The origins of battle royale games are manifold, but what they involve is largely the same: lots of players go in, only one leaves. Battle royale is a violent, unpredictable, and frenzied multiplayer mode where the only goal is to endure until you’re the sole survivor.
All tactics and styles of play are equally viable in the best battle royale games. You can win by hiding in bushes and waiting for the herd to thin out, or scavenge a weapon and start reducing the numbers yourself. With the explosion of Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends, you would be forgiven for thinking there are only three battle royales out there, but there are now numerous other contenders to challenge them, each with its own spin on the established formula. And with player counts fluctuating all over the place, it’s important to know the most popular battle royale games so you can be sure to get a match.
Whether you’re after games like Warzone or an inventive new twist on the formula, there is a battle royale game out there for everyone. So, to help you broaden your horizons, we have assembled this handy guide to the best battle royale games on PC.
The best battle royale games are:
It may have started out as a joke, but the game formally known as Cuisine Royale is still pulling in steady player counts more than a year after its initial launch. The secret to their success? PUBG-like gameplay, steady updates that bring fresh content to the game, and a cosmetics-only free-to-play model.
CRSED also offers its own tweaks to the established battle royale games formula. The most obvious one is that instead of military armour and equipment, every player has to use pots, pans, and various other pieces of kitchenware to keep themselves safe from bullets. Other neat tweaks like a severely reduced player count and simple WW2 games-inspired weaponry keep fights simple and competitive. If you’re looking for a semi-realistic, free-to-play BR game, then CRSED: F.O.A.D. is one of the best currently around.
Warzone deviates from the standard battle royale games formula in pretty much every area… save for the fact that there’s still an ever-shrinking circle of death forcing all 150 players into conflict until only one team remains. There are respawns in the form of a bizarre 1v1 duel in the Gulag, you can collect cash and spend it on respawning teammates or killstreaks at Buy Stations, and you can even set up your best Warzone loadout before a match and call it in as a reward. All of this helps make Warzone a BR game where losing one teammate really isn’t a big deal, meaning you’re free to play as aggressively as you want.
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Pretty much any common assault rifle is good enough to net you a kill – looting is mostly useful for earning cash and ammo – so you can focus on getting into and out of as many scraps as possible. Other tweaks aid to the simplicity: the zone is incredibly lethal so there’s no camping in the gas meta, armour plates cover your whole body so you don’t need to worry about helmets, and health regenerates just as it does in multiplayer. So if you’re looking for a free battle royale game that’s fast-paced and accessible then Warzone is one of the best options out there.
Fall Guys borrows elements from the battle royale genre and the hit Japanese game show, Takeshi’s Castle, to create something completely unique. Bringing together 60 contestants, each player must defeat their fellow jelly beans in a mad dash for the finish line, but only the top number of players can progress through each round to eventually be crowned victorious. The challenges aren’t always obstacle courses either, they range from memorisation games, clinging to a platform for dear life, and even an oversized football match which splits players into two separate teams.
The beauty of Fall Guys is that no matter how skilled you are, almost anyone can win and that random factor is what makes Fall Guys so entertaining. Even if you don’t win, you’ll have a good story to tell.. Though the popularity of Fall Guys has dropped off since it launched back in August 2020, the game is still incredibly popular. The developers continue to release new content every few months like skins and challenges, and they listen to community feedback to fine tune the experience for new and experienced players alike.
With the dystopian charm of Titanfall’s mech-ravaged world and the intense gunfights that make PUBG so gripping, it’s no wonder that Apex Legends’ player count reached over 25 million players in its first week. Respawn’s battle royale game came out of nowhere and surpassed genre stalwart Fortnite on Twitch in viewership figures in its first seven days.
Apex Legends zips along at an astonishing pace. Sure, it may not be the parkour and wall-running we’ve come to expect from Respawn’s famous robot game, but this battle royale moves in its own way. Sprinting is swifter than you’d expect and sliding takes you a greater distance – especially with the mountainous terrain considered. Movement sets the tone of the gunplay, too: if your team successfully flanks another in a well-timed push, you earn their bounty.
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Apex Legends weapons themselves are finely-tuned, showing Respawn’s confidence in launching Apex Legends as a full game rather than in early access. Shotguns fire off with a fearsome crunch that can punish a poorly-timed push as much as a well-placed headshot will aid anyone who is a dab hand with a sniper rifle.
Better still, there are lots here for casual players. Apex Legends uses a ping system to ease the burden of mic-free communication. Clicking the scroll wheel highlights places of interest, valuable loot, and charging hostiles. What’s more, from a time-hopping assassin to a zip line quip-happy robot, the cast of Apex Legends characters is wonderfully diverse, quirky, and cool to inhabit. With the launch of Apex Legends Season 4 and new Legend Revenant, there’s never been a better time to join the Apex Games.
