The RPS Advent Calendar, Dec 22nd


Door twenty-two has already been opened. You know what that means. Better be on your guard.

It’s Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds!

Adam: I still haven’t won a game. I still don’t care. What a splendid thing this is. Even though it’s a completely different proposition, it’s effectively the game I wanted DayZ to be. Moments of tension, exhilaration, and laughter and curses shared generously over chat. I haven’t loved a multiplayer shooter this much in years.

Matt: In one moment, Plunkbat is a calm, pleasant environment where I can enjoy a comfortable chat with my mates. In the next, it’s a ridiculously tense shooter where death can come at any moment.

I can totally see why Plunkbat might not be your bag. A typical round might consist of 10 or 20 minutes of peaceful looting, following by an unavoidable, unceremonious death to someone who just happened to get the jump on you. It speaks to just how exquisite the game can be that all those uneventful hours are worth enduring for those rare occasions when you can make it into the very last stage of the round.

It’s sounds like a silly exaggeration, but I’ve literally had times with Plunkbat where I’ve forgotten to breathe. The other day, I was in the final 5 as the circle closed to a miniscule radius. All of us must have been a few metres away from each other, laying prone in grass that provided just enough cover for each of us to go unseen. Then the circle shrunk again, and the air erupted with the sound of bullet fire and explosions as several people made a dash for it at once.

I didn’t win that game, but I have had my fair share of chicken dinners by now. Each one is almost as delicious as the first, where I jumped out of my seat and punched the air, most likely waking up my flatmates. Who needs exercise when I have Plunkbat to set my heart pounding?

Graham: As a kid, my friends and I would play a lot of hide and seek. Every so often our conversation would return to the same idea: wouldn’t it be cool to play hide and seek over our entire town? It would never have worked for many obvious reasons, but that desire to map the drama, tension and empowerment of hiding and hunting onto large, urban terrain is so simple and obvious that it occurred to us as ten-year-olds.

It’s those uneventful minutes that Matt describes which are my favourite parts of Plunkbat. If I want immediate action and instant gratification, the game can provide that: jump when everyone else jumps, race towards the ground, and you’ll find yourself quickly in the midst of combat. But mostly what I want is to be hunkered down inside a bedroom on the second floor of a house, peeking out a window and trying to get a view of the gunfire I can hear getting closer. I want to watch another player walk by the house without ever knowing I was there, watching.

There’s another game from my youth that Plunkbat resembles, and it’s Counter-Strike. Not in the maps, which are obviously larger by miles, but in the emotional experience. The feeling of being the last person alive on your team, fighting against the odds, is rare in Counter-Strike but a permanent sensation in Plunkbat. The feeling of trying to escape unseen with hostages in tow is only happens after substantial success in Counter-Strike, but is present during every new building you infiltrate in Plunkbat. This is the game’s triumph: it makes the highest highs of other games accessible to anyone, whether they’re inexperienced or bad at first-person shooters.

Plunkbat plunkbat plunkbat.


  1. Nelyeth says:

    “Plunkbat plunkbat plunkbat.”

    Never change, RPS. Never change.

    • Grizzly says:

      I daresay they are up for some pubgilism!

    • caff says:


    • Pharaoh Nanjulian says:

      I really don’t understand why I’ve read comments disparaging the name ‘Plunkbat’. What are the alternatives? The full mouthful of the title? An unpronounceable acronym? Plunkbat is the obvious one that rolls off the tongue. As someone who’s never played it, I always think of it as Plunkbat. Just like Call of Duty: Black Ops is simply Blops.

      • ThTa says:

        Maybe Plunkbat sounds overly silly to them, so they interpret it as disparaging/denigrating? Your comparison to Black Ops extends to this, as well, because I don’t think I’ve seen or heard someone who was obsessed with the game call it codblops/blops, as common as that term is/was.

        Or maybe they see it as a failed attempt to be witty? Sometimes something just grates on you.

        I’ve yet to see someone object to AssCreed, though, and for that I’m grateful. (Though Oranges seems to get mixed responses.)

      • Don Reba says:

        And how Microsoft’s latest console is Xbone.

      • April March says:

        For the kind of people who are upset by ‘plunkbat’, unpronounceable acronyms are a sacrament.

        Thanks for keeping the torch alight, ropapsho.

  2. Godwhacker says:


    I’ve played far too much of it but it really is quite special. Gets even better if you turn voice chat off.

    I’ve won a few and lost a lot, but each round is thrilling in its own way- well, apart from the times when you die from falling off a bike, or you flip your car on a long drive to the circle and slowly get gassed to death, or someone just snipes you from nowhere, or the lag gets too bad and you die to a single punch, or the game crashes after you’ve found an AR silencer , etc etc. But apart from those times it’s the best multiplayer game there’s been in years.

    And it is very definitely called Plunkbat.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    Laaaads !

  4. DrollRemark says:

    What no-one else seems to have mentioned in what I’ve read about Plunkbat, is that in certain moments it’s a true stealth game, in a way that the contrived artifices of single-player games marketed explicitly as such just aren’t. When I see an enemy player and I don’t think he’s seen me, I get a real, immediate rush of tension about the possibilities that lay ahead of me. Which way is he going? Does he have friends? Have I got a clear shot on him? If I don’t, when is my best chance?

