As battle royale games continue to grow and attract droves of new players, we’re seeing a lot more game developers looking to enter the arena and offer their own take on the genre.
While free-to-play mainstays like Fortnite and Apex Legends stay at the front of the pack, new battle royales are always cropping up with the potential of being the next big hit and providing some healthy competition.
Here, we’ll be highlighting the best battle royale games and modes to play in 2021 across all major platforms.
While many of them require a competitive spirit, you’ll find a few have been designed with the casual player in mind.
Make sure to check back as we continue to update this list in the future with new games and while you’re here, consider reading through our other curated lists/guides:
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Call of Duty: Warzone
Developers: Infinity Ward, Raven Software
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Call of Duty: Warzone is the franchise’s second attempt at rallying behind the popularity of battle royales, with Black Ops 4: Blackout being the first. However, this time around, it’s a standalone game that’s free-to-play even if you don’t own a copy of Modern Warfare. Each match consists of up to 150 players spread out across a massive map split into five sectors.
Where Warzone differs from other battle royales is its addition of the Gulag, a prison where players spawn after they’ve been killed. Here, you can compete in 1-v-1 battles to the death, with the victor granted a chance to respawn and join their team. Combine this with the ability to bring back teammates by spending in-game cash at Buy Stations, and your squad’s chances of winning are significantly increased.
Developer: Epic Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Android, iOS
Fortnite has spent the last two years positioning itself as the essential battle royale game through constant updates, an ever-changing map, and numerous in-game crossover events with blockbuster movies. It also doesn’t hurt that Epic Games has stayed vigilant in adapting elements and mechanics from its rivals for the already popular game.
By now, you know the drill: up to 100 players are dropped onto a shrinking map where they’ll have to loot, shoot, and build their way to victory. Whether you enjoy completing Daily and Weekly Challenges for rewards, playing competitively, or just hanging out with friends, Fortnite has something different to offer to anyone who enjoys online shooters.
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Apex Legends continues to prove itself within the battle royale space, with many putting it up right beside or even above its two biggest competitors, Fortnite and PUBG. Of course, the game’s top-notch quality isn’t that surprising when you consider it was created by Respawn, who by now is a seasoned veteran in the shooter arena with two Titanfall games under their belt.
After dropping squads of three players onto a map, the game quickly becomes a mad dash to find the best weapon and gear you can as a circle around you closes. Additions like solo matchmaking, teammate respawning, and cinematic kill screens make every elimination feel just as enticing and valuable as your first kill. Respawn continues to support the game by adding new characters and maps from season to season.
Developer: PUBG Corp.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Android, iOS
Before Fortnite stole its shine, there was a decent stretch of time where PUBG dominated as the most popular battle royale game, resulting in its early adoption as an esport. And although console and PC lobbies remain populated to this day, the existence of a free-to-play mobile version of PUBG has been a strong factor in the game’s continued relevance.
That shouldn’t be considered a slight against PUBG, as it’s one of the few battle royales to use projectile ballistics in favor of hitscan, making it a much more demanding, skill-based shooter. It may still be a bit rough around the edges and have a clunky UI. However, if you’re a stickler for things like realistic bullet drop-off, it might be time to try and win yourself a chicken dinner.
Developer: Heroic Leap Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Realm Royale got its start as a separate game mode in the hero shooter Paladins under the name Paladins: Battlegrounds. It would later go on to receive a standalone release along with its new name, Realm Royale. Following the standard battle royale formula in which 100 players drop down on a shrinking battlefield, Realm Royal tacks on some exciting ideas to help it stand out.
For one, the game includes a crafting system that lets players break down any loot they find into raw materials at workbenches called Forges. They can then be used to upgrade gear, enhance your character’s abilities, and ultimately boost your chances of winning. Since Forges are placed in fixed locations, you can always count on players to flock to them, giving you an opportunity to rack up some easy kills. Realm Royale uses character classes, of which there are four, each with their own individual “talents” that can be unlocked by leveling up.
Mordhau is a PC fighting game that boasts a plethora of modes centered on whacking your enemies to death with a selection of medieval weaponry such as swords, axes, bows, and even the occasional lute. Among these is one of the most immersive battle royale experiences in which up to 64 players are pitted against one another in massive bloody battles for glory.
The central and most engaging aspect of Mordhau is its realistic free-form melee-based combat, which offers total control over your character’s movement during battle. This allows you to experiment and discover new approaches to combat while keeping opponents guessing. To this point, rounds are a lot shorter than your typical battle royale as the game keeps things moving at a fast pace.
