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Apex Legends Mobile is flawed — but it has still consumed my life

apex legends mobile screenshot
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Welcome! This column is part of a regular series in which we share what members of the Tom's Guide staff are playing and enjoying right now, with an eye towards helping you find great games that you may have missed. Be sure to check out our last entry, where we talk about why you should check out our Star Wars vs. Star Trek video game face-off.

Apex Legends took the world by storm when it released in 2019. It's a battle royale set in the Titanfall universe, offering slick movement, excellent gunplay, and intense matches.

But a mobile port just released for Android and iOS earlier this week, so I decided to put my hundreds of hours of Apex experience to the test using touchscreen controls. Overall, this is a solid mobile port, which I tested on both a Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

After a couple of hours of playtime, I have to say that I really enjoy it. It's far from perfect — the HUD is extremely crowded — but it captures the essence of Apex Legends. 

Controls are the major weakpoint

Touchscreen controls on a first-person shooter can be pretty tricky. Apex Legends Mobile is pretty standard fare, especially if you've played PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty Mobile. Your movement "joystick" is on the left side of the screen while you use your right thumb to adjust your view.

apex legends mobile screenshot

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apex Legends is known how easy it is to get around, especially using the slide. The mobile version captures this very well, even if it takes some getting used to. Executing a perfect slide to get out of trouble or close the gap with an opponent never ceases to satisfy me.

The HUD can get pretty crowded, since Apex has a lot going on. You have your loadout, backpack, grenades, and health items in the middle. It gets worse, though.

apex legends mobile screenshot

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Over on the right side are buttons for crouch, auto fire down sights, manual aim down sights, hip fire, jump, reload, sight configuration buttons, ping, tactical ability and ultimate. It's very crowded, overwhelming, and difficult to adjust to, especially if you're used to playing on console or PC.

Since a touchscreen is much less accurate than a mouse or controller, lining up the perfect shot is very difficult. I usually do pretty well sniping or using the bow on PC, but I struggled to even land far off shots in my matches, let alone headshots — any that I did manage to get were flukes.

Apex Legends Mobile supports controllers, however, which is a saving grace. You can also adjust the touchscreen HUD if you want, but I had a hard time finding something better than the default.

Looking nice and smooth

I did most of my testing on my iPhone 13 Pro Max, which is the most powerful gaming phone you can get right now thanks to the A15 Bionic chip. So of course, I maxed everything out graphically. The top-tier option is Original, which I imagine is similar to the last-gen or Switch settings.

apex legends mobile screenshot

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You can also get higher frame rates for smoother gameplay. With everything maxed out, I regularly saw 60-80 fps while playing on my iPhone 13 Pro Max. This made for a great experience overall, helping me react to movement faster. (When playing Apex with my friends, I'm regularly the lookout and scout, so that play style translated well to mobile.)

Apex Legends Mobile is not a one-to-one port. Most of the legends from the regular game aren't here. I'm a Fuse main because who doesn't like to chuck grenades as far as possible, but I made do with Wraith, my backup legend. You start off with Bloodhound, but you can unlock Octane, Wraith, Lifeline, Gibraltar, Pathfinder, Bangalore, Caustic, Mirage, and Fade. I imagine more will get added later.

I should also note that your purchases/unlocks on regular Apex don't translate over to the mobile version. That means you'll need to unlock all of the skins and such again. The battle pass is also a separate purchase. I can't say I'm a fan of this, but I also don't see how EA and Respawn could have pulled this off (since cross-play is off the table).

Give Apex Legends Mobile a try

apex legends mobile

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The controls are a bit awkward, but Apex Legends has a lot of complexity going on. I don't know how the developers could make the mobile HUD less crowded or prone to accidental touches — I hit hip fire a lot when I meant for ADS fire. There is an element of "git gud" to this game, just like the console/PC version.

However, after a few hours and several matches, I can safely say that Apex Legends Mobile has earned a permanent spot on my phone. It might even unseat Call of Duty Mobile for me, but that might depend on my mood. Sometimes, I don't want to deal with the stress of a battle royale.

Apex Legends Mobile is free-to-play, but just watch out for microtransactions. This can sting if you've already dumped a lot into the regular game over the years. But everything said, this mobile port is worth picking up.

Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over five years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.