PUBG Mobile Review Roundup: It's (Almost) Perfect

Staff Writer
Updated

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) is out on iOS and Android, and the first reviews look like publisher Tencent's won itself a chicken dinner (that's a good thing if you're new).

Across the board, critics note how impressively this port captures the spirit of the original battle royal game. Their one issue, though, is that the controls can be difficult on a smartphone's touch screen.

Here's what the critics are saying about PUBG Mobile:

Polygon

Polygon's Charlie Hall is enjoying PUBG Mobile, and he's surprised by how well it runs on his older phone.

"Overall, everything is in its place. It’s quite a feat, considering how small the real-estate is on an iPhone and leaps and bounds better than the bizarre acommodations needed to play with an Xbox controller." — Charlie Hall, Polygon

The Good

"I’m here to tell you that this version of the game is surprisingly good. It’s a full-featured port with a clever user interface, and it runs astonishingly well even on my older iPhone."

"Overall, everything is in its place. It’s quite a feat, considering how small the real-estate is on an iPhone and leaps and bounds better than the bizarre acommodations needed to play with an Xbox controller."

The Bad

"If I have one complaint it’s that running in one direction and looking in the other is a bit fiddly right now and takes some getting used to."

"Attachments and other items on the ground flash up on the screen in a grid and you have to pick the ones you want individually, which can be tedious with a smaller touch screen and a long list of items to choose from. I definitely recommend an iPad or Android tablet if you want to spend time fine tuning your loadout."

MORE: How to Get PUBG on iOS and Android

Android Police

Over at Android Police, Matthew Sholtz side-loaded PUBG Mobile onto his device, and discovered that external gamepad support isn't quite there yet.

"The first thing I did was connect my Logitech F310 over USB to my Galaxy S8+, and sadly the gamepad only works halfway." — Matthew Sholtz, Android Police

The Good

"The graphics are actually pretty good, especially when playing on the highest settings. I have noticed very few frame drops, though the textures and map detail are less than the PC or console releases, but that is to be expected."

"The gameplay isn't that much different from the PC and console releases. … You still play with 100 players that are dropped on an enormous 8x8 km battlefield"

The Bad

"The first thing I did was connect my Logitech F310 over USB OTG to my Galaxy S8+, and sadly the gamepad only works halfway. I can move my player perfectly fine with the analog sticks, but the rest of the buttons on the controller do absolutely nothing. Maybe this means the controller support just needs more work, though it isn't unheard of to see popular ports landing on the Play Store without an option for physical gamepads."

"The next issue with the controls has to do with the touchscreen. As we all know, shooters played on a mobile device can be terribly challenging, and PUBG Mobile is no different in this regard. The on-screen buttons are responsive enough, but the problem is that there are too many of them, and you will have to use each one if you plan on succeeding."

The Verge

Even though The Verge's Sam Byford admits he's "still bad at" PUBG after playing for nearly a year, he's loving the mobile port.

"It’s just really cool to see that a groundbreaking gaming concept that brought monster PCs to their knees a year ago can already run on phones." — Sam Byford, The Verge

The Good

"Performance is solid on the pre-production LG V30S I’ve been testing, with a smoother framerate and higher resolution than on my Xbox One S."

"It’s just really cool to see that a groundbreaking gaming concept that brought monster PCs to their knees a year ago can already run on phones."

"The touchscreen controls are also smart, if not wholly original, taking ideas in turn from mobile PUBG knockoffs like NetEase’s Knives Out. There are lots of thoughtful additions, like the ability to “lock” your run in a certain direction, and the way there are fire buttons on each side of the screen so you can shoot while strafing or aiming. Some crucial actions, like looting and closing doors behind you, are frankly easier to do on the mobile version than the PC or Xbox."

The Bad

"Graphics have been downgraded significantly, with emptier buildings, lower level geometry, and blurrier textures during the initial parachute jump"

PC Gamer

PC Gamer's Steven Messner is impressed by the mobile port, but he isn't leaving his PC version behind.

"When it comes to capturing the spirit and thrill of the battle royale genre, PUBG Mobile is surprisingly adept." — Steven Messner, PC Gamer

The Good

"PUBG Mobile is about as good a port as anyone could hope for. While the resolution is noticeably downsized, the basic design of the 100-player free-for-all isn't."

"Moments before my opponent rounded a crest and lit me up (I only had an SK12 and was immediately doomed), my heart was pounding with that same nauseating exhilaration from reaching the top ten on the PC version. When it comes to capturing the spirit and thrill of the battle royale genre, PUBG Mobile is surprisingly adept."

The Bad

"I couldn't get the game running when not on wifi, but I'm hoping that doesn't indicate that PUBG mobile is wifi only."

"The cumbersome controls make aiming precisely impossible, and more often than not I found it easier to simply strafe the reticle over my opponent rather than actually trying to aim at them. And god help you if someone comes up from behind because turning around quickly is impossible."

Kotaku

Kotaku's Laura Kate Dale says the mobile port is "pretty decent" but agrees with others that the port's controls are no good.

"Touch controls simply have a hard time with precise twitch shooting, and aiming accurately in the heat of the moment is often a crapshoot." — Laura Kate Dale, Kotaku

The Good

"There are some nice changes that suit the mobile format, such as your avatar automatically picking up ammo for equipped weapons, which makes it easier to keep moving at a decent pace."

"Despite this port missing many newer features like vaulting, I have to say that playing PUBG Mobile was a lot of fun. I’m not a particularly adept PUBG player on console anyway, so being on an even playing field where nobody was able to pull off high-level techniques actually had upsides. I found myself enjoying running around folks blasting away, with maybe one in four of our shots landing. I even got a chicken dinner!

The Bad

"The major issue here will be no surprise. PUBG Mobile runs well and is functionally identical to the main game, but the area where it struggles is controls. I mean, it’s a shooter on a phone. You’ve got two virtual joysticks on-screen for movement and aiming, with the movement stick in a fixed position rather than adapting to finger positioning—meaning if you ‘miss’ with your thumb you’re out of luck."

"Touch controls simply have a hard time with precise twitch shooting, and aiming accurately in the heat of the moment is often a crapshoot. .... It’s messy, it’s imprecise, and if you take it too seriously it’ll quickly become a source of frustration."

Credit: PUBG Corp