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Fortnite on mobile: it works!

Now Drake could play it on his cellphone.

I have Fortnite on my iPhone SE. The complete thing? Well, the Battle Royale part, anyway: the part that is currently taking over the world. And it works! It works surprisingly well. It's a little more basic to look at and I'll need a while to get properly comfortable, but I suspect Fortnite might well conquer the touchscreen much as it's conquered everything else.

How does it look? On my SE, the framerate is fairly smooth, and while the textures are much simpler than they are on PC, it's still recognisably the same game.

Pop-in is no longer reserved for the far horizon - I'll be walking through the farm where I normally always get killed instantly and bushes will be appearing suddenly in the middle-distance - but it's hardly a big deal.

The controls work quite nicely. Taking cues from a lot of touchscreen shooters, the left side of the screen has a virtual stick for movement - you can tap or push outwards to run - while aiming and looking around is handled by the right side of the screen.

There are buttons for jumping and changing stance on the right, and there are contextual buttons for sighting down your weapon, and you tap the screen to shoot or to swing your axe. It's very easy to get used to.

Changing weapons is done by tapping the slot you're after, and there's a button for initiating build mode, with selection of build items done in the same way.

This works really well as far as I'm concerned, although I'm not brilliant at building in the PC version so I don't know whether the people who manage to build stuff really quickly are going to be able to work at the same speed here.

Outside of the core controls, there are a surprising number of neat little additions and tweaks. A lot of audio cues are now represented visually - presumably because you're more likely to play with the sound off. So while hunting for treasure chests, for example, there's now an icon to show you when one is nearby. Elsewhere, weapon pick-ups are now automatic, and you open doors just by walking into them.

So yes, it works. It is all deeply impressive, actually, and yet more proof that once Epic gets into a groove it is a terrifying thing to try and compete with. I'm not sure how much Fortnite I'm going to play on my iPhone, but I'm probably not the intended audience here anyway.

Picking my daughter up from school a few weeks back, we were on the bus when I noticed that all the school kids of a certain age sat around the top deck were playing an online smartphone shooter together. I don't know what it was, but the art and the general activity made it clear that it was a Fortnite surrogate - a game they played on the bus while they raced home from school to jump into Fortnite on console.

The game they were playing looked fun but pretty clunky. To put it another way, I suspect Epic has a major hit on its hands once again.

Fortnite is currently an invite-only release on iOS but should be out properly soon.

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