Battlefield 5: Firestorm
Developers: EA DICE, Criterion
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Another battle royale that supports up to 64-player matchmaking is Battlefield 5: Firestorm, a separate game mode within EA DICE’s first-person shooter. Production on the game mode was outsourced, with Criterion Games, best known for the Burnout and Need for Speed racing series, handling development. The term “Firestorm” refers to a literal storm of fire that surrounds the map, becoming more intense with each passing round.
Players can pick up and shoot a variety of WWII-themed guns, mount vehicles, and team up with their friends in squad matches with up to 16 teams. Firestorm has been praised for its sprawling map, the biggest multiplayer map in the series to date, and for appropriately adapting Battlefield 5’s mechanics to the battle royale format.
Super Animal Royale
Currently, in Early Access, Super Animal Royale is arguably the most adorable battle royale to release yet. The 2D strategic shooter gives you the option to play as a bloodthirsty fox, murderous panda, or deadly sloth before tossing you into an exotic island arena filled with automatic rifles, machine guns, grenades, and more.
Matches support up to 64-players and offer a lot of gameplay variety beyond just shooting and looting enemies. For one, there’s a camouflage system called “fog of war” that allows you to sneak your way around the island’s biomes. There are several hidden items to collect by exploring fields of tall grass and locations spread across the map.
Here we have another battle royale-inspired game based on the infamously addictive puzzle series Tetris. Tetris 99 sees up to 99-players competing in rounds of traditional Tetris in real-time, with the goal being to clear lines as quickly as possible, which then turn into piles of “garbage rows” that clutter up other players’ boards and ultimately cause them to lose.
Players have the option to focus on one opponent or have the computer automatically target enemies based on predetermined criteria. Matches can ramp up pretty quickly and end up feeling a lot more intense than you would expect from a puzzle game. Tetris 99 is a Nintendo Switch Online exclusive and includes downloadable content that adds offline CPU Battles and an endless Marathon mode.
Developer: Proletariat Inc.
Platforms: PS4, PC
Gearing up for a full release this spring, Spellbreak is currently in its second beta phase on PC and PS4. The fantasy-themed battle royale sees you developing your skills as a Breaker, mages with the ability to cast spells using magic-embedded gauntlets. Spells are broken up into separate elements and have different effects based on their nature, such as poison that deals damage over time and fire that causes enemies to burn.
Powers operate on cooldowns and can be swapped out or modified by equipping different equipment found throughout the Hollow Lands, Spellbreak’s only map. The game places a much greater emphasis on traversal than most battle royales, with mages having the ability to levitate, dash, fly, and even teleport across the map as an ever-shrinking storm surrounds them.
Bombergrounds: Battle Royale
Developer: Gigantic Duck Games
Here we have another free-to-play battle royale that’s currently in Early Access on Steam. Inspired by the Bomberman series of games, Bombergrounds: Battle Royale sees you taking part in explosive battles with up to 25-players, presented in-game as cute animals. Combat is carried out by placing bombs on a grid-based battlefield with a limited range.
Any player who finds himself unfortunate enough to be in the radius of a bomb when it detonates is unceremoniously tossed out. Meanwhile, the remaining players are pushed closer together as the perimeter of the battlefield gets smaller and smaller. Bombergrounds has been praised for contrasting cute cartoon visuals with exciting, fast-paced gameplay.
Ring of Elysium
Developer: Aurora Studio
You might be surprised to learn that PUBG isn’t the only battle royale currently owned and operated by Chinese conglomerate Tencent. Ring of Elysium has managed to retain an active playerbase by offering a much more engaging take on the battle royale formula. Instead of your standard shrinking storm, players are forced to traverse a map whose environments continuously turn into ash. To make it out alive, they’ll first have to grab some supplies and survive long enough for an extraction helicopter to arrive.
Here’s the catch: there are only four seats on the helicopter, meaning you will have to either form an alliance or fend for yourself to secure a spot. There’s a bit of a learning curve to overcome when dealing with Ring of Elysium’s controls and match structure, but it’s all very manageable. Don’t expect to make it out alive on your first try but preserve and maybe find the right squad, and you’ll eventually secure a win.
Developer: Scavengers Studio
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
After spending the last two years in Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview, free-to-play Hunger Games sim Darwin Project was officially released in January of this year. The game sees players attempting to survive in extreme weather conditions in addition to the typical challenges you’d expect to encounter in a battle royale.