    You know that as soon as you take that first shot on somebody, or, heaven forbid, they see you, your moment of surprise will be forever lost. There’s no magic reset timer that will cause the other player to forget you exist if you just hide long enough. So you have to make it count. Get in a good position, cook a grenade and lob it in their room. Or just get the hell away and regroup. Just make it count.

    It’s brilliant.

  5. Brahms says:

    Classic games journalist and student game. Journos love it because you can spin out all those pointless deaths into a great narrative. Students love it because they have the time and disposable income to learn the map to the level required to have any fun and thus avoid the pointless deaths. The rest of us read the articles, get repeatedly wrecked in the 1 hour a day we have available for games and leave frustrated.

    You should start up a column for normal people games. But then again… as soon as someone wrote one of those… they’d automatically excuse themselves from any further reviews…

    • Beefenstein says:

      Guess I’m not a normal person then. Oh well.

      • Ghostwise says:

        I’m trying to imagine a world where *only* journalists and students have free time. It involves colour-coded jumpsuits and code bars tattooed on the brow.

        • GrumpyCatFace says:

          The prison guards are children.

          They force us to work all hours of the night, and clean things that nobody should have to look at.

          Please send help.

    • gi_ty says:

      It certainly depends on your general disposition. If your the type that needs to do well every match or you get angry or frustrated easily its definitely not a game for you. Also whilst time investment is certainly helpful it is not critical to enjoyment. If you want a proper stealth game just learn to listen closely. This is a game that makes brilliant use of 7.1 headphones, its like an immersive minimap if you are cautious and quiet. That is always my advice to people who want to play better especially in solo, just slow down crank up the volume on your headset and listen. You will get the drop on people far more frequently. Plus non moving objects are far more easily missed.

    • Belmakor says:

      If you have 7 hours a week you can be good at this game (ie 50% of games in top 10). Of course that assumes you have good situational awareness and good hand to eye co-ordination.

    • Sentinel says:

      They actually did this about six months ago, check out the collection called Best Short Games.

      Despite the name, it’s not just short games, but it is designed around the limitations of being a busy parent with only small pockets of play time.

      Also, it’s totally called Plunkbat, I don’t understand how anyone can think otherwise.

  6. Beefenstein says:

    P L U N K B A T

  7. R. Totale says:

    I nominate ‘Plunkbat’ as word of the year 2017.

    • Shinard says:

      Well, it’s better than bloody “youthquake”. A word of the year which I maintain didn’t exist until they chose it to be word of the year.

  8. Daedalus says:

    I just want to say that the ads have made it impossible to browse RPS on my phone. They keep dragging me back up the page to make me watch them. I can’t read articles past the first one, and in fact the same infinitely repeating video keeps interrupting me as I write this. Not to mention they’ve slowed the browser down to a crawl

    • Barts says:

      Same here.

    • Josh W says:

      I’m sorry to say that I’ve started blocking JavaScript, a measure I usually save for the most disreputable or intrusive websites.

      Depending on your browser, you might have to block everything and just not whitelist RPS. It’s a shame either way.

  9. Viral Frog says:

    Huh. Neither Divinity: Original Sin 2 or Plunkbat for RPS’s bestest best of 2017?

    I have a feeling I’m going to be extremely disappointed with the GOTY pick this year. Watch it be Destiny 2. *shudder*

    • Nolenthar says:

      Destiny 2 is where all the cool kids who don’t play batplunk are, please let it not be a GOTY, it’s definitely not RPS GOTY material, you need to pick up an ugly looking 2d game the cool kids don’t even know exists

      • Viral Frog says:

        I’m pretty sure Destiny 2 won’t even make it onto this list at all. Taking a complete shot in the dark, I’m going to guess that the actual bestest best will be Dead Cells.

  10. Xantonze says:

    Nah, it’s gonna be SEVEN.

    • Nolenthar says:

      Given it was reviewed in a hurry by a guy who apparently lost a bet and really didn’t want to review it, I doubt it ;)

      • Xantonze says:

        Where’s that review ?? I was waiting for it after some promising “in progress” post, and then it never came…

    • April March says:

      …out of ten?

  11. gi_ty says:

    It’s gonna be Orange AssCreed! No really I am baffled about this years top pick my favorites for #1 have already been named. Maybe Spellforce 3!

    • Zenicetus says:

      Either AC Oranges or Wolfie New Colossus, probably. Unless they just want to screw with everyone’s heads, and pick Mass Effect Andromeda.

      • Faldrath says:

        Wolf2 is already in the calendar. And yeah, I’m very surprised Plunkbat isn’t number 1. I mean, I haven’t played it and even I would consider it the major gaming phenomenon of the year.

  12. Premium User Badge

    alison says:

    I am really happy this game seems to be doing well. The only multiplayer FPS that ever hooked me was Counter-Strike, specifically because i enjoyed the dead-is-dead and stealth mechanics, so i can totally get the appeal of this. Definitely on my to-play list someday.

