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Recently, video games have seen the monolith that is the Battle Royale sub-genre rise to massive popularity and with this have come some variations on the tried and tested formulae.
Some say it all started with Minecraft: Hunger Games many years ago, while this may have some truth to it, it's not quite right. The real rise of Battle Royale came with the release of Player Unkown's Battlegrounds. The game took the gaming world by storm despite it only being released on PC, a few months later. However, the real titan of the genre emerged. Fortnite, a game originally about shooting zombies released a game mode for free in which players drop from the battle bus onto an island and they fight it to the very last. Some people say that Fortnite ripped off PUBG, including the creators of PUBG themselves actually. Seeing that PUBG was doing the same thing as many other games released years before I think that this argument has very little weight to it.
With the Fortnite phenomenon came many, many imitators that stuck very close to Fortnite. These included Call of Duty's Blackout mode and the much maligned Radical Heights. Eventually, we saw some steps being taken by Battle Royale developers to differentiate from Fortnite. The biggest success from these differences is Apex Legends, which changed a lot of things but kept the most important part, it was free.
Because of its non-existent price tag Apex Legends looks like the only realistic candidate to dethrone Fortnite, but could the newest Battle Royale stand out even more? Yes, yes it absolutely can.
Tetris 99, released on the back of a Nintendo Direct a few days ago sees 99 (Haha get it? 99?) players all compete against each other to be the last standing in their own respective games of Tetris. As you can imagine the gameplay is Tetris, the world's ultimate time waster. It feels good to match up blocks and delete rows.
Since it's just Tetris, how does the Battle Royale fit in? I have absolutely no idea. I think that players can cause metal blocks to appear at the bottom of other player's screens, but how this is actually done is a complete and utter mystery to me. When I flick the sticks something happens and by something I mean four words appear at the top of the screen, but I have no idea what this does. I have no other recourse, but to slot my little tetriminos together as best I can. Yet every time, I never get past 50 players or so. I've seen some people laud this game as the best Battle Royale you can get but I can't say this. The reason I can't say this is, so far at least, it isn't even a Battle Royale game for me.
Now, I'm sure as some of you read this you're thinking I'm foolish for not understanding the game, but I don't think I should need to figure out how to play a game by looking it up online. I think that's the game's job.
Despite my gripes with the game I actually really appreciate what this game is doing ,that is, something new. Or at the very least, it's doing something new within the Battle Royale genre, which in some ways can be the most rewarding genre of all ... That feeling you get emerging victorious knowing you're better than the 99 other people can be quite unbeatable. I hope that the success of Tetris 99 paves the way for more new and interesting ways to play with massive lobbies of people. Even though I love Apex Legends, I can see the jump from high place, land on island and shoot the other people formulae getting old soonish if it doesn't evolve.