It’s almost impossible to be an avid video game player and not have heard of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short. Officially released in December 2017 for consoles and PC, it’s been around for about a year including its early access period, and it’s won a ton of fans in that time and helped slingshot the battle royale genre to red hot status. Now it’s come to mobile, with experienced publisher Tencent Games bringing PUBG Mobile to iOS and Android devices worldwide after a head start in Tencent’s home country of China.

Now that it’s arrived, PUBG Mobile is waging a war of battle royale supremacy for the top of the app store charts with Fortnite, a similar title that also has some key differences. If you’ve been waiting to give it a shot but haven’t yet, this is perhaps your most accessible chance to date since you probably have a phone or tablet on which to play it.

For those of you in that boat, we’ve put together some PUBG Mobile tips, and hints o get you off on the right foot toward winning your first chicken dinner. Believe us, that will make sense once you do it.

The object of PUBG Mobile: Battle Royale 101

Put simply, PUBG Mobile begins with 100 players per match, all fighting for survival on an island full of weapons and other resources. Each player parachutes onto the island with nothing (even clothes, if you’re brand new) and has to find enough supplies to stay alive, either by scavenging them from buildings or looting them from other players they kill.

PUBG Mobile

Because it’s every man/woman for themselves, everyone you encounter is an enemy, and teamwork is actually forbidden. The exception is in duo or squad matches, where groups of players work together to be the last team alive.

To force players to keep moving and have to battle each other, an area of the map is made uninhabitable and shrinks every few minutes. There’s also a Red Zone that drains players’ health that pops up in different sections of the map. The end result is that once it’s down to just a few players left alive, they’re also forced into a high tension showdown in a very small space.

Tools of the trade: An overview of controls and combat

PUBG Mobile

PUBG Mobile has been completely designed for touchscreens thanks to a virtual thumbstick and set of buttons that controls movement, including jumping and crouching, and combat, whether with ranged or melee weapons. A wide variety of firearms will end up being the bulk of your arsenal, but there are also grenades and other thrown weapons to be found.

For defensive purposes, several types of helmets and bulletproof vests can be looted and worn to give your character more durability. Once you take damage, bandages and healing items can restore your health, but only up to 75 percent of its original total in most cases. There are no character stats in the game, so all of the damage/resistance values come from gear.

Finally, PUBG Mobile has vehicles you can drive around in, ranging from motorcycles with sidecars to jeeps. Simple arrow-based touch controls steer and accelerate, and in squad games, one player can drive while teammates sit in other seats and can shoot at enemies.

How is PUBG Mobile different from Fortnite?

If you’re coming into the game having already played Fortnite, the most obvious difference is that PUBG Mobile has no building element. Any cover you find is going to have to already exist on the island, but there is plenty of it around, ranging from buildings to sheds to random walls and rocks.

PUBG Mobile

In exchange, vehicles are a big part of the game that Fortnite doesn’t have. It’s also a bit more obviously bloody/violent if you’re a parent monitoring such things, whereas Fortnite is at least partially tongue in cheek and its characters just get digitized upon defeat.

There are smaller differences in the controls, like dedicated pop-up buttons for actions like opening doors that don’t exist in Fortnite, but otherwise they are more alike than different — which is part of why they are so locked into their current head to head battle.

General tips and hints for beginners

PUBG Mobile

  • When you drop onto the island, you want to try to head somewhere that has a few buildings you can search for supplies, but not somewhere you think tons of other players will head right away — unless your goal is to get into combat as quickly as possible.
  • Finding and driving a vehicle is a good way to get out of the way of the Red Zone quickly if necessary and also keeps you a quick moving target.
  • At least at launch, PUBG Mobile games are populated with bots to help ensure each match has 100 contestants, so just lying low for the first few minutes will help you outlive some of the competition, which is helpful when you’re first starting out.
  • If you’re taking damage and can’t see who shot you, the red zone on your heads up display indicates what direction the damage is coming from.
  • It’s always a good idea to close doors behind you so that it’s not obvious you’re in a building, which could help you ambush opponents when they enter.
  • When the “Restricting the Play Area” message pops up, the safe area gradually shrinks from the outside edges in, so you have some time to get to safety if you’re close — and you can actually see the unsafe blue area closing in.
  • Head shots do more damage than hitting enemies anywhere else. If you have a weapon with a scope, that can help you score head shots.