I’ve already played many types of game like puzzles, FPS, virtual pet simulators, etc. However, one genre I missed and it’s Battle Royal. Yesterday I came across a Battle Royale game called Guns Royale. It’s not an exclusive Augmented Reality game, but it does have an AR mode.
What is Guns Royale?
As I said, Guns Royale is a Battle Royale game. In this game, 16 players are fighting against each other for survival, where only one player gets to become victorious.
Players fight in a Minecraft-style blocky online arena where they search the area in order to find better guns, armor, backpack and other items that will help improve their fighting capability and stats and give them an advantage over other players.
Everyone in a Battle Royale game starts with the same gear and stats (however in this game, you do have the option to improve basic stats through gems, which shouldn’t be in my opinion), no one has an advantage over the other player. The only thing that might be different is the player’s clothes, but these are just cosmetic items to show off their achievements in the game. They have no effect on the stats at all.
As you roam the place you’ll find gear spread around the environment or inside buildings. Gear like a vest, a helmet, gun holster, shows, etc. Each one of the items you find might have better stats than the item you already have. Equipping it will help you gain an advantage over other players. The statistics that can be improved are Armor, Movement speed, Damage, Visibility, Ammo capacity, Fire rate and Accuracy. Of course, certain stats belong to certain items. Furthermore, the items are categorized in rarity groups: Common, Rare and Epic. The higher the rarity, the better the item’s stats.
Furthermore, the gameplay area shrinks over time. A gas cloud covers the outer region of the playable area. If you are inside the gas cloud area, you will take damage over time. The game will show you an arrow that leads you to the safe zone. There is also a minimap that can help out for finding the right direction and also to locate buildings near your area where you can find loot.
If you play PC games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or H1Z1: King of the Kill, you already know how the game plays.
As you play you’ll get coins and gems. Coins an buy you cosmetic items from the store, and gems are used to improve the character’s basic stats. As I mentioned, the gems stat upgrade should be part of the game, because the whole idea of a Battle Royal game is that everyone starts the game equal with no advantage over other players whatsoever. Hopefully, that will change.
In the home screen, you can see your player experience points, your rank (I am currently Corporal, 2nd rank), the medals you’ve achieved, the global leaderboard, etc. You also have the option to play the game offline if you wish and fight against bots instead of real online players. In offline mode, you have the option to choose the difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Pro (unlocks at Captain rank = 5 medals). You can use this mode to have fun offline or for practice.
Of course, the competitive aspect is one of the most fun parts of this game so you do want to play it online. The game comes with a short tutorial that teaches you the basics. I recommend watching it because I was confused with the controls and this tutorial helped clear things out.
Guns Royale is the first Battle Royale game on mobile. I play it today quite a lot and didn’t find any problem finding a match. This game is very popular so don’t worry about not being able to find a match, even during the day (which I tried). If there aren’t enough players, the game will fill the blanks with AI bots.
Battle Royale in Augmented Reality
So how well this Battle Royale game plays in augmented reality (AR)? Well, quite good to be honest.
Guns Royale doesn’t really reinvent anything. It just takes the standard isometric view of the non-AR game and brings it to AR.
The great thing about Guns Royale’s AR Mode is that you don’t need a large space to play the game. Yes, you do play in a large arena, but the game just shows you a small chunk of it in order to limit your field of view. It is a relatively very small map. You can’t compare it to a game like Battlegrounds that has a huge map and plays with up to 100 players. This game was designed for mobile. It doesn’t play in the classic third-person perspective but from an isometric top-down view. It works really well and the gameplay felt really comfortable on my iPad.
The game spawns a relatively small game area, around 1m by 1m. As I mentioned, the game only shows you a small visible portion of the map. It plays really well like that and of course, you can use that reduced visibility to your advantage. For example, if someone is after you, you can actually run away and hide in a place and you can easily lose him due to the restricted visibility. Some users will have items with stats that will increase their visibility, so just keep that in mind.
I have to admit, I enjoyed playing a Battle Royale game on the table of the living room. It actually fits well on a small table. You don’t have the option to resize the gameplay area, just to move and rotate it. I always prefer being able to resize the game, and I don’t know why the developer didn’t enable this option.
The main problem that I had in this mode is that the character movement doesn’t connect with the real world projected regions on the screen. For example, in a game like Twilight Pioneers: Dragon ARena, which is also a multiplayer game, you do have a limited arena, but the character can move around it. There is something beautiful looking at a character that moves in the real world space. Of that game was designed from the ground up for augmented reality, and this is why it so impressive in AR. Guns Royale just players in the same area.
I don’t have anything against that type of small arena design. It actually worked beautifully in HoloGrid: Monster Battle AR, but because it was designed to draw a large arena piece by piece, the visible part doesn’t have a continuous seamless flow that connects with the real world area. This makes the AR experience much less immersive and interesting.
I think that if the edges were more smooth and have a more seamless connection with the real world (not harsh lines), it would make the experience much better. In some ways, I find the strict flat edges of the map to be quite annoying in AR.
The Minecraft-style blocky graphics are really nice. The characters look really adorable. It’s so funny seeing a small character with a huge helmet on his head. There is no blood and no gore, only mind realistic violence (the game rated 12+ on the AppStore).
There is something charming playing the game like that with simple block-style graphics. It doesn’t take anything off from the gameplay experience at all. It’s like pieces of Lego just came to life on your screen and you know can play a large-scale multiplayer shooting game like that. I’m sure many players will be fascinated with it, especially if you enjoy those type of visuals in Minecraft.
Guns Royale brings the popular Battle Royale genre to mobile and not to Augmented Reality as well. The AR mode works well, although it doesn’t bring anything really exciting to the game. You still see the same map with the same controls, but now it appears inside your real world. The AR mode does allow you to move around and change viewing angles, but nothing that will give you an advantage over other players.
I think the developer made the decision to make it a 1:1 representation of the non-AR mode because AR players will play against non-AR players. It doesn’t want the AR players to have an advantage over those who played it in the normal mode.
The AR mode doesn’t really bring anything special to the regular mode because it just wasn’t designed from the ground up for AR. I didn’t feel that it was more immersive than the normal mode, slightly more engaging because you can view the map from different angles. Still, even if there was only an AR mode like that in the game, it’s still a very enjoyable game, with a progression system and immensely fun and thrilling gameplay experience.
Maybe in the future, we get to see a Battle Royale ARKit game that was designed from the ground up for Augmented Reality (AR), but until that happens, you can enjoy a great game like Guns Royale.