Even unfinished, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been raking in gaming awards (most recently Best Multiplayer Game and PC Game of the Year at the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards) and Guinness World Records… so it seems self-evident that PUBG clones are bound to start popping out of the woodwork.
Enter Rules of Survival by NetEase Games – a shockingly polished mobile game available on Android and iOS that follows in PUBG‘s virtual footsteps almost to a T. What’s truly surprising is its meteoric rise to the top of the App Store charts – and all of it without any discernible affiliation with the makers of PUBG – and how the world (so far) seems to simply shrug and go along with it.
There are a few others that have garnered a fair following including Survivor Royale also by NetEase but with half the player count, and the more arcadey-looking Fortnite Battle Royale on Xbox. Many of the play tips that apply to Rules of Survival in this article and these tips for PUBG will also apply to the above games.
On playing mobile
This game is pretty cool for those players who are constantly on the go and can’t stay tethered to a PC or Xbox for long… although I would argue that if you’re in it for the win, you’re in it for the long haul, and no 15 minute morning commute is going to land you a winner, winner, chicken dinner.
(No, the game doesn’t actually go so far as to say that on the win screen, but they do inform you that you’re downright savage!)
- Keep a charger handy for this one if the games start to get long. Players should be aware that like many good-looking mobile games, Rules of Survival is going to eat into your battery life.
- Try to find somewhere you won’t be distracted. Not always possible, but a train full of jostling elbows is not going to help your aim, which is already going to be complicated by the fact that you’re using virtual controls, not a controller or mouse and keyboard.
- Take some time to play around with the control schemes. This game has put a ton of effort into customizing controls. Even if you like the default controls (and even I, as one of those oddball players that play on default on nearly every other game in existence, decidedly did not), you should at least check out the Advanced menu and turn on “double tap to turn around.”
- Learn the controls before you play for real. Hard as they tried to make this easy to play, virtual controls are not the same as physical – you are very much limited to confining almost all play to your thumbs, even more so than on controller. Aiming, moving, shooting, and trying to look around is clunky and difficult. (Tip: If you start off at a sprint for a few seconds, the game will lock it on, allowing you to switch over to other maneuvering/action buttons.)
Be careful about the terrain that you’re in… it goes without saying that the more open the area, the more vulnerable you are.
- When in tall grass, if you really want to move fast through it, at least keep yourself crouched as you run. You can also choose to go down on a belly crawl if you’re more concerned about not being seen at all.
- Use the terrain to your advantage. Hills, buildings, stick close to them to avoid being seen for as long as possible.
- It’s okay to stay hunkered down in a building for a little while while the initial murder spree is happening. Keep on your toes in case anyone else decides to enter your particular house, but it’s not a bad idea to wait it out a little while to scavenge and organize first.
- Watch the map. You’ll want to open this up from time to time (make sure you’re under cover when you do), because the safe zones will change and so will bombardment zones. The HUD will give you some indications, but don’t ever forget the big picture stuff when location is so important.
Pick your supplies
Don’t let the fact that you pop into the map bare-fisted and swinging worry you. There’s plenty lying around for you to pick up, so it’s okay to be a little discerning about what you do. As a pack rat and perpetual “but what if”-er myself, this was a particularly hard thing to learn.
- Choosing guns: Unless you’re firmly planted in a sniping spot with a rifle, spray and pray is largely how you’re going to get to the top of the scoreboards in this game. Handguns are nice to have, but you’re likely going to want a little more punch and a bigger clip and precision shooting is hard on mobile when you’ve got to keep moving while you’re shooting.
- Armor up! Anything that can take some of the hit for you is definitely worth having. Grab what you can.
- Don’t pick up what you don’t need. You’ve got limited capacity, don’t clog it up with ammo of the wrong type or too many bandages. Prioritize!
Shut the door behind you when you walk into a house and listen for sound cues of other people horning in on your territory.
Stick with your team
While gunning solo might be the most true-to-form Battle Royale style, the game offers the chance to play in duos and a team of four. If you choose these modes, stick to that strength! Having someone else to rely on vastly ups your odds.
Keep these things in mind when you’re considering running off:
- It’s possible to revive you if you get downed.
- It’s much, much easier to set up a camp spot when you’ve got extra scavenger hands and extra eyes at your back.
- If you’re going to range in a vehicle, you’re going to want someone around that can provide you adequate cover fire.
- It’s possible to play with friends! If you can coordinate, you have a huge advantage already over pretty much any and all other teams.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If all of you stay stuck to each other, you have a much higher chance of getting wiped out together too. Who knows who could sneak up on you with a grenade.
Stay close, but not on top of each other. Play it smart!
Other things to note
- Don’t hack: It should go without saying that this tactic is lame and a pathetic way to land on the scoreboard. There are a few hacks out there already; I’ve seen a few that will drop your recoil down to nothing, for example. But it requires .apk downloads, workarounds, and usually more access to fishy software than I’d want on my own personal phone. Really, let’s just not.
- Slow and steady: It’s an Aesop’s fable, but it’s also a truism of this game type. If you look like you’re going to lose a firefight, bug out. Live longer; someone else may come along to kill that guy for you. You can always heal up if you’re hurting, but not if you’re dead.
- Play the odds with loot drops. Occasionally loot crates will drop from the sky with supplies. When faced with these, lots of players get struck by loot fever and run for them – even if they’re way out in the open. If you’re looking to narrow the playing field, getting yourself situated and picking off these looters may get you some of your best kill streaks.