The 10 Best Battle Royale Games of 2020

Become the last person standing in these action-packed titles

By definition, the popular battle royale genre of video games involves a contest that involves numerous participants competing until one competitor is left standing as the victor.

Some popular battle royales meld "last person standing" trait with other genres like the platformer or a puzzle game, and others involve absolutely no gunplay.

Whatever the gameplay style may be, we've gathered the top battle royale games for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile.

01
of 10

Best Overall: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds press screenshot

 PUBG Corp.

What We Like
  • Revolutionary gameplay concepts.

  • Intricate and satisfying gunplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Various technical glitches.

Available for:

  • PC
  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Google Stadia
  • Mobile

Those interested in entering the genre may want to start with the progenitor of the battle royale craze. More commonly known as PUBG, this 100-player game started as a mod for other games such as ARMA 2 and DayZ by game developer Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene. Many of the concepts and gameplay elements that modern battle royale games utilize were first conceptualized in PUBG, from the shrinking circle, the importance of looting, and the options of solo, duos, or squad-based matchmaking. Beginning as an obscure early access release on Steam, public awareness of PUBG increased due to interest from streamers and other online influencers. The nuanced gunplay and the pure excitement of achieving victory helped PUBG, which was essentially an indie game, win a number of Game of the Year accolades from a variety of publications.

With the support of a larger development team and investments from Chinese company Tencent Games, PUBG has expanded from PC to other platforms; the game is also available to play on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Additionally, there is a separate Android and iOS version of PUBG, appropriately titled PUBG Mobile. PUBG has added a number of different maps to play on, along with an "event mode" that adds modifiers to the gameplay. Although revolutionary for its time, PUBG has paled in comparison from a technical standpoint, suffering from bugs and other performance issues. These problems are especially evident in the console versions of PUBG, which are not as optimized as the original PC version.

02
of 10

Best Social Platform: Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite Battle Royale press image

 Epic Games

What We Like
  • Intricate system for building systems.

  • Bright and family friendly graphics.

What We Don't Like
  • Standard and generic gunplay.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Mobile
  • Mac

The most popular battle royale title in the gaming community is also a bonafide hit that has reached the mainstream outside of video games. Fortnite began as a long-gestating project that involved four-player gunplay against a legion of zombies, all enhanced with resource gathering and fort-building. Upon a whim, developer Epic Games created a battle royale mode combining Fortnite gameplay with the rules of PUBG, quite simply titled Fortnite Battle Royale. The original version of Fortnite would be retroactively named Fortnite: Save the World, and the free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale took a life of its own.

Fortnite's cartoony art style has made the game a lot more accessible to younger audiences, despite all of the shooting and general violence. It's a bloodless affair, however, and children have more so been drawn to the fort-building, along with the emotes and dances that you can make your character do. Like PUBG, 100 players will drop on an island, picking up shield potions, guns, and other items to help them survive as the "storm" closes in. In the years since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale, the game has evolved into a social platform—live events are now held in Fortnite sessions, including movie screenings and live concerts from artists like Travis Scott. Fortnite's map constantly evolves, keeping the gameplay and exploration fresh, and high-profile crossovers with brands such as Marvel continue to attract young players.

03
of 10

Best Hero-Based Game: Apex Legends

Apex Legends press image

EA 

What We Like
  • Original and fun characters to choose from.

  • Fluid and momentum-based movement.

What We Don't Like
  • No permanent option for solo play.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch (2021)

Respawn Entertainment contains developers who were involved in creating the very first Call of Duty games, and with the company's new partnership with publisher EA, Respawn was able to create the critically acclaimed Titanfall series. The fictional world of Titanfall is based on sci-fi concepts, with characters with special powers and society being dominated by an armed corporate conflict. The free-to-play Apex Legends takes place in this fictional universe, but it takes on the battle royale with a unique approach to character design. The "Legends" of this game all have distinct personalities and powers, such as the healer Lifeline, the hologram-using Mirage, and the tracker known as Bloodhound.

While Apex Legends retains many of the same concepts as other battle royale games, such as dropping onto an island and looting for weapons, there are a number of gameplay quality-of-life features that revolutionized the genre. First and foremost, the ping system of Apex Legends was a game-changer, with players able to mark items, areas, and enemies for their teammates, and your character gives a voice line that adds context to what players ping. Apex Legends is also one of the first battle royale games to feature some sort of revival system to bring back fallen players. Like its competitors in the market, Apex Legends makes heavy use of cosmetics and character skins, although if players take an affinity to any of the characters in this game, they may feel more so inclined to spend money to make their favorite Legend look the best they could be.

04
of 10

Best Military Shooter: Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone press screenshot

 Activision

What We Like
  • Refined Call of Duty gunplay.

  • Wide open spaces and numerous options for traversal.

