Respawn

The 9 best battle royale games that aren't 'Fortnite' that you can download and play right now

When it comes to the most popular genre of video games right now, it's no secret that battle royale titles are sweeping the nation. Fortnite is a household name, and the inaugural Fortnite World Cup tournament proved that fans were just as in love with the colorful, wacky shooter as they've ever been. With new battle royale titles springing up left and right in the gaming space, most of them are simply trying to capitalize on the success Fortnite has found, and for good reason — the best battle royale games aren't only money-makers, but they're tons of fun.

The appeal is obvious. You're dropped into a large playing field with numerous other players, each with one clear goal: to be the last one standing. It's a knock-down, drag-out battle for supremacy that's a blast to play through, whether you're a novice or hardcore gamer. To that end, even moving past Fortnite there are several battle royale games out in the wild that are worth your time. Whether you're an old pro looking for a new title or just getting into the genre and looking for a place to start, these battle royale games are a great place to "drop in," so to speak.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends on YouTube

Apex Legends is Respawn Entertainment's answer to Fortnite and the battle royale genre as a whole. It's not only free to play, but also extremely visceral and fun. The runaway hit has given Fortnite a run for its money ever since it was announced and released on the same day, and it's still going strong. Even if the genre never really appealed to you, Apex Legends will likely be the one game to change your mind, especially if you’re more into meaty, action-packed shooters than cartoony fun or silliness like Fortnite offers.

On a scale where similar battle royale darling PUBG (see below) represents realism and Fortnite is a cartoon wonderland, Apex is a comfortable blend of both that sits right in the middle, with one foot mired in its arcade-like shooter past and the other stepping forward into the benefits of smart team combat. It's a different take on the genre, but it's still extremely fun, and you'll love getting to know the various heroes.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS on YouTube

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG as it's lovingly referred to now, began as a mod for the game ARMA, and since spiraled into a cultural phenomenon that was nearly as big as Fortnite before Epic Games' effort eclipsed it. That doesn't make it any less of a spectacle, though, and it's still every bit as worth your time as the other games on this list. While Fortnite exploded in popularity following PUBG's massive first push, PUBG is the game that arguably started the entire craze.

With a brilliant mixture of strategy and action, more realistic graphics than its compatriots, and suspenseful, tense battles, it continually produces exciting matches. There's a steeper learning curve than what its progenitors have adopted, especially since it's a lot simpler to be picked off as soon as you drop onto the map, and even slight elements of horror as you journey through the somewhat sparse map, creeping around and waiting to throw open the door to a shack and completely waste someone with a frying pan. Out of the frying pan and into the fire? More like out of the open field and straight into a frying pan.

Ring of Elysium

Ring of Elysium on YouTube

Ring of Elysium is a unique battle royale that, while developed and published by Tencent, the company behind PUBG, is dissimilar in several different ways. It's content to changes things up in ways you might not expect, opting for turning areas of the map to ash rather than forcing players together in close quarters with a “storm,” and swapping the “last person standing” rule for jetting to a helicopter and escaping. Up to 60 players are dropped into different areas of their choosing at the beginning of each match with a goal of reaching the helicopter as quickly as they can.

Given that the helicopter only has four seats, players must work to eliminate each other to secure a seat on the craft. There are several obstacles in Ring of Elysium that work to ensure you’re not getting out alive. From a dynamic weather system to incredibly crafty players, danger lurks around every corner, but you can always continue improving your game. Eventually you’ll definitely make your daring escape, but it may take a bit of doing to get to that level. Don’t expect that you’re going to simply get out of there alive and in one piece after your first game.

Fallout 76 Nuclear Winter

PlayStation on YouTube

The online RPG Fallout 76 added its own version of a battle royale mode in the form of Nuclear Winter, which also adds a new storyline that finds players looking to take over the title of overseer (leader) of nuclear fallout shelter Vault 51. Players will contest each other while duking it out, all the while the "Nuclear Storm" (a literal ring of fire) closes in on them. It's essentially Fallout 76, but with added challenging elements that make it an exceptional add-on worthy of being added to the list. While it doesn't have any standout elements that make it unique in terms of the genre, it's a fantastic addition to Bethesda's online version of the classic post-apocalyptic series that livens it up for players who have seen much of what the game has to offer already.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout

Call of Duty on YouTube

Call of Duty is already the premier name in shooters, so it went the extra mile to keep current with the times and added a battle royale mode to its latest iteration, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Blackout is the game's analogue to titles like Fortnite and PUBG, which takes familiar characters, weapons, and locations from throughout the Call of Duty playbook and sprinkles them into a wide arena for players to duke it out in.

