The popularity of this sandbox shooter’s multiplayer mode eclipsed the strategy-focused story, but no matter which you play, it’s fast-paced and will keep you coming back for more. Fortnite: Battle Royale became perhaps the most popular game in the world by early 2018; its cartoonish take on last-player-standing gameplay struck a chord with both casual and hardcore players. The gameplay isn’t bloody or gory, but it demands that gamers be willing to go through many play sessions to improve their strategy and get better at surviving on the ever-shrinking battlefield. There are some moments when players will defeat others and celebrate their misfortune, but the overall tone of matches is typically light and friendly, which is one of the reasons people are so eager to play “just one more.” While there’s a heavy push to buy items and animations, they’re not necessary to enjoy the multiplayer experience. Battle Royale takes place in themed, weeks-long “seasons” that adds content like Halloween costumes or Christmas emotes, as well as fundamental changes to the overall experience. Just when you think the developers have tossed in everything they could, including the kitchen sink, a new season comes along and throws in a whole new kitchen. That makes Fortnite is a constantly growing and evolving experience, frequently with new areas to the game map, vehicles, and most recently, cannons. It’s also borrowed new features from competitors as well; Fortnite borrowed the “ping” system from Apex Legends to indicate things that squadmates would want to pay attention to, like building materials or ammunition. In late 2018, the game added yet another new mode: Fortnite Creative, an editor that gives players access to intuitive, easy-to-use in-game tools to create their own personalized adventures. Players can build to their heart’s content or collaborate with friends and let their collective imaginations run wild. Once their masterpiece is done, players can even share their works with the rest of the community in the game’s showcase area, dubbed “The Block.” Each season, The Block will shine the spotlight on select player-generated content, adding a constantly changing element to play while encouraging fans to create something new and exciting, strengthening the game’s sense of community and camaraderie in the process.
Fortnite‘s original Save the World mode is a deeper standalone option, with a heavy focus on teamwork instead of competition. Players take on the Swarm — the result of The Storm bringing the dead back to life — trying to save innocent survivors and collect resources to develop a headquarters that’s a safe haven. Save the World missions can be played solo or by joining forces with other players. While running around the map, collecting resources, building structures, and attacking groups of zombies sounds complicated, it actually feels like second nature. On top of that, Save the World‘s campaign story strikes a perfect balance of fun and creepy, with a lighthearted humor that’s as much fun to watch as it is to play. The main problem comes between the action, when you have to maintain your characters, inventory, and so on. It’s not intuitive, and it’s poorly explained. Eventually, you’ll fumble your way through the tactics here, but it’s still a frustrating headache. Fortunately, it’s a snag that doesn’t affect play much, and you’ll be back building, shooting, and saving the world with a smile.