Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), famously pronounced as pub-gee, was first launched for the PC, iOS, and Xbox version and then, later on, was moved to the much-underpowered platform of the phone. And, to say the least, it is far from disappointing, unlike other games which stutter on the touchscreen display. Since it’s hit the market, it’s been on fire. There have been other games, too, which came, went viral, ran their course and then eventually fizzled out. But not with this juggernaut of a mobile game, which has sold millions of copies so soon. So, what’s the deal with this one which keeps the players glued to their phone screens for hours? Is it the cool graphics, smooth controls, the thrill of shooting down the other players, the bloodwork, or something else? Let’s see…
The game begins with parachuting down from a plane to an island with other 99 players. In the post-apocalyptic scene, players race against each other to stay in the ever-closing circle while looting buildings, resources, ammo, weapons and shooting down others, until there’s only one man standing.
The game is not the first one to use the formula of ‘the last survivor wins’. Its success in being the most popular game can largely be attributed to the methodical way of playing it requires. It’s more than just picking up a gun and kill a handful to get your way. It’s the wit you’ll be needing if you want to reach the chicken dinner victory, the fancy name given to the reward for the winner. Every move you make weighs heavily on how it would turn out.
For starters, when you decide to land from the plane alone changes the fate of your game. If you jump too early, you’ll have the edge as you would hit the ground earlier than the others but that might put you in place farther away from where the actual battle would take place as the circle contracts. And, if you jump late, it’ll distance you from your opponents but give you enough time to scavenge in peace before hitting the fray.
PUBG has a very realistic approach. You would slowly find the game has an underlying strategy, as it expects you to have one as well. For instance, you’ll find the gears in the buildings are placed semi-logically. There is no puzzle as a whole but jigsaw pieces are there.
Talking about the UI and the special effects, they are simply surrealistic. Not every game keeps you on your toes for hours and has you hidden in an attic just to hear a creak to get a heads up on somebody nearby with a gun. Plus, the sound really builds up the tension, especially, when only the last few 10-15 people are left. Even watching that as a non-participant, the experience is palpable.
Plus, the controls are fluid after playing for a while. There is a separate floating button for firing, which cuts the hassle of reorienting your hand every time to move to the spot of the shooting button. It gets placed on the point where your thumb has last touched the screen. All you have to do is tap, and it’s a cakewalk – making shooting actually fun! Additionally, the refined interface of the games allows easier swapping of items with the teammates and quick looting of the bodies. Just a quick click and drag and your ammo and health bars suddenly start looking better! In the game, the loot is also made deliberately easy. You’ll never find yourself frustrated for filling up on those health bars as there’s gear and more even in the smallest of the buildings.
However, PUBG is not the kind of game which you’ll master or even understand in the first go. It has a number of layers which you figure out only after playing for a while. There are subtleties and tip-offs like which indicate if some another player has been there before, or should you watch out if there is an unusual parse or dense loot etc. Given enough time, this will all go into creating a clever and cautious survival who knows how small things can turn out into big adventures.
The slow-paced combats and realistic shooting keeps you coming back even after hundreds of matches. Anytime and anywhere, you can get involved in a tense battle just by logging into this game – and this is the genius they’ve created! And, they ask why it is so addictive! Duh.