There’s a reason PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds regularly boasts hundreds of thousands of concurrent players and has sold millions of copies: it’s the basic battle royale premise done right. With frequent PUBG updates and new PUBG maps, the chart-conquering sensation is replete with features and is addictive beyond belief.
PlayerUnknown isn’t just a cool-sounding title either, it’s the pseudonym of Brendan Greene: the creator of PUBG, and the man responsible for the incredibly popular Arma 3 Battle Royale mod. That experience shows in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which forgoes complications like crafting and a complex melee fighting system, and instead focuses on razor-sharp firefights, tactical play, and scavenging.
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More so than any other battle royale game on this list, PUBG feels and controls realistically, resulting in reactive gameplay that never grows old.
Want some poppy, comic book visuals with your 100-man massacres? Fortnite Battle Royale takes the perfectly poised match structure of PUBG and ditches all the gritty realism for colours and soft edges. On top of that, Epic Games continue to outdo themselves with each new Fortnite season, changing the map, adding heaps of new Fortnite skins, and overhauling gameplay mechanics. It’s no wonder Fortnite player numbers continue to swell: this is the current king of battle royales.
You’re also able to harvest resources and build structures like houses to camp in, walls for cover, and ramps to help you climb up mountains. This is a battle royale game for those who like to get creative.
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That changes the rhythm of the game considerably, increasing the emphasis on resource-gathering throughout the match so that you’ve got plenty of materials to build cover and fortify as the player count dwindles. Being able to build also means a lot of scope for unconventional tactics. Pinned down behind a tree? Pull out your pickaxe, gather a few logs, and build yourself a wall that will give you a bit more protection. Need a sneaky way of getting to an opponent? Try building a series of ramps to flank them from an unexpected angle.
The Fortnite vs. PUBG debate isn’t going to be settled any time soon, so just be grateful we have two spectacular survival shooters to revel in.
Battlefield 5’s take on the battle royale genre took a while to come to fruition and conjured up very little buzz on release, but boasts plenty of smart revisions to the formula. For example, there are capture points dotted around the huge Scandinavian map, helping draw all 64 players into the fray as they vie for high tier loot.
Then there are the vehicles, which offer a similar risk/reward mechanic – hop in a tank and you’ll have an instant advantage over other players, but you won’t be able to escape without players noticing.
Best of all, Firestorm maintains Battlefield’s signature destruction mechanics, ensuring there’s no safe refuge. You may have to do a little waiting for a full match, but it’s worth it as Battlefield 5’s solid shooting and impressive audio-visual fidelity make this one of the most convincing battle royale experiences out there.
Just when you thought we’d seen it all in the battle royale genre, a free-to-play game like Spellbreak comes along to remind us that there’s still plenty of new ideas out there. Spellbreak gives players six battlemage classes to pick from, each with their own set of skills and abilities. Picking a class doesn’t limit you to just one set of abilities either; you can wield different magical gauntlets to create spell combos. Mixing Pyromancer spells with Tempest gives you fiery tornadoes, whereas a Conduit and Toxicologist hybrid can create electrified gas clouds.
Spellbreak’s magical powers make the game standout among the crowd, creating spectacular fights, inspired by shows like Dragon Ball Z. The 3.1 update recently revamped the new player experience, making it easier to unlock all six classes by simply reaching Mage Rank 4. There hasn’t been a better time to play than right now, and Spellbreak features cross-play to ensure you always have people to fight against.
You’ll likely already be familiar with ZombsRoyale.io if you’ve played some of the best idle games or online games as it borrows plenty of mechanics from Zombs.io and Surviv.io. This is a free-to-play browser-based battle royale game that you can play on practically anything with an internet connection, and it’s superb at showing just how versatile the BR genre really is.
All the staples are here: you drop into a random part of the map, loot weapons from chests, and slowly converge on one point of the map until there’s one player left standing. However, the switch to a top-down view changes how every battle plays out, as both players always know where one another is. This makes large-scale battles between three or more players feel a little more controllable as you can always see what’s unfolding around you. Matches are fast, too, allowing you to squeeze in all the tension of a 30-minute PUBG match into, say, a bathroom break.
Super Animal Royale is a top down 2D battle royale where 64 players fight to the death. Yes, you read that correctly, the game is called Super Animal Royale. These cute animals may look innocent and sweet, but they’re capable of wielding an array of weapons. The battles take place in an abandoned safari park, though that doesn’t explain where the weapons came from…
If you’re after a Hotline Miami-style battle royale game, Super Animal Royale was made for you. Super Animal Royale also supports cross-platform, allowing PC players to square off against their console friends. You can play the game in solos, duos, and squads all without paying a penny as it’s completely free-to-play.
