The origins of the battle royale genre are manifold, but the gameplay 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.
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 both Fortnite and PUBG, you’d be forgiven for thinking there are only two battle royales out there, but there are now numerous other contenders to challenge the big two.
Whether you’re after a free PUBG clone 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’ve assembled this handy guide to the best battle royale games on PC.
The best battle royale games are:
Take a look at the Steam user reviews for Realm Royale and you’ll get an immediate sense of why it’s so popular: no building. While Fortnite can’t be beaten in terms of its skill ceiling and scope for creativity, a lot of players simply don’t enjoy how powerful the mechanic is. But Realm Royale isn’t just another free-to-play battle royale game. It finds breathing space in this increasingly crowded genre with a few neat additions, like a class system and summonable mounts. There are also Forges, which address the mid-game lull that so many battle royale games suffer from by promising high-level gear at marked locations around the map.
Classes means there are always a variety of builds in play, which leads to skirmishes that rival Fortnite’s in terms of complexity, with everything from turrets and fireballs, to ghost walks and proximity mines. The key difference is that these abilities are bound to your number keys like they are in hero shooters and MMOS, so Realm Royale isn’t too demanding of your mechanical skills – if you’re still struggling then we have someRealm Royale tipsto help you out. There’s also the comical downed phase, which turns injured players into giant chickens who hop and cluck incessantly until executed. However, if you manage to keep your chicken alive for 20 seconds you can respawn as if revived by a teammate – seeing 2v1s turned on their head by some cunning chicken play never gets old.
There’s a reason PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds regularly boasts 500,000 concurrent players and has sold in excess of six million copies: it’s the basic battle royale premise done right. With frequent new PUBG updates, 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.
More so than any other battle royale game on this list, PUBG feels and controls realistically, resulting in reactive gameplay that never grows old. Opening PUBG crates for new outfits can be worryingly addictive, and technically, the game is a little rough around the edges, but nothing tastes quite as satisfying as bagging that end-game chicken dinner after outlasting 99 other players.
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. It’s no wonder Fortnite player numbers continue to swell: this is the current king of battle royales.
As its Fortnite, you’ll also be able to harvest resources and build structures like houses to camp in, walls for cover, traps to deal damage, and ramps to help you climb up mountains. This is a battle royale game for those who like to get creative.
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.
Totally Accurate Battlegrounds
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.
TABG’s coup de grâce is it’s 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. and being punted backwards whenever you fire a high-calibre weapon. 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.
Fed up of running across a seemingly empty map for half an hour only to be instantly dispatched by a single sniper shot? Games like PUBG can be a gargantuan slog for very little reward or action. Darwin Project shows that battle royale games don’t have to be all about scale, and with just 10 players, a tiny map, and no guns, you can be sure that you’ll at least see the player that kills you.
Darwin Project is clearly inspired by The Hunger Games with its emphasis on traps and melee combat, it’s forbidden map zones, and its player-controlled Show Director, who can trigger buffs and arena-wide effects like lowering the gravity. You can also use voice chat to quiz certain players and reward or punish them based on their answer, which is a social aspect you will not find in many other games.
Before Brendan Greene helmed his own battle royale game, he was drafted in to help Daybreak Games perfectH1Z1. Compared to PUBG, H1Z1 is a much lighter and more accessible battle royale – there are fewer weapons, no attachments, and you don’t get to choose where you parachute in from. That last point is particularly important as it means you’re always dropping into the map with several other players, leading to a manic scramble for guns and gear, and a hefty amount of bloodshed in the match’s opening few seconds.
H1Z1’s gunplay is more akin to that of an arcade shooter than the military sim-influenced heft of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ weapons. Shooting feels basic, but there’s still plenty of nuance to landing shots and engaging targets at range that you can only learn through hours of trial and error. The fact that you get nearly 200 potential targets to hone your shooting skills on certainly helps.
If PUBG involves a little too much hiding around in bushes and strategic play for your liking, then the faster pace on display here might be more to your taste. And if you find yourself struggling, ourH1Z1 guide should improve your odds of survival.
Last Man Standing
If you just want to dip your toes into battle royale without spending any money, you could do a lot worse thanLast Man Standing, a free-to-play battle royale game with a surprising amount of depth and gameplay features.
The setup fits the battle royale formula to the letter: 100 players spawn in, forage for guns and gear, and kill until there’s only one person left. What Last Man Standing lacks in vehicles, it more than makes up for in weapons and attachments, even giving PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds a run for its money where loadout options are concerned. Its gunplay is nowhere near as polished, however.
If you’re struggling to convince three mates to invest in a battle royale game, Last Man Standing is solid, and won’t cost you a penny, making it one of thebest free PC gamesaround.
Leaning much more on the televised, dystopian future flavour of battle royale popularised by The Hunger Games, The Culling is a first-person, melee-focused twist on the genre. The combat is basic but brutal, and the setting is a gamified jungle, complete with a stadium, giant floating scoreboard, and The Culling branding everywhere you look.
Much like in The Hunger Games, you won’t find much in the way of firearms in The Culling, and what assault rifles and SMGs you do come across will come with scarce few rounds. The emphasis here is on crafting rudimentary weapons, traps, and finding rarer treats like chainsaws and dynamite. There are also far fewer enemies to stab, chop, and beat your way through in order to get the win – only 16 contestants fight it out in this battle royale game.
The melee-focused gameplay and smaller player count makes The Culling the ideal battle royale game for The Hunger Games fans or, thanks to its excellent Duos mode, two friends.
Unturned: Arena Mode
One of the most surprising things about the free-to-playUnturned 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.
Minecraft Survival Games
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.
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.
That’s the lot. The best battle royale games on PC that are like Fortnite… um, including Fortnite. 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 of 2018 finish baking, you really should fire up the brutal battle royales above. Granted, Fortnite and PUBG may have conquered the world. But that doesn’t mean the likes of The Culling and Unturned: Arena Mode don’t deserve a little lovin’.