Who knew that skulking around office buildings, scavenging for supplies, and then shotgunning anyone who crosses your path would be so much fun? Well, based on the popularity of games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite: Battle Royale, the answer seems to be "everyone." There's something very satisfying about being dropped into a digital playground where the only way to win is to survive by any means necessary.
PUBG was the premier battle royale game for a long while after its Early Access debut on Steam. The game was so popular that Epic Games' plan to pivot its single-player Fortnite into a similar title was laughable. How could anyone be expected to compete with a game that shattered records for the most concurrent players on Steam or viewers on Twitch? Yet now Fortnite: Battle Royale seems to sit atop the battle royale throne.
It's not hard to guess why. Fortnite: Battle Royale is free, boasts a cartoon-like art style, and concerns itself more with letting you engage in wacky hijinks than with even remotely accurately emulating the real world. All of these factors have contributed to my switch from PUBG, and are probably a big part of the reason why Fortnite: Battle Royale has become a cultural phenomenon that you can't escape if you tried.
I'll be the first to confess that I'm not good at this game. The building aspect of the game eludes me--while other people are building skyscrapers to get a better angle on their unwitting victims, I'm struggling to set up a single ramp so I don't have to walk around a steep hill. I'm still content to just shoot people, though, or to quietly make my way around the map while everyone else battles over the coveted top spot.
The nice thing about Fortnite: Battle Royale is that I have these options. If I feel like being aggressive, I can land in a popular spot, rush to the nearest weapon, and try to kill anyone I see. But if I want to hide in a bush all game and then steal the final kill, well, I can do that too. Each game feels like a choose-your-own-adventure book where each ending just happens to involve cartoonish violence.
That freedom helps keep Fortnite: Battle Royale interesting but not overbearing. You can play the game as much or as little as you like--it doesn't really make a difference in the long term. Compared to grinding through single-player titles or competitive multiplayer games, having the option to spend 15 minutes or 12 hours running around a cartoon world picking up building supplies and trying not to die seems awfully refreshing.
So if you're stuck in a rut with another game, or if you have limited time to play something, it might as well be Fortnite: Battle Royale. It's the gaming equivalent to watching sitcom reruns: Everything will be familiar enough to be comfortable, but different enough to stay interesting. Just relax, turn off your brain, and hope someone in a John Wick costume doesn't pick up the Hand Cannon and snipe you from across the map.