What started development as an April Fool’s Day joke turned into one of the most inventive battle royale games of 2018, and developer Landfall can claim three million Totally Accurate Battlegrounds downloads in four days as proof. Totally Accurate Battlegrounds (TABG) boasts countless melee and ranged weapons, attachments, and gear to ensure every gun battle is as unpredictable and messy as the ragdolling character models.
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TABG’s coup de grâce is its exaggerated physics, which sees your character flopping up staircases and tumbling over obstacles, not to mention the recoil from high-calibre weapons, which punts you backwards with every shot. Developer Landfall embrace the goofy nature of their battle royale with a ridiculous character customiser and a dedicated key for holding your weapon sideways and beatboxing. Unsurprisingly, the default binding for this is G.
The player count is small, so you’ll need to get to know the community if you want to catch a game, but a free version of TABG is on the horizon that should boost the player count back up to healthy numbers.
One of the most surprising things about the free-to-play Unturned is that it boasts some particularly polished and realistic gunplay. Where that really shines is in Arena Mode, an official game mode that borrows the core mechanics of PUBG, cuts the player count to 16, and takes place on one of four small maps.
Don’t let Unturned: Arena Mode fool you with its blocky art style – it is a hardcore shooter deep down, and that shows in its breadth of weapons and attachments. The fact that there are four distinct maps to fight through also adds an extra level of skill, as different tactics and map knowledge come into play. If you’re after a less gritty battle royale game, but still crave the high skill cap and realistic gunplay, then seek out Unturned: Arena Mode. It may not quite be one of the best zombie games on PC, but shooting Unturned’s cutesy undead hordes is still a blast. And it’s free, which is always welcome.
Owing to the total freedom afforded to players by Minecraft, particularly on PC, it was only a matter of time before somebody made a version of The Hunger Games in Mojang’s family-oriented sandbox. That creative freedom means there are hundreds upon hundreds of maps, arena styles, weapon and armour setups, and rules to keep the experience varied depending on which Minecraft server you decide to play on.
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Rather than players spawning or dropping into the map at random points, and unlike some of the best Minecraft maps in its parent game, most Minecraft Survival servers pay tribute to the blockbuster franchise by spawning players in a circle around a huge cache of weapons – when the timer hits zero it’s anyone’s game. Rush to the weapons and risk dying in the immediate fray, or hope to scavenge one from a corpse later on? Minecraft Survival Games is a solid battle royale experience, and the sheer number of custom variants ensures every niche is served.
UPCOMING BATTLE ROYALE GAMES
Vampire: The Masquerade is probably the last series you’d expect to have a battle royale game, but it works surprisingly well. Despite the initial hesitation from the VtM community, the devs have proven they know how to introduce battle royale to the World of Darkness series. It turns out playing as powerful vampires with supernatural abilities makes for a fun time.
As we highlighted in our preview of the game, Bloodhunt plays a lot like PUBG with super powers. These vampires may have abilities, but they still use weapons to get the business done. The supernatural abilities in Bloodhunt see fights ensue across the rooftops of Prague as teams leap from building to building. Players can revive if left alone for long enough, so be sure to diablerise them before they get the chance. This game is certainly worth keeping an eye on, and it’s going to launch as a free-to-play title which is always nice.
Naraka Bladepoint is the most anticipated battle royale game of 2021 so far, with over 160,000 concurrent players joining the fray during its second open beta period. Though the game does include traditional weapons, most fights are settled by melee combat. This is where Naraka Bladepoint separates itself from the rest of the competition. Combat plays out like a fighting game – players need to consider every move to avoid being punished by their opponent.
There’s a focus on verticality in Naraka Bladepoint as each player has access to a grappling hook and parkour abilities. Depending on which Naraka: Bladepoint character you pick, your playstyle can drastically change. For example, Matari has powerful stealth abilities which can be great for picking off injured enemies, or Tarka Ji can throw fireballs that deal area of effect damage. The Naraka Bladepoint release date is almost here, read our guides to pick up some helpful beginner tips, find out what the best weapons are, and discover how to customise your character.
That’s the lot. The best battle royale games on PC that are like PUBG… um, including PUBG. If you’re impatiently waiting for Minecraft 2’s release date to be announced, or need to kill some time while the best upcoming PC games finish baking, you really should fire up the brutal battle royales above. Granted, Fortnite and PUBG may have conquered the world, but there are some smaller wonders out there worth playing for yourself.