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Review: Fortnite on Android brings authentic battle royale to (most of) the rest of us

Epic Games announced today that it is launching the beta for Fortnite battle royale on Android, starting with select Samsung devices. The Samsung devices will go live today with a wider Android beta beginning in the coming days. Epic timed the announcement with the reveal of the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone, giving players with access to Samsung Galaxy devices first access to the popular free-to-play game, which is already out on the PC, consoles, and iOS devices.  Purchasers of the new Samsung Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 will get access to the new Galaxy outfit. As Epic Games announced earlier, the Android version will not be available for download on the Google Play store, which charges a 30 percent commission. Rather, saying it wants a direct relationship with players, Epic said that players can download it from from Epics web site instead. You can sign up on the link at Fortnite has been an enormous success on iOS devices, with more than 100 million downloads and $160 million in revenue in less than six months. It is the same game on Android, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in an earlier interview with GamesBeat he is proud of that achievement, fulfilling the promise that the game will work on any platform. I played the game on a Samsung Galaxy S9+, and I was about as bad at it as I was playing Fortnite on the PC. Playing on the touchscreen required an adjustment, as its a fast-moving game where you have to have good reaction time to shoot a player who comes out of the blue. I played a number of games so that I could get familiar with the controls and gameplay, but I havent progressed that far up the ladder. Its FortniteYou can do anything that you want to do in Fortnite on Android, just as you can on other platforms. You start out in a lobby with 99 other players. You can pick up a gun and practice shooting. Then you parachute into an island that is filled with houses, buildings, trees, and loot to grab. You pick up a gun and start shooting, but a circle on the map keeps shrinking and you have to move to stay inside of it or face death from the mysterious Storm. All the while, you have to keep looking around for other players who are trying to take you out. You can also play a 50 versus 50 mode or team up with friends. Its a fun, party-like environment with zany shopping carts and rocket launchers in a big world. Easy targetingAs with the iOS version , you dont have to be an expert at controlling whats happening on the screen. If you point your gun at a target, you engage the auto fire option, where the gun fires automatically when a target is in its crosshairs. You can also take it off the auto fire and tap on the fire button, shooting when you want. I did this in my duel with a rival, who fortunately had not yet picked up a gun and was armed only with a pick. Movement is also fluid and fast, and you can set it on auto run if you want. Cross playFortnite on Android supports full cross play and cross progression with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, the PC, Mac, and iOS. Of course, you probably dont want to play the touchscreen version against someone with the lightning fast controls of a PC mouse and keyboard. But its the thought that counts. Its so easy to die and hard to controlIf you have a game controller that you can attach to your phone, thats probably the way to play Fortnite on Android. Otherwise, youll find that its hard to control. You can hold down the screen with your left finger to move. You use this finger to move forward or sideways. And you use your right finger to look up or down or sideways. But you find you quickly run out of fingers if youre trying to target someone and shoot and move at the same time. Meanwhile, someone who has the drop on you can stop, pause, and shoot you. As with the game on other platforms, youll find that someone can shoot you quickly, and youll never know what hit you. I enjoyed playing Fortnite on Android for the novelty of it, and this version makes it fun to play while youre on the run. You need a good Internet connection and a decent device. Sweeney estimated that Fortnite would like run on 300 million or so Android devices. It wont run on low-end smartphones, and you need to have the latest version of the Oreo operating system. Those are some severe restrictions. Its not ideal to play on a smartphone, as it has the same challenges that any shooter on mobile has. But the game fulfills its promise of playing a game anywhere, anytime, on almost any device. Its also the same fun battle royale game that the whole world has come to love. Keep in mind that the game is not yet final and will receive updates. But its playable now. Score: 85/100. Note: The beta is currently supported on the following Samsung Devices: Samsung Galaxy: S7 / S7 Edge , S8 / S8 +, S9 / S9+, Note 8, Note 9, Tab S3, Tab S4. Epic Games provided me with a Samsung S9+ phone to play the game. Later on, the beta will be playable on: Google: Pixel / Pixel XL, Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XLAsus: ROG Phone, Zenfone 4 Pro, 5Z, VEssential: PH-1Huawei: Honor 10, Honor Play, Mate 10 / Pro, Mate RS, Nova 3, P20 / Pro, V10LG: G5, G6, G7 ThinQ, V20, V30 / V30+ Nokia: 8OnePlus: 5 / 5T, 6Razer: PhoneXiaomi: Blackshark, Mi 5 / 5S / 5S Plus, 6 / 6 Plus, Mi 8 / 8 Explorer / 8SE, Mi Mix, Mi Mix 2, Mi Mix 2S, Mi Note 2ZTE: Axon 7 / 7s, Axon M, Nubia / Z17 / Z17s, Nubia Z11

Fortnite for Android is launching today exclusively on recent Samsung Galaxy devices

One of the worst-kept secrets in gaming has turned out to be true: the Android version of Fortnite will be available exclusively on Samsung devices at launch. But its not just the new Note 9 and Tab S4 getting Fortnite; owners of a range of recent Samsung devices — the S9 / S9 Plus, Note 8, Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and Tab S3 — can all start playing the beta today. Youll be able to install Fortnite from either Samsungs Game Launcher app or Epics new installer, both available here. The official announcement from Samsung comes after a handful of reports pointed to the possibility, most recently following a leak of the games APK. The exclusivity period will last for the next few days, according to Samsung. That sounds like less than the 30-day window that was rumored, which should be welcome news for fans of the game. Anyone preordering the Galaxy Note 9 will have the option of receiving 15,000 V-bucks and the Fortnite Galaxy skin (seen above) instead of noise-canceling AKG headphones. (Or you can get both by paying $99.) When Fortnite does finally make its way out to the wider Android audience, it wont be a typical launch. You can signup for an invite to the Android beta here; Epic also has a list of the compatible devices in its FAQ. The developer also previously revealed that its bypassing the Google Play Store altogether and instead releasing its own launcher for Fortnite. Epic wants to have a direct relationship with our customers on all platforms where thats possible, CEO Tim Sweeney told The Verge. The great thing about the Internet and the digital revolution is that this is possible, now that physical storefronts and middlemen distributors are no longer required. The move also allows Epic to get around the 30 percent fee Google takes from all purchases in its store. At last count, Fortnite had an estimated 125 million players spread out across PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and iOS. With the impending Android launch, the battle royale game is set to get even bigger.