Daddy Vs is in trouble.
I’d spent months avoiding this game. I was tempted to download it on PC after watching some live streams, but I stayed strong. I didn’t want to become addicted like the 45 million other people currently playing, and seeing as the Switch is our main console, I didn’t want my daughters to either.
I’d heard the rumor last month that Fortnite was coming to the Switch. I figured it would be a full retail version, like the PS4 or Xbox One.
But yesterday at E3, Nintendo decided to go for the throat.
First they dropped the Ultimate Smash Brothers reveal. Then they followed up with “By the way, Fortnite’s battle royale mode is coming to Switch. Right now. For free.”
Any excuse I had not to play was gone. I downloaded Fortnite and I am hooked. But is Fortnite ok for my daughters?
What is Fortnite?
Fortnite is a 3rd person online shooter in which 100 players parachute onto a large island holding nothing but a pick axe. From there, it’s every man for himself. Characters must scavenge weapons and building materials in an attempt to survive and be the last person standing.
Fortunately, guns are plentiful, and follow an RPG loot system. White guns are least powerful, followed by green, blue, purple, and finally gold, which pack a punch.
But there’s a catch: every few minutes, the size of the playing field decreases. A toxic storms closes in tighter and tighter around the island, killing players outside it’s boundaries.
Given the size of the island, this play mechanic is 1000% necessary, otherwise matches would stretch on for days as there are literally hundreds of buildings and thousands of corners for players to camp in. The playing field itself is estimated to be 2 km².
In essence, Fortnite is less like Call of Duty, and more like an adult version of hide and seek.
That’s where Fortnite’s Battle Royale shines; anyone can do well in the opening minutes. Each match begins with all 100 player parachuting out of a flying bus attached to a weather balloon.
Fortnite has a cartoony, light-hearted flavor as opposed to it’s competitors, such as PUBG, which favor a sense of realism. Combat lacks blood and gore, which is a positive for kids.
Players have the option to choose when they parachute out of the bus, lending strategy to each match. I was most successful when I jumped at the last possible opportunity. That way, I could take my time on the outskirts of the map, searching for quality weapons virtually unopposed, and sweep up stragglers running from the edge of the storm.
There’s a distinct thrill in making it into the final ten. At that point, the stage is tight and getting tighter. This is where Fortnite’s other key mechanic becomes most important.
Each character is armed with a pick axe which can be used to mine wood, stone, or metal from virtually any object. In turn, the player can construct walls, floors, ceilings, and ramps, and traps with differing durability based on the material used. As the playing field narrows, players can set up defensible fortresses to counteract their decreasing number of options.
The hook is unique, and strangely addicting. Games are fun, and lack the stress of other online shooters. Failure means immediatley jumping into a new lobby. The game is so popular, a match begins every minute.
It should be noted that this version lacks Fortnite’s other mode, “Save the World,” which is the original base game, in which four players attempt to defend an area against a horde of zombie-type enemies by scavenging and building. This isn’t a deal breaker, as battle royale is pretty much the main attraction at this point.
What’s the bottom line?
The story is simple: a mysterious storm has wiped out most of the world’s population, and now the survivors must scavenge, build, and defend. The story is there simply to propel the player into the fight. This type of game doesn’t really need a deep story due to the quality of the gameplay, and Fortnite doesn’t force narrative upon you, so I’m being lenient in my review.
The game is cartoony and fun. Control is never an issue, as it’s easy to swap between gun and building mode. The controls are simple enough where you never feel bogged down, but have adequate control. I had no issues connecting to the server or a game. However, there are frame-rate hiccups from time to time. The game runs at 30 fps, and is best compared with the iOS version rather than consoles. Music is minimal for the sake of sound effects.
What’s in it for adults? 25/25
This game is a blast. Anyone can jump in and get the same thrill that you used to get playing hide and seek as a kid. The free to play structure, supported by cosmetic altering microtransactions, eliminates the guilt of having purchased a full retail product, which is the icing on the cake for dads on a budget.
What’s in it for kids? 17/25
I showed my six year old daughter Fortnite. She liked the graphics, and understood battle mode, but not building mode. She enjoyed wandering, but panicked in battle. While it wasn’t for her, it was clear that kids in her age group could handle it. But should they? While the violence is stylized, resembling Looney Toons, the game has a very, very addictive quality, so parents use extreme caution letting kids play this.
Overall score: 84/100
Fortnite is a blast to play. It’s technically proficient, and relatively free of connection issues. The story is lacking, but doesn’t detract from the experience. Just use caution introducing your children to Fortnite’s addictive gameplay.