Apex Legends Mobile (available on iOS and Android) finally released on Tuesday after months of rumors, leaks, and soft launches. EA’s wildly popular free-to-play battle royale game first launched for PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2019, so it took more than three years for the mobile port to land. Meanwhile, companies like Fortnite, PUBG/BGMI, and Call of Duty: Mobile have carved up territory for themselves. Above all, Apex Legends is a complex game with multiple controls, combinations, and chaos. The natural way to play a game is with a keyboard and mouse or game controller. Porting these controls to a device with only six or seven inches of space seems like a lot of work. So, did EA succeed?
When EA frequently pushes out soft versions of Apex Legends Mobile, it doesn’t feel complete. There are some hollow sections that need to be filled before the full version is released. Respawn – best known for the Titanfall universe that Apex Legends is a part of – has finally launched a global variant of the game. After more than a week of testing, here is my full review. (My time on Apex Legends Mobile was spent on an iPhone 12 connected via Wi-Fi.)
Apex Legends Mobile review: Size and loadout
The Apex Legends mobile app on iOS has a download size of 5.02GB and upon installation includes all in-game content for themes and additional maps. Surprisingly, I had to download Kings Canyon separately – the first game map that came out a few years ago. World’s Edge and several Team Deathmatch (TDM) and Arenas maps are pre-installed.
Lobby in Apex Legends Mobile is completely different from the pre-release version. It still shows your favorite legends in the middle, but there are plenty of other elements that can feel a little overwhelming. Apex Legends Mobile’s lobby structure reminds me of PUBG Mobile, although it does offer more elements and options to play.
In terms of game modes, you can choose from battle royale, ranked matches, free practice, and more. Tabs allow you to browse unlocked legends. Initially, you can only play with a couple, but as you progress, the game rewards you by unlocking more legends. Apex Legends Mobile currently only has Bloodhound, Gibraltar, Lifeline, Wraith, Octane, Bangalore, Caustic, Mirage, Pathfinder and a new Legend. But more on that later. Legends like Loba, Horizon, Fuse, etc. are all gone for now, but I think they’ll be added in future updates as the season progresses.
On first launch, Apex Legends Mobile walks you through a quick tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls. It also gives you a quick overview of legends and their abilities. First, you’ll be introduced to Bloodhound, a game that lets you zip through obstacles led by Mirage, one of the funniest characters in the game.
Apex Legends Mobile also has a “Load” option that lets you quickly view all the guns in the game. This way, you can familiarize yourself with each gun and choose the one that suits you. Ideally, you should get into shooting range and try them out before sticking to one combination. Like Apex Legends, you can carry two guns.
Apex Legends Mobile review: Gameplay and controls
As of now, Apex Legends Mobile includes two maps: Kings Canyon and World’s Edge. I’m guessing Olympus and Stormpoint will come to the game in a future update. Qualified Season 1 starts at the edge of the world, and you can currently only access Kings Canyon at TDM and Arenas. The most iconic and fan-favorite maps won’t be in the battle royale queue at launch, which is what regular players expect.
The map follows the same storyline as the original port, so it keeps pace with the new buildings and locations. Maps in Apex Legends Mobile have name tags for all locations, with subtle outlines to indicate whether it’s a premium or mid-level location. This is great for new players trying the game for the first time.
Apex Legends Mobile allows you to choose from two control layouts. You can then adjust the settings to your liking. It also allows you to choose the layout – 3-finger or 4-finger – depending on your playing style. I’ve been struggling with placing the skill button because I always miss it in squad fights. There are tons of controls, bullets fly around, and sometimes your mind gets messed up. Eventually, I found the layout that worked best for me, and I was able to use skills faster and switch between weapons and health items.
One of my favorite things to do in Apex Legends Mobile—besides double bouncing on the jump pad—is slide downhill and jump for that extra push. Especially when getting a “third party”. (In Apex Legends, 3rd party means being attacked by a different team while you’re already fighting a team. This is common in the PC/console version.) The control mechanics here are so well executed that I was able to get it every time execute it. You get tons of other options in the settings, from ziplines to climbing walls. If this is your first time into the game, I recommend sorting out the controls and getting into the shooting range to give it a try before jumping into competitive play.
Communication is key to gaming, especially in a game as chaotic as Apex Legends. So Respawn has introduced a new ping system for all ports, and luckily, it’s also been added to Apex Legends Mobile. With this, you can tag enemies, weapons, health items, ammo, and more. The ping system uses the voice of your chosen legend to tag items, similar to the original. This comes in handy whenever you don’t have a microphone available. Speaking of microphones, Apex Legends Mobile introduces global chat and squad chat — something that was missing from the PC and console versions.