What We Don't Like
  • Lengthy match time.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One

The Call of Duty series had already tried to enter the battle royale ring, with Treyarch's 2018 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 containing a battle royale mode called Blackout. The subsequent game in the series, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare from original franchise developer Infinity Ward, had a different and much more successful approach to the battle royale. Titled Warzone, Infinity Ward's take on the genre was not only included in Modern Warfare but also as a separate free-to-play download. The player count is higher than that of other battle royales, containing up to 150 players on the map at once. Upon getting killed in-game, players actually have a chance to come back to the match by fighting in one-on-one matches in the "Gulag." There is a comprehensive currency system that allows players to purchase upgrades, air support, and the ability to bring back teammates.

Combat encounters in Call of Duty: Warzone are exhilarating, even though the standard match length maintains a totally different pace from that of traditional Call of Duty multiplayer. Standoffs are tense, and the role of vehicles such as trucks, ATVs, and especially helicopters can shake up the dynamic. Infinity Ward's title was also the first Call of Duty to support cross-platform play and progression, so players can use their same account and loadouts between PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. Warzone is an evolving platform that publisher Activision wants to support across different Call of Duty games; for instance, Treyarch's 2020 title Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will integrate Warzone, with the battle royale using weapons and other elements from the 1980s-set shooter.

05
of 10

Best Puzzle Game: Tetris 99

Tetris 99 press image

 Nintendo

What We Like
  • Engaging classic Tetris gameplay.

  • Quick and addictive rounds.

What We Don't Like
  • No options to group up with friends.

Available for:

  • Nintendo Switch

Once it was clear that the battle royale genre was rapidly rising in popularity, many observers made off-hand jokes that games like Tetris should have battle royale variants. Apparently, Nintendo took some jokes too seriously, and the company ended up building a formidable battle royale exclusively for Nintendo Switch players. Tetris 99 has 99 people simultaneously playing Tetris, although in a rather cutthroat manner. Using the analog sticks, you can target competing players; if you make lines and rack up combos, you will send garbage Tetris blocks to the players you are targeting, giving them less room to play with and making them more susceptible to getting knocked out. As fewer players remain, the pace of the game speeds up at an alarming rate.

For those looking for an even harder challenge, the Tetris 99 Invictus game mode is exclusive to any players who have won a standard game of Tetris 99, so players know that they'll be competing against the best of the best. Tetris 99 is free with a subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service, but additional paid downloadable content allows for Tetris matches against computer-controlled players or with another human player locally. Themed tournaments come and go for Tetris 99, usually themed around other recently-released Nintendo games, giving the board a unique aesthetic and background music. Additionally, there is a Team Battle mode that pits four teams of 25 players each against each other.

06
of 10

Best Obstacle Course: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout press screenshot

 Mediatonic/Devolver Digital

What We Like
  • Quirky and unpredictable scenarios.

  • Fun options for customization.

What We Don't Like
  • Constant stream of cheaters.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4

Probably the quirkiest battle royale game around there is Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout from developer Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital. Fall Guys is more like competition television shows Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior instead of being a traditional shooter—each player will control a customizable bean-like character, racing to the end of an obstacle course. Each match, or a "show," will consist of different rounds, with a random selection of oddball games to play. With exaggerated ragdoll physics, watching these little bean friends crowd together and fall over is a hilarious sight, especially as they try to overcome obstacles such as swinging hammers, flying giant fruit, and spinning platforms. Each round is meant to further whittle down the player count, which has a maximum of 60 participants.

Some of these round games have very different formats—besides the racing games, a number of the middle games involve an element of teamwork. For example, one game pits three teams against each other, each trying to push their own giant ball all the way to the end of a goal. Midway through the round, players can interfere with and hamper the progress of the other players. It is pure chaos, and much of the gameplay requires trust in your teammates and silent communication. Unfortunately, you'll have to turn against everyone in the final round, as only one player can take the Crown. And be sure to save those Crowns, because they form as the currency for buying cosmetics and costumes for your round little Fall Guy.

07
of 10

Best Art Style: Spellbreak

Spellbreak press image

Proletariat, Inc.

What We Like
  • Original magic-based combat.

  • Inspired and appealing art direction.

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of new and evolving content.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch

As fun as battle royale games might be, some players may tire of the constant gunplay and violence that comes with the genre. While Spellbreak from developer Proletariat may have some of the main elements of battle royales, including the map, looting, and squad-based battles, this fantasy-based game has characters utilize magic instead of bullets. Before entering a battle, players will choose one of several elemental gauntlets to equip—fire, ice, wind, poison, stone, and lightning are the options. On the map, players can pick up a secondary gauntlet; the fun gimmick here is that these elements can interact with each other to enhance attacks. Send a wave of toxic gas towards enemies, and then ignite it with a fire blast, for example.

