Fortnite is a survival-action video game, available on PC, console and mobile, that has been enthusiastically received by teens and tweens. The game has two modes: a solo mode entitled ‘Save the World’ and the popular multiplayer mode called ‘Battle Royale’. The game features a strong level of cartoon and gun violence. The non-mobile version game is not recommended for players below the age of 13 due to its online chat feature, which could expose younger players to offensive language or mature content from random strangers. However, the mobile version may offer a tween-friendly alternative to violent first-person shooters with possible developmental value through its emphasis on teamwork and strategic thinking.
Fortnite: Battle Royale, the multiplayer version, is the most popular form of the game and is free to download. Although originally developed for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac, it is now also available on iOS and Android.
A typical multiplayer game features 100 players in solo, duo, or up to four-player squads competing to survive in a shrinking map. Popularly described as ‘Call of Duty’ for children, the game features cartoon violence with players using guns to eliminate other players. The visual style is bright and friendly with no portrayal of blood.
While there isn't any profanity in the game dialogue, its online nature could expose younger players to offensive language or content from anonymous strangers invoice or on-screen text chat. Although free to play, the game encourages players to make additional in-game purchases to acquire cosmetic items, objects, and celebratory animations.
When each match only lasts 20 minutes, it's tempting to play ‘just one more’ match. For some children, it may be necessary to set limits on how many hours or matches they are allowed to play per day.
There are three modes of play in Battle Royale: Solo, Duo, and Squad. In Solo mode, you play the game as an individual. In Duo, you're playing with a partner. In Squad mode, you play on a team of four. Duos and Squads can either be friends who choose to play together or randomly matched. The game has cross-platform functionality, which means a mobile player can play on a team with a console or Windows player, for example.
After joining the map, players can collect weapons and build safe structures, and must avoid in-game storms that damage all players outside of a safe zone. Each match in Battle Royale lasts about 20 minutes, although players who are killed early play for less time.
Chat is currently unavailable in the mobile version of the game. However, the console and PC versions of Fortnite: Battle Royale allows for live, unmoderated chat through voice chat and on-screen text chat. This may expose players to random strangers and possible profanity. To turn off voice chat in Fortnite: Battle Royale, access the Settings menu from the top right of the main Fortnite page. Select the Audio tab at the top of the screen and change the voice chat setting by tapping the arrows.
With parental guidance to ensure well-balanced gameplay times, Fortnite: Battle Royale can be a tween-friendly alternative to violent first-person shooters. Parents are advised to take advantage of the game’s short match times by using them as a natural stopping point in gameplay. To cultivate a healthy balanced lifestyle, some children may benefit from playing a limited number of matches per day. Due to the online chat feature, the PC and console versions of the game are not recommended for players below the age of 13.