Everybody knows the story by now. Epic Games (the Unreal Engine makers and Gears of War creators) released Fortnite, which initially was structured around building huge fortresses to defend against the Horde-like storms of computer-controlled zombies. However, this project was eventually turned into an ultra-obvious Playerunknown's Battlegrounds copycat. Epic nicked the entire premise, switched the airplane for a school bus, and updated Fortnite with what would go on to become the most popular game type of its kind.
And we have of course seen this many times before. Great Giana Sisters is a shameless Super Mario Bros clone, Dead or Alive was a cheap version of Virtua Fighter, while Lords of the Fallen was a straight-up copy of what From Software had done in Dark Souls. Forza Motorsport was basically a direct copy of Gran Turismo and Fatal Fury did what Street Fighter had already succeeded in doing before it. These games replicated much of what made their predecessors special, only a year or so later. However, there have been numerous occasions we've seen clear evidence that this type of imitation doesn't have to be bad, not at all. Not if the developer in question takes the best bits pioneered by its closest competitors but also throws in some of their own ideas. And this is more or less exactly what Epic has done here with Fortnite: Battle Royale, which after several months of being bolted onto the side of Fortnite has now released as a standalone game on mobile devices.
As most of you already know, construction is an important part of the Fortnite experience. Even in the current Battle Royale mode there are plenty of opportunities to build your own bases, houses, or just throw together a 300-meter-high staircase made of old, creaky wood. And it's because of this focus on construction that Epic's Battle Royale shooter looks and feels like nothing else on the market, despite its heritage. Players have become extremely skilled when it comes to combining strange designs with a particular kind of movement pattern, all while putting their weapons to good use, and for an outdated old gamer-geezer like yours truly, the mode has taken weeks and weeks to get into, first on the big screen, and now on mobile.
Fortnite is obviously very different from the type of deathmatches many of us have been used to in the past with the likes of Quake, Halo, and Call of Duty, but immersing ourselves in this new breed on online shooter has been great fun. Importantly, it feels original, even though it's based on some other studio's basic idea, with players battling against a server of equally-minded opponents on an island filled with places to hide and secrets to exploit. You all know the drill.
The full release of Fortnite for iPhone is something of a gem in terms of content and its free-to-play structure. This is not a title where 90% of the content is hidden behind pay-walls or one of those games where you get 30-second-long pixelated trailers for other iOS games every fourth minute of gameplay. No, this is free-to-play done right. And for that, Epic deserves all the love we can possibly muster. The game is chockfull of great content, it's not minimised or slimmed-down, it's not simplified in any sense of the word, but rather it's a pocket-friendly version of the big game itself, and for that alone it deserves a high grade.
The graphics are great (we played it on an iPhone X and an iPhone 8 Plus, and it looked amazing with close to no stuttering or instances were the game froze), the sound is equally good, and we were impressed by the overall presentation. Fortnite to iPhone is the most successful conversion of a "big title" that we have ever tested, and it's a title that we know we will spend a lot of time with in the future. And that's because even though we prefer the PC or even PS4 versions of the game, the accessibility of having a full game, ported from PC and always in our pocket, is something that makes this a must-download for anybody who likes shooting guns and tossing grenades.