Yes, there's a shrinking play area, and yes, the goal is to be the last player standing. It's all fairly standard stuff, but it's created in the actual Black Ops game, so you've got the quality shootouts, graphics, weapons, and mechanics to fall back on so you know you're playing within an awesome environment. It's constantly being updated as well, and given that it's Call of Duty, everyone's playing it so you don't run out of opponents.

Battlefield 5 Firestorm

NVIDIA GeForce on YouTube

Like Fallout 76 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Battlefield 5 added its own unique battle royale mode as well in the form of Firestorm, where you're tasked with becoming the "last squad standing." As a ring of fire encloses what the team has called the "largest Battlefield map ever," you'll take on a wide variety of powerful weapons, mount vehicles, and fight off other players in massive 64-player matches that let you team up or fly solo. One you're eliminated, that's it — so you'd better hope your teammates have your back if you want to stay alive. Taking the already expansive maps of Battlefield 5 and sprinkling in excellent battle royale mechanics was a fantastic idea for a quality shooter as-is, and best of all, you don't have to buy or download an additional game to participate or earn experience for your main profile.

Realm Royale

PlayStation on YouTube

Hi-Rez Studios took its hero-based shooter Paladins and flipped it on its head into something weird and wonderful with Realm Royale, the battle royale version of the game. After making the change, the studio saw more engagement and additional players getting in line to experience what it had to offer in its Western fantasy-laden vision of the genre. You can ride a horse across the map, you transform into a chicken when you're eliminated, and you can even use magic. It's like your favorite MMORPG was sized down and turned into a totally different game, and the best part? It's got some of the most unique assets and environments out of every single one of the other titles on this list. Give it a try and you won't be disappointed.

Rules of Survival

Tap Games on YouTube

Rules of Survival is a battle royale that's mainly played on mobile devices, though there's a PC version as well. As such, it's perfect for on-the-go play, so if you'd rather not chance your Fortnite or PUBG standings on your phone, jump into this expansive and densely-populated shooter. It's been downloaded by over 200 million players since its debut, and it packs a whopping 120 players into each game, which is a higher limit than any other battle royale. It's massively popular in Asia and has even become an esport contender all its own overseas. It's only a matter of time before it sweeps the nation just like Fortnite did, especially since it's such a convenient game to play on the go or right before bed.

Tetris 99

Nintendo UK on YouTube

Tetris as a battle royale? What madness is this? No madness here – just genius, in every shape of the word. The Switch-exclusive Tetris 99 pits you against 99 other players who are all trying to sabotage each other. This makes the relatively relaxing game of Tetris as frantic as a round of PUBG as 100 players vie to fill each other's boards with garbage pieces. Tetris 99 puts a new spin on a game that has been done pretty much every way possible over the years, and while the best and most aesthetically pleasing version is still the PlayStation 4 and PC's Tetris Effect, Tetris 99 is one of the best games of 2019 by virtue of providing a unique experience from a series that everyone thought they'd seen it all from.

While there are several other options out in the gaming world suitable for battle royale gaming, these are by far the most polished titles worth your time. There are so many copycat iterations of the popular games that it'll make your head spin. Developers pop up practically overnight with games that appear to mimic the more popular ones, only with shoddy mechanics and similar names to capitalize on larger crowds. Because why innovate when you can just make some easy money?

But when you get right down to it, these are really the only ones worth diving into and investing any stretch of serious time. They're also the most current titles being continuously updated and keeping their player counts afloat. Of course, this may change over time as games' popularity ebb and flow, but for right now, consider adding these new riffs on the genre to your to-play list if you aren't buried in them already.