Additionally, runes give players special abilities, such as teleportation and flying. Scrolls around the map will upgrade players' base statistics. With no ammunition to worry about, attacks and abilities only depend on a cooldown. But the fantasy theme doesn't just apply to the gameplay, but also to the visuals. Unlike the more realistic battle royale games, Spellbreak has a more colorful and fantastical art style. Rather than taking its inspiration from PUBG, Spellbreak found its inspirations from arcade-like titles like Unreal Tournament and Quake, and the bold art style takes notes from anime, the works of Hayao Miyazaki, shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

08
of 10

Best Twitch Integration: Hyper Scape

Hyper Scape press screenshot

 Ubisoft

What We Like
  • Original sci-fi visuals and concept.

  • Map allows for plenty of verticality.

What We Don't Like
  • Shrinking player count.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One

Ubisoft made its first foray into the battle royale genre with Hyper Scape, a first-person shooter battle royale that depicts a shared virtual world built by a corporation. This game takes place in a futuristic dystopian nightmare, and Hyper Scape is the game within a game that people use to "escape reality." Within the fiction, this game is surrounded with suspicion, as players are disappearing in the "real world." Within the game itself, gameplay has a similar structure to that of other battle royale games. 100 players are on the map, but instead of using a shrinking circle to force players in the same space, random sections of the map disappear.

While other battle royales have maps with wide-open spaces, Hyper Scape instead depends on verticality, with the tall landmarks and imposing skyscrapers of Neo Arcadia. An 'AI host' adds modifications to the gameplay, like changing gravity levels and giving players infinite ammo. What sets Hyper Scape apart even more is how the game integrates Twitch—viewers who are watching Hyper Scape streams of Twitch can vote in real-time and influence which modifications the AI imposes on the game. By adding an element of viewer interaction and interconnectivity, Hyper Scape is in a way, bringing the gaming community closer to the technological future that the game itself is imagining.

09
of 10

Best Platformer: Super Mario Bros. 35

Super Mario Bros. 35 press screenshot

 Nintendo

What We Like
  • Provides new perspective of a classic game.

  • Repetition allows players to gradually improve.

What We Don't Like
  • Only playable for a limited amount of time.

Available for:

  • Nintendo Switch

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario series, Nintendo put out an unusual and special battle royale based on the very first Super Mario Bros. platformer game. The set-up and battle system are very similar to that of Nintendo's own Tetris 99—this Mario battle royale has a total of 35 players, all simultaneously playing a game of Super Mario Bros. There is a rather short time limit, and players will have to defeat enemies and gain power-ups to increase their timer. As players succeed in progressing through levels, they'll send enemies such as Goombas, Koopas, and even the occasional Bowser to targeted players. Meanwhile, players will have to contend with the enemies that other players send them—these once-familiar Super Mario Bros. levels become a lot more crowded and significantly less manageable.

But in that sense, Super Mario Bros. 35 plays with players' perceptions of the original game, allowing them to view these iconic levels from a new perspective. Also adding to the formula of traditional Mario gameplay is an Item Roulette system; upon collecting 20 coins, players can unlock Mario power-ups like stars, mushrooms, and POW blocks to help them plow through levels. Unusually, however, Super Mario Bros. 35 will be unplayable by March 31, 2021, with Nintendo taking servers offline and removing the game from the Nintendo eShop once the 35th anniversary event is deemed over.

10
of 10

Best Crafting System: Realm Royale

Realm Royale press screenshot

 Hi Rez Studios

What We Like
  • Quirky and humorous gameplay concepts.

  • Crafting and Forges add a new element to gameplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Consistently low player count.

Available for:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Mac

Hi-Rez Studios, the publisher of hero-based shooter Paladins, pivoted to another genre with Realm Royale. This fantasy shooter initially began as a spin-off to Paladins, titled Paladins: Battlegrounds. Eventually, the game built its own identity, becoming a class-based battle royale. About 100 players drop from an airship and loot an island for weapons and items as one would do in any battle royale game. However, what differentiates Realm Royale is its crafting system. The map has a number of Forges on fixed places in the environment—players can go to these Forges and craft their own weapons, ammo, and other items. By breaking down unneeded items, players can gather materials for crafting. Naturally, these Forges are hotly contested battle areas.

Traditionally, when players lose all of their health in a battle royale game, they will become incapacitated for their teammates to pick up. In Realm Royale, downed players will instead turn into chickens. This gives downed players a chance to avoid enemies who may want to finish them off, and if they survive for long enough, they will be revived back to a regular character. Along with the usual firearms that a battle royale would contain, Realm Royale also lets players find abilities, from offensive abilities like a concussion grenade, defensive abilities like a barricade, and support abilities like improved jumping.