG is an innovative game, taking time honored gameplay and throwing a fresh spin on things, i.e. basically being the film Battle Royale. It is no surprise then that it has spawned imitators. A lot of imitators. Even a few from AAA studios, looking to capitalize on the buzz generated by the original developer. The same is true with the mobile market, and I have spent the last few days checking out a few of the options on Android devices. Last Battleground: Survival is today’s pick, and so far, I am actually enjoying myself, if I squint.
Player Unknown Battleground on Android?
The Battle Royale Genre is currently in the process of being codified. All the rules aren’t in place yet. Similar to the Souls-like genre in that respect. So many firms jumping on the band wagon, throwing gameplay ideas at the wall, seeing what sticks and what slides down. It’s exciting, reminds me of the first few years after Doom came out, back when all FPS games were called Doom Clones, or the early 2000s open world kick, all of those were called GTA Clones. At the core of the experience is landing on a wide open sandbox island, with nothing but your pants. Running around searching for weapons and armor, praying that you find something more useful than a frying pan before another player nails you in the cranium. All in good fun.
What surprises me is that no one has ever done this before now. I mean, Battle Royale was popular when I was a teenager, and the basic premise in all these games would not have been hard to do in the mid 2000s. Maybe we needed a huge online platform with little oversight for this particular ludological morsel to rise to the top, but I digress.
No this is not Player Unknown Battleground so no PUBG skins for you. It is a far cry from it in fact, but it is a decent on the go alternative and one that is still being worked on.
Last Battleground: Survival Review
If you have played PUBG then the Last Battleground: Survival should be familiar to you. You para drop onto the island and find a gun. Other players are out there, 32 in this game, all doing the same. You have to be the last one standing. The map is gridded out into zones, with the play area becoming smaller and smaller until the very end. The folks over at Elex Studios have done a great job of taking the core gameplay and shrinking it down to a handheld form. There is a wide variety of weapons to choose from and the map is actually pretty big. Vehicles are available now, a recent addition, and one that changes the gameplay drastically.
Graphically I was actually impressed, but I am easy to please on this front. I know how hard it is to render distance on an Android phone especially when you have to toss a coin as to how much VRAM is available to the player. What they have here is a game that looks like a cleaned up PS2 title, with acceptable distance rendering. Objects will pop in for you though, even if you have the best phones on the market, but that is a small concession, seen as players rarely will. I experienced no frame rate issues, but then I am running on a high end Nexus, so again, this will depend on the brand of your phone. Broad strokes what we have here is a very playable on the go version of PUBG. But that is not to say there aren’t issues with the current build of the game.
Firstly, the controls. I am very much not a mobile gamer, mostly because the onscreen controls are a little unforgiving to me. I can barely type a sentence with my thumbs, so moving a virtual analog stick was harder than it had to be. No fault of Elex that though. I would like to see a controller option in the future, as I do have a nice little Android pad for running emulators. The sound quality can be grating for some, myself included. I dislike the inbuilt speakers on my phone as it is, but when I have to hear these bargain bin SFX coming out of them it sets my ears on edge.
Last Battleground: Survival Conclusion
Overall I was very impressed with what the team over at Elex was able to accomplish given the limitations. The game does a good job of translating the full home version to a handheld device, and with a few more patches it should be a silky smooth experience for most of the user base. Elex are committed to expanding the game going forward, with vehicles being a recent addition. it does lead to a slightly unstable playing experience though, so be sure to consider that before going into this one. The graphics are impressive, the sound is bearable and the core gameplay is far above what one would expect. If you are looking for something to play during the long car rides, and it has to be PUBG, then give Last Battleground: Survival a look.