What is Garena Free Fire? The PUBG clone taking over mobile gaming

Garena Free FireGarena/111 Dots Studio

One of the biggest games on YouTube this year might not be what you expect: a mobile game called ‘Garena Free Fire.’ If that doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry, because we’ve got everything you need to know about it right here.

First things first, Free Fire’s beta initially came out in 2017, developed by 111 Dots Studio and published by Garena (hence the name), and has become one of the most popular mobile games on the planet.

In 2019, it was the most-downloaded mobile game globally, and by May 2020 was racking up over 80 million active users around the world. But if you live in the U.S. or U.K. you may not have heard of it before now, since it’s most popular in so-called “emerging markets” such as Southeast Asia, India, and Brazil, according to YouTube.

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Putting up numbers like that though is a good sign this mobile game won’t be going away any time soon (sorry Dr Disrespect), and could very well keep getting even bigger, so let’s take a look at what makes this battle royale tick.

What is Garena Free Fire?

If you’ve played Fortnite, Warzone or PUBG, then congratulations! You pretty much already know the basics of how it works. 50 players parachute onto an island from a plane, where they pick up weapons and items to battle it out in an attempt to be the last player (or squad) standing.

Like other battle royales, Free Fire also includes a safe zone that shrinks throughout the match to drive players together into tighter areas to force end-game encounters.

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Graphics-wise, the game basically resembles a stripped-down version of PUBG, but for a mobile game the graphics are some of the best we’ve seen, and definitely on par with Fortnite or CoD mobile.

Played in a third-person perspective, you control your character using your thumbs. If you’re used to controller or mouse and keyboard it will seem strange at first, but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it quick as the controls are pretty simple and intuitive.

Garena Free Fire screenshotPUBG is that you? No, It’s Garena Free Fire!

There are even vehicles you can use to make getting across the map easier, though we would recommend getting out before you get into combat. One more thing to note is, being a mobile game, there is a very noticeable aim assist feature going on here, that will latch your crosshair onto enemies very, very easily.

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As an example, your reporter who consistently gets out-gunned by sentient wet napkins in Fortnite and Warzone, was actually able to score a win in one of his first-ever matches. If you’re into mobile games, Free Fire is definitely worth checking out.