Funday Factory came up with a battle royale that is perfect for playing both during a short break or in an extended session. However, Bullet League does suffer from the inherent drawbacks of being an online mobile game.
Getting started with Bullet League
Funday Factory made it rather simple to get into the game. It will initially present players with the basics of the home screen and then proceed to give them a short tutorial while getting into their first match. The instructions can be seen on the screenshot below and the controls are simple enough to be picked up right away.
Even after the initial loading screen tutorial, the game will not pit you against experienced players right away. There will be a bot match for you to pick up the basics of the game's mechanics, which are familiar to anyone who knows what a battle royale is.
You get dropped into an ever-shrinking arena that houses a bunch of players initially and the last one standing is the winner. However, there are a few twists. The game can drop a player into a match that has already started which may not sit well with everyone and sometimes there will be only 10 competitors at the same time.
Bullet League is a free to play battle royale game for iOS and Android. Funday Factory made the game appear simple on the surface since it can be described as a 2D Fortnite platformer in short, but it also has enough depth to keep players around for a while.
Controls include a jump button, directional controls on the left virtual stick and the shoot button along with the shooting direction on the right stick. It is pretty straightforward and easy to get into but those who get more into the depth of Bullet League's mechanics can successfully dodge enemy fire while riddling them with bullets.
Furthermore, you can use automatic weapons' kickback to keep yourself in the air, no rocket jumps needed. These will be necessary eventually, along with the blocks you can build mid-air since a lot of map traversing and player shooting includes jumping around platforms.
When it comes to shooting actual opponents, it feels satisfying landing the shots properly as it is indeed different when you are shooting a shotgun and an assault rifle.
As for why the players might get a Fortnite vibe - it is the cartoonish art style coupled with some building elements. There are no different materials and items to build though - you mine the same crystal material all the time and build blocks with it. These creations can range from single-block covers to proper traps for your enemies though.
Unlike Fortnite or any other mainstream battle royale, Bullet League aims to wrap up each of its matches in five minutes or so. The safe zone shrinks each minute and herds the players into a really small area fairly fast. It is for this reason that the game has such great pacing as everyone gets to the action quickly and it's possible to jump into a match or two even during short breaks from work or anything else really.
Bullet League features both experience progression and leaderboards. Leaderboards are self-explanatory. Players get Trophies at the end of a match, based on their performance, and the more points they accumulate, the higher their eventual placing will be. While progressing through the ranks, there are milestones that will have awards attached to them, making it all the more enjoyable.
Experience progression dictates your character's power as the higher levels warrant higher health and shield pools. It is connected to the level of the weapons in your loadout - as you level the weapons up, your base experience will go up too.
All eight weapons in the game, consisting of seven firearms and one type of hand grenades, have their own experience progression. Their "experience" can be boosted by blueprints which drop from loot boxes but when the bar fills up, you need a coin payment to get to the next level.
There are two types of currencies in Bullet League - coins and gems. Coins are awarded from loot boxes on a regular basis while gems happen to be there rarely.
Coins are then used for levelling up the weapons or purchasing more loot boxes, although these tend to be of lower quality than those purchased by gems.
As you might already suspect, gems are the premium currency which can be purchased for real-life money. They can be converted into coins or used for buying various loot boxes that can contain weapon blueprints, coins or customisation items.
Blueprints and weapon experience eventually outpace the coin generation which will push players to either go into microtransaction zone or watch adverts which in turn provide crates or straight up coins. Those who brutalise their wallets can max out their weapons without much sweat but others will eventually get into grinding.
I tested Bullet League on a Huawei P8 Lite which is a 3-year-old smartphone and it worked almost flawlessly. Even the few hiccups I ran into were not hardware-related so the game is indeed well-optimised. In case you have an older phone, it appears Bullet League will run on Android devices with 5.0 (Lollipop) version or higher while Apple enthusiasts will need iOS 10.0 or higher.
The less than stellar part came with the network issues. There were several matches where lag hit hard and the game became unplayable for a few moments. In some cases, it was enough to get me killed. However, the lag is not persistent all the time and Bullet League mostly remains enjoyable on that front.
Considering the review is coming from someone who is normally gaming on PC, the microtransactions and adverts are a sore spot for me. However, from what I could see during the work on this review, monetisation is less aggressive than what is standard in mobile gaming.
Even so, there is no denying that Bullet League is a blast to play and absolutely worthy of your time, whether you are willing to dip into microtransactions or not. Furthermore, the five-minute format makes it a perfect little bundle of enjoyment during short breaks, earning it extra points.
AltChar score: 8/10