Gamers accustomed to the game mechanics of Apex Legends will be happy to know that the mobile version sticks to its roots. Of course, there are some modifications and additions to the game to suit mobile devices, but that doesn’t hinder your gaming experience. Entering the game gives you the same feel as you would on a PC. I love running at popular locations in Kings Canyon and the Edge of the World. Gunfights in Apex Legends are pretty good too, and with the help of aim assist — which I think is a little too aggressive — destroying squads feels within reach. The game will also show you footsteps and bullet icons when enemies get close to you – similar to what we’ve seen with Fortnite and PUBG Mobile. The graphics are polished too, and the game gives you several presets to choose from, depending on your device.
Apex Legends Mobile also brings the Battle Pass from the original game, with cosmetic rewards up to level 50. You can also unlock skydiving emotes, memes, and skydiving trails. Although I noticed that the skydive emote doesn’t have any audio cues, like in the original. I hope this is just a bug and will be fixed in an update.
The game also switches crafting metals with Flux, but both serve the same purpose. In Apex Legends Mobile, you can use Flux to craft new skins, weapons for your heroes, and unlock new banners, trackers, and emotes.
Apex Legends Mobile also follows the same ranking system as the PC/Console version, where your ranking starts with Iron and goes all the way up to Predator. However, the season will only last two months, a month shorter than the original.
Apex Legends Mobile review: Maps and game modes
There are many ways to pass the time in the game, whether playing solo or with friends. You can participate in battle royale games or ranked matches. Apex Legends Mobile also has other multiplayer modes such as TDM and Arenas. It also offers free practice and battle royale activities, including Armed and Dangerous, Quick Fight and Flashpoint modes.
Apex Legends Mobile offers two camera modes: First Person Perspective (FPP) and Third Person Perspective (TPP) – the latter was introduced in the PC/Console version as a one-off mode that feels awkward to play. However, this is not the case with the mobile version. This probably goes back to the days when I played PUBG Mobile in TPP mode, but I thought it looked comical to see Octane running for his life in TPP. The game allows you to switch between FPP and TPP, but only if you enter the game in the latter mode.
Since Apex Legends Mobile is not only aimed at players who are already a part of the world, but also trying to attract a new crowd, Respawn has developed some training and tutorial modes that are very useful for newbies. The “Advanced” training level includes climbing exercises, obstacle chases and weapons 101. It also offers weekly challenges that are only used to complete training. The game also has a daily login reward system, as well as completing trivial tasks in the game.
Apex Legends Mobile review: What’s new
While the game is very similar to the original, Apex Legends Mobile has done its best to bring something unique to smartphone gamers. It starts with the mobile-first legend Fade (Phasing Punisher), a close friend of Void and somewhat similar to Wraith. Fade’s passive ability gives you a speed boost at the end of the glide thanks to the thrusters on his back. This ability has a 10 second cooldown.
As for tactical abilities – flashbacks – Fade can go back to where he was. I find this useful whenever I’m stuck between multiple squad fights. This has a 20 second cooldown. The final nail in the coffin is Fade’s ultimate ability – it’s called the Phase Chamber, and it drops a cage where all trapped players are thrown into the void. There is a 90-second cooldown on Apex Legends Mobile. It’s fun to play with Fade, and you can use your ultimate to run away from combat or take an aggressive angle against your enemies. But choose wisely.
In addition to this, Apex Legends Mobile also introduces Legendary progression. With this you can set loading for each legend. The setup consists of three slots – Perks, Finishers and Ability. Each slot can have an additional super power. For example, Octane can use his Terminator to add 100 damage to his EVO Shield level on an opponent. To unlock these superpowers, you need Legendary Tokens, which can be earned by playing and winning games. These abilities can only be used in casual battle royale mode and are not available in ranked matches.
Apex Legends Mobile looks and feels a lot like the PC/console version, with a lot of similarities and a few differentiators. New introductions, such as those of the Legend process and Fade, show that Respawn is keen to bring something unique to the desktop. But the main question remains, how will it stack up against mobile battle royale games, BGMI, New State Mobile, PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Master of Mobile?
- Similar to Apex Legends
- Mobile-first saga is a good move
- Unique additions make the game unique
- Good graphics and control layout
- Reward system keeps you chasing more
- Not all legends have been ported
- Several maps are still missing at launch
- Can be a bit overwhelming for new players
- Takes up a lot of phone storage space
Rating (out of 10): 8
Apex Legends Mobile launches Tuesday, May 17 on Android and iOS.