I’m hiding in a bush with my AK at the ready. There are only 6 players left, and the encroaching zone of death has left us all with very little room to manoeuvre. Someone approaches. They could spot me, if they looked hard enough. I hold my breath as I let him draw just a little closer, then pounce out and secure my place in the final five with a barrage of gunfire.
How many dimensions did you imagine that in? If your answer’s 3, then… hah! Jokes on you – I’m actually playing Surviv.io, a free browser-based top-down take on Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. It’s the Battle Royale game that everyone will poor depth perception has been clamouring for! If your answer was 2 because it’s obvious from the header, then… aw. You win this round.
It might lack the depth of Plunkbat, but there’s still something inevitably compelling about the Battle Royale formula. Rounds are much shorter, but 5 minutes or so of looting and scrapping still make me feel invested in games where I’m among the last few players alive. My heart might not race as quickly as it does in the final moments of a proper Plunk, but it gets pretty close.
It does have some tricks of its own up its sleeve. I like how exploding barrels are littered about the place, forcing you to think carefully about where to move to in the middle of a firefight. Finding a scope zooms out your field of view, which I thought was neat when I’d only come across 2x scopes but excessive when I got shot by someone way off screen who’d found a 4x.
Destructible wooden walls are another neat touch, and the way bullets can ricochet has lead to some fun duels involving me and my opponent trying to hit each other behind cover. Sadly those can only happen inside buildings, and most of the shooting takes place in the open. If they add a map with a more urban focus, I can see myself jumping back in for another spot of 2D murder.
This won’t be news to those that know Surviv.io came out back in June, though those exploding barrels, spectator mode and the Ingram-MAC-10 were added in an update last month. The devs aren’t done yet, either – support for squads is coming at some point in the future.