The 9 Best Battle Royale Games of 2019

See which titles made the cut

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: Fortnite

Fortnite

 Warner Bros

Fortnite is the undisputed king of the battle royale genre. What started as a zombie-based tower defense game skyrocketed in popularity after the introduction of the free-to-play battle royale mode. With its bright, colorful environments, goofy costumes and famous dance emotes, Fortnite’s wide appeal is evident. In Battle Royale Mode, 100 players face off in a huge environment, scavenging weapons and items in a race to be the last one standing. 

In addition to conventional weapons and some wacky items, you also have the ability to build wooden, stone, and metal structures to protect yourself from enemy fire and traverse difficult terrain. Fortnite has solo, duo, and squad modes so players can meet up with friends in matches to work together and dominate or have a fun-filled, friendly competition to see who’s the best. Developer Epic Games is constantly adding new items, weapons, and vehicles as well as environmental changes to keep Fortnite perpetually fresh and exciting.

Runner-up Most Popular: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

A close contender for Fortnite’s throne is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). While it wasn’t the first battle royale style game, it did help popularize the genre and laid the foundation for Fortnite’s success. Originally a mod for Arma 2, PUBG forgoes bright and colorful environments in favor of a more realistic environment with weapons and items similar to games like Call of Duty. 

Much like Fortnite, PUBG pits 100 players against each other in a match to see who can be the last one standing. PUBG features three different map sizes (8, 6, and 4 square meters, respectively) and four different environments to provide a wide variety of play experiences. 

PUBG also utilizes random map hazards like carpet bombing and player-triggered loot drops to keep players on their toes and make matches exciting.

Best Free-to-Play: Realm Royale

Realm Royale

Hi-Rez Studios

Realm Royale is a 100-player battle royale game that has taken a page from Fortnite but has also put its own spin on the genre. Realm Royale has colorful, cartoonish characters and environments players have come to love and introduces character classes, magic, and crafting.

You can choose from one of five classes — Warrior, Engineer, Hunter, Assassin, and Mage — each with its own items, special moves, and strengths. Furthermore, weapons and items can be broken down into basic components to enhance other items at Forges. Crafting and weapon enhancing takes time though, leaving your character vulnerable. Ultimately, to succeed, you have to strike a healthy balance of taking out enemies and leveling up your gear.

Perhaps the most head-scratching, yet enjoyable part of Realm Royale is when you die because your character transforms into a small, adorable chicken. As a chicken, you can still deal damage and evade enemies, but after 20 seconds, you're revived as a human again. This mechanic not only keeps players engaged longer, but it adds a bit of silliness as well.

Best Squad-Based: Apex Legends

Apex Legends was announced and released on the same day in February 2019, and despite not having the benefit of prior marketing, it quickly became another popular battle royale game. Apex was developed by Respawn and merges elements from the studio’s own Titanfall series, class-based shooters, and other battle royale games. In Apex, 60 players group up in squads of three, working together to choose landing areas, discover high-density loot areas, and take out rival teams. 

Apex Legends lets you choose between offensive, defensive, support, and reconnaissance classes. Each class and hero has its own special moves and abilities. If an individual is downed during a match, they can be revived by squadmates. If a player is eliminated, squadmates can recover their "player banner" to revive at specially marked areas of the map.

Apex has been praised for its accessibility options for deaf and hard of hearing players as it offers both speech-to-text and text-to-speech options to help players communicate.

Best Survival: Ring of Elysium

Ring of Elysium

Aurora Studio 

Ring of Elysium has taken a much different approach to the battle royale genre than its peers. Instead of focusing on player combat, Ring of Elysium pits players against a hostile environment in search of a rescue plane. However, the plane has only four seats, thus you're left with no option but to take part in a dangerous race across hazardous terrain with only a few items to stay alive. You will still encounter rivals whom you can take down with scavenged weapons, but your primary objective is to be the first of four players to reach the rescue plane. 