    One unfortunate side-effect of Plunkbat’s global popularity that i wish RPS had reported on is China blocking Whether it’s the fault of over-zealous government censors or deliberately provocative trolls i don’t know, but now no one here can access their Steam wishlist or community pages. It’s a massive pain in the ass, though i guess we should be grateful it’s not the entirety of Steam being blocked.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Not that you asked for my opinion, but no, you really shouldnt just be grateful that it isnt the whole of Steam being blocked, hardly – you should remain incensed that so much backwards, egregious censorship is so alive already! Really, that, “yeah it sucks but I suppose it could be worse so I should be grateful” mentality is sometimes the healthiest way to feel, but other times it’s just standing aside to let some bull bluster into your china shop. It’s the same mentality at work here in America, wherein poor white people have been told for generations they’ve got it better than the blacks and the browns so don’t complain – or a more universal one: it doesnt matter if your wage is too low to support yourself, just be glad you have a job (and if ya liked school you’ll love work!).

      I don’t believe it’s necessary, or possible, for every last individual to be outwardly activist against these things, but I do think it’s necessary to always retain a personal sense of your absolute rights, not as a citizen of your nation but as a human being. If you want to access your steam community page, you should damned well be able to do it. And if you cant, you should let that fact bother you until it’s resolved. Sometimes just voicing discontent incurs surprisingly dramatic reactions, but moreso if it’s a broad, public outcry. Is it possible for such outcries to go ignored? Utterly. But without the outcry at all, there’s not only no chance of positive change, but also a precedent is set which encourages the powers that be in even further encroachment. I know it sounds like a small thing, but they’re fucking with your entertainment, which is what we do all the rest of our working and toiling and living for…

      Sorry for the rant, but I’m already personally at war with that mentality in general, in all its incarnations. Please dont take it personally, cus I do it too – which is all the more reason to be so strict against it. Basically, sometimes when you say, “could be worse,” you may only intend it to comfort yourself, but the other guy takes it as an invitation…

      • Premium User Badge

        alison says:

        This kind of comment is exactly why i wanted RPS to cover this, because it’s a really interesting topic for discussion.

        See, when it comes to “Western countries” (for want of a better term) i hold quite strong political opinions, and regularly call out my friends and peers when they perpetuate white supremacy and male privilege. I also care a lot about the environment and condemn the profligacy and selfishness of the vast majority of people in developed countries who are all too happy to sit back while other countries are exploited by neo-colonialists and ravaged by climate change. I guess you could call me a social justice warrior.

        I only arrived in China this year, so my feelings are still developing about the situation here. There are well over a billion people in this country all being kept in line by an often bureaucratic and occasionally terrifying single party government. This is exactly the sort of authoritarianism i have protested against in the EU, but coming here has been a bit of a wake-up call for me that society does not crumble under such oppression. Before i came here the media gave me the impression that China was something like former East Germany where the secret police is everywhere and people turn in their neighbors and “disappearing” happens all the time, every day. In reality – while this stuff does happen and it’s certainly objectionable – it is a very small drop in a very big bucket.

        On internet censorship, there’s no question it annoys people – and they openly talk about that frustration offline – but they just see it as another bit of government bureaucracy, shrug and move on. It reminds me of Australians or Germans who can’t buy certain games because their governments banned them. The ones who really care find a workaround. The ones who don’t just buy a different game. Just like in the west, in China there are lots of problems around corruption, income inequality, exploding housing prices, environmental pollution, racism, police brutality and so on. For most people here fixing these things is seen as a higher priority than freedom of speech.

        The more interesting question to me is how should companies in the west deal with this situation? Living here there are tons of websites – RPS included – that work poorly because they embed ad/tracking scripts from blocked services like Google. When you visit one of these websites from China, the site freezes or doesn’t load while the browser tries to figure out what to do with all the blocked third-party scripts. On the other hand, you have other sites like The Guardian that have clearly taken the time to remove third-party junk, and they load just as fast and full-featured as on the other side of the Great Firewall. This is a choice developers can make, and Valve could make it too. There is no need to put achievements and walkthroughs and wishlists on the domain – it’s probably just there for convenience or historical reasons. I think Valve (and other companies) have an interesting choice to make – do they accept CPC policy on social media and still try to provide the best experience possible for over 700 million netizens, or do they just fold and let domestic companies fill the gap?

        All this stuff is really fascinating to me – especially with the recent resurgence of neo-fascism and protectionist politics in the west – and it’s part of why i decided to come here in the first place.

  13. Plunkbat Oranges says:

    I’m torn between my enjoyment of the fury of anti-Plunkbat’ers and folks who get cross everytime an article makes even the slightest of humorous quips about VR.

    I guess they’re all winners.

  14. LessThanNothing says:

    The game is full of hackers and almost unplayable now. Write an article about that.

    • Don Reba says:

      You are contradicting yourself. If it’s full of hackers, it’s clearly playable for them.

  15. Atwood says:

    I didn’t win a game, but I still like to play Hide-and-seek, happiness is not winning