Setting the game apart is an assortment of gameplay systems that help shake up the battle royale formula and keep things amusing. You can track other players, set traps for them, and even receive praise from an audience of viewers and the Show Director, an announcer who provides commentary during each game. Doing so allows you to tip the odds in your favor, as the Show Director rewards good player performance with special map-altering cards.
Forza Horizon 4: The Eliminator
Developer: Playground Games
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
While a racing game may not sound like the best foundation for a battle royale mode, Forza Horizon 4: The Eliminator would beg to differ. The base game provides one of the most accessible driving sim experiences around, striking a happy medium between realism and arcade-inspired racing. However, players looking to prove themselves in an entirely different arena can head over to Moorhead Wind Farm for a round of The Eliminator.
This vehicular battle royale mode sees up to 72-players battling to keep their engines running by racing to destinations as the arena closes in. It’s a lot less demanding than your average battle royale, removing any concerns regarding looting and shooting. Of course, you’ll still want to be on the lookout for any players who may try to damage your vehicle and cause you to wreck.
Totally Accurate Battlegrounds
Developer: Landfall Games
Initially released as an April Fool’s Day joke, Totally Accurate Battlegrounds has amassed a cult following of players who can’t seem to get enough of the game’s ridiculous physics-based antics. Serving as a spin-off to developer Landfall’s over-the-top war sim Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (or T.A.B.S.), the game provides a satirical take on battle royales that’s surprisingly satisfying.
In true battle royale design, players are tasked with traversing a map with a shrinking safety net as they search for weapons and fight to be the last one standing. Where the game truly shines is its implementation of the T.A.B.S. physics engine, which has a habit of causing exaggerated character movements. Its effects vary greatly and can range from flailing arms while running to characters getting blown back from weapon recoil.
Developer: Darkflow Software
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Another battle royale that was intended to be one big joke, Cuisine Royale, is still quite popular in 2021. The game takes battle royales in some weird directions while providing robust PVP action with realistic guns, magical traps, and ever-elusive satanic rituals. Players spawn on a random part of the map before setting off to find weapons and armor (represented as kitchenware).
In addition to providing extra protection, wearing excessive armor will cause your character to make more noise as various pots and pans bang against each other. The game features drivable vehicles, loot boxes in the form of refrigerators, and enough HP-restoring baguettes to keep any belly full. If you’ve grown tired of the same old battle royale tropes, this one might be for you.
Dying Light: Bad Blood
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
While we twiddle our thumbs waiting for Techland to release Dying Light 2, a beacon of hope in the form of a battle royale spin-off to the original Dying Light emerges. Dying Light: Bad Blood mixes the first-person survival game’s zombie parkour action with fast-paced PVP combat for an intense battle royale-inspired experience.
In it, you’re cast as one of 12 survivors left to fend for themselves in a zombie-infested arena in hopes of escaping in an evac helicopter. You have the option to fight alone to try to assemble a squad as you search for weapons and supplies while leveling up by collecting blood samples from zombie hives. It’s a nice deviation from the zombie game’s single-player campaign with the usual battle royale mayhem included.
Developer: Blackrose Arts
We’re honestly surprised it’s taken us this long to get a Viking-themed battle royale. However, the wait will soon be over when indie developer Blackrose Arts releases their upcoming hack and slash title, Valhall. The game casts you as one of the remaining survivors of Odin’s army following a devastating battle that’s brought about by Ragnarök. However, there’s one way to prevent the apocalypse—retrieve Odin’s sword before your enemies do.
Combat is skill-based and sees you using melee-based attacks via an assortment of medieval axes, swords, and bows. Matches will support up to 50-players and take place in an arena divided into four parts dynamic weather and lighting systems. Over time, parts of the environment will change as the map cycles through different seasons.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Platforms: PS4, PC
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is an upcoming platformer that looks to be promising a unique twist on the battle royale formula. In it, up to 100-players are challenged to complete game-show style obstacle courses using portly creatures in colorful bodysuits. Obstacles will become more difficult with each round until only one player remains.
It’s sure to offer an alternative multiplayer experience that may also appeal to fans of battle royales. There is a variety of customization options for personalizing your avatar and making them stand out from the competition. Fall Guys is currently being developed by Hatoful Boyfriend creator Mediatonic is being published by Devolver Digital.