Impending natural disasters are the driving force behind Ring of Elysium’s gameplay. Whether it’s a deadly snowstorm, volcanic eruption, or hurricane, players not only have to race each other but time and the elements, as well, in order to survive. A number of items can help you make your way across the map; including gliders, snowboards, BMX bikes, and grappling hooks, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Runner-up Best Survival: Fear the Wolves

Fear the Wolves

Vostok Games

Fear the Wolves is another game that is trying to put a radically different spin on the battle royale genre. Like Ring of Elysium, players not only have to battle one another, but they also must survive treacherous terrain and deadly weather. Fear the Wolves turns eliminated players into spectators, voting on environmental hazards such as storms and rabid animals. This tactic, along with the 25 square kilometer map and day/night cycle, makes every match unique and unpredictable. 

The game takes place in a fictionalized version of Chernobyl. Radioactive landscapes and abandoned buildings give players plenty of places to ambush one another and scavenge for gear. A wall of radiation forces players closer together and restricts access to gear as matches progress. Should you find a gas mask, however, you can protect yourself for a short while before looting an area.

Underequipped players caught in these irradiated areas may become infected with deadly radiation poisoning. You'll have to race against the clock finding antidotes and medicines to survive.

Best Spectator Mode: The Darwin Project

Darwin Project

Darwin Project 

The Darwin Project is a free-to-play PC- and Xbox One-exclusive battle royale game. Much like Ring of Elysium and Fear the Wolves, it centers heavily on environmental perils as well as player-versus-player gameplay. That said, what sets The Darwin Project apart from competing games in the genre is how it approaches spectatorship. As 10 players are dropped into the snowy map to battle it out for survival, an 11th player (known as The Show Director) is responsible for distributing powers and equipment. 

The Darwin Project has been heavily influenced by contemporary battle royale games, the Hunger Games novels, and the 1987 film Running Man. You assume the role of a prisoner gratuitously fighting as a twisted form of entertainment for The Show Director as well as a vast, unseen audience. Tracking is a core element of gameplay: You can pinpoint the locations of rivals by following snow tracks and investigating campsites. Bear traps, cloaking shields, and improvised weapons aid you in your effort to be the last person standing.

Best Just For Fun: Totally Accurate Battlegrounds

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds

 Totally Accurate Battlegrounds

What started as an April Fools' joke has quickly become a quirky and fun take on the battle royale genre. Totally Accurate Battlegrounds (TABG), a spin-off of Swedish studio Landfall’s Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, features physics-based mechanics in addition to core battle royale staples. As a result, it leaves plenty of room for silliness and chaos as players ragdoll, stretch, and downright slap each other in their battle to be the last one standing. 

TABG has been praised for giving players the ability to dual-wield weapons like pistols and SMGs. Unlike other games in the genre, including a few on this list, you don't have to spend real money on cosmetic items such as player and weapon skins. It has also been applauded for its small but refreshing changes to the core elements of battle royale play. In lieu of encroaching storm forcing players into an ever-shrinking area of the map, a physical wall rapidly constructs itself to hem in players.

If you’re looking for a game that lets you have a fun time with friends without the pressure of fierce competition, Totally Accurate Battlegrounds is the perfect choice. 

Most Adorable: Super Animal Royale

Super Animal Royale

Super Animal Royale

As showcased in both Fortnite and Realm Royale, colorful and cartoonish aesthetics have gained a foothold in modern gaming and the battle royale genre. By that token, Super Animal Royale pits 64 players against one another in a top-down arena to duke it out. After choosing between a wide range of animal breeds, you can customize your character with different outfits and fur colors. Over 100 cosmetic items and 50 animal breeds (everything from foxes and songbirds to capybaras and hyenas) can be unlocked by spending experience points that are earned rather than bought.

SAR features what it calls a "fog of war," which limits player visibility and allows for stealth and strategy when looting or looking to avoid a firefight. At the time of writing, Super Animal Royale comes in two different flavors: the base game, which includes cosmetic items and unlockable animal breeds, and the Founders Edition, which has exclusive skins, special username colors, and also includes the game’s soundtrack. 

Interested in discovering more games to play? Check out our roundup of the best Nintendo Switch games.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 15 hours researching the most popular battle royale games on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different games overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 5 of the battle royale games themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.