It's like a fastfood pancake: same round structure, flatter and quicker.
January 12, 2018 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Play free fast-paced web-based survive-o-shooter, and answer the question: what if runaway gaming sensation Plunkbat (aka PUBG, aka Battlegrounds) lost a dimension and three fourths of its round length and all of its pretty graphics?

The product of several months (ongoing) work, it's a nice distillation of the basic structure of Plunkbat as a minimalist circles-running-around-with-rounded-sticks demake with about 1/3000th the player base (and yet still seemingly always enough to keep the matchmaking pretty quick).

If you know Plunkbat, you know the basics well enough; if you don't know Plunkbat, maybe give the link in the post a quick read. If you prefer not to: you and a bunch of other internet randos spawn on a map, look for weapons and kit, and try to be the person who is not dead at the end of a round.

A long round in is about six minutes. A short round is often about five or ten seconds. Punch those crates and try and find something to use, or in a pinch punch the guy with a gun already and hope he's a lousy shot!

Some notes from playing around with it, particular for what's mechanically different from actual Plunkbat:
- the 2x, 4x, etc "scopes" affect how wide your view is when you're outdoors; you don't have to attach them to guns or anything.
- no parachuting, you just spawn at a random position
- there's a full screen option that makes it much easier to not click outside the browser window and thus leave yourself not-playing
posted by cortex (47 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Oh dang it, cortex. The only thing keeping me from becoming totally obsessed with PUBG is the fact that my only gaming console is a PS4. I already watch two separate groups of other people play on a regular basis. This is going to fill in nicely until the real deal gets ported over.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:33 AM on January 12

I can get behind this game. It's low stakes and I'm not going to be as terrified of fucking up as I am when I play a game like pubg. This is so much less stressful.
posted by Fizz at 9:33 AM on January 12

it keeps telling me that it "failed to join server". poo
posted by numaner at 9:40 AM on January 12

I died.
posted by gwint at 9:45 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

which should be the official Battle Royale motto I guess
posted by gwint at 9:45 AM on January 12 [3 favorites]

"Plunkbat" was cute the first time Rock Paper Shotgun wrote it and got increasingly irritating each time after that. I don't like the coinage, and prefer "Battlegrounds" or "PUB-G," but it's really funny to read RPS comments where you can hear their writers' teeth grinding over their dislike of the house abbreviation.

All that aside, this browser version of the game seems cool.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:49 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

I died.
posted by gwint at 12:45 PM on January 12 [+] [!]

which should be the official Battle Royale motto I guess
posted by gwint at 12:45 PM on January 12 [+] [!]

That's more of a Dark Souls thing. ;-)
posted by Fizz at 9:51 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]

I came in third! And my heart's pounding so hard I think I need to lie down.
posted by theodolite at 10:10 AM on January 12

The implementation of the scopes is really clever. I had the 8x in my last game, and it is so fun to track someone who can't see you.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:25 AM on January 12

Just finished in fifth place. If you recently spent about five seconds in ludicrous face-to-face combat with very large, powerful rapid-fire guns before either of us hit anything, congratulations, you're the guy who killed me.
posted by ardgedee at 10:35 AM on January 12

This also reminds me that I'm going to have to dredge up a trackball from storage if I want to play this twice because the trackpad is all kinds of not a good tool for the game.
posted by ardgedee at 10:37 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

I was trying to get work done today. Curses!
posted by BungaDunga at 10:44 AM on January 12

I love the way the 2x scope works.
posted by Nelson at 11:03 AM on January 12

The 8x is a real gamechanger. I got to the final circle with little in the way of weaponry (or skill), and man my heart is racing now.
posted by rollick at 11:04 AM on January 12

I'm Cratepunch in case we ever kill each other.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:16 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]

Came in 3rd, almost pooped my pants.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:23 AM on January 12

I was playing as Waffle Squat earlier, and I think I'll roll with that when I get back on later.
posted by ardgedee at 11:45 AM on January 12

Serpentine! Serpentine! Oh poop.
posted by PandaMomentum at 12:04 PM on January 12

Made it to the top 5, and ran completely out of ammo. With the 4x, I was able to avoid encounters until the final final circle, with one other player. All I could do was bob and weave and try to lay punches on them. They were using the shotgun, which is slow and unwieldy at close quarters, so I almost had it. It was an exhilarating experience, even just from a narrative perspective. I guess it goes to show the power of the idea and the design.
posted by rollick at 12:12 PM on January 12

This is too addictive.
posted by Damienmce at 12:45 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

Hilariously you're completely invisible under 2 overlapping trees.
posted by xiw at 1:45 PM on January 12

Hilariously you're completely invisible under 2 overlapping trees.

This is what I've been doing. Running to the edge of the map, hiding between trees, waiting for the field to clear, scavenging weapons, then coming third.
posted by Damienmce at 1:47 PM on January 12

At this point I enjoy these quick .io games more than AAA titles. More serious than the crud of mobile games, but less of a commitment than AAA titles. is almost the same as this FPP. is my current favorite.

TagPro is an old (but still very populated) veteran of the style. Capture the Flag with circles.
posted by matrixclown at 1:53 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

"Plunkbat" was cute the first time Rock Paper Shotgun wrote it and got increasingly irritating each time after that. I don't like the coinage, and prefer "Battlegrounds" or "PUB-G," but it's really funny to read RPS comments where you can hear their writers' teeth grinding over their dislike of the house abbreviation.

I'm glad you said it. I too was into "Plunkbat" at first but man did it get irritating fast. This just highlights the fact that there has never been a greater chasm between the popularity of a game and the quality of its title. If you're going to give your popular game a dumb name at least make it one that shortens well, like CS:GO or DOTA or LoL.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:54 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

Plunkbat is unambiguously the correct and best name for the game. All else is madness.
posted by cortex at 2:55 PM on January 12 [5 favorites]

I saw you, mefite playing as "plate of beans".
posted by cozenedindigo at 3:27 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]

If "plunkbat" bothers you it's probably time to stop playing plunkbat.
posted by fleacircus at 4:45 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

wtf how do I use heals in this game?
posted by ardgedee at 5:19 PM on January 12

Click on the icons, ardgedee.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:54 PM on January 12

Made it to third place, but my D key stopped working, so I couldn't move right anymore and the blue red got me :(
posted by Rock Steady at 6:38 PM on January 12

Right. Figured it out. Thanks.

Made it to 3rd place once with a 4x scope. That was pretty good.

Did you know there's a 15x scope? I got to pick it up and use it for, like... i dunno, two seconds? Just enough time for a full, glorious zoom-out before somebody whacked me because I was basically a love-tap away from death.
posted by ardgedee at 6:52 PM on January 12

Also figured out that, basically, whenever you find pills or soda, consume them the moment it's safe to. It's highly unlikely you'll live long enough for the effects to wear off anyway.
posted by ardgedee at 6:53 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

This also reminds me of why I try to avoid PC games these days. That five minutes of gameplay took about an hour and three quarters, according to the wall clock.
posted by ardgedee at 6:55 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

I suspect part of why matchmaking is so fast is that the game launches once there's an arbitrarily defined population available for a room (I'm guessing around 25, based on watching players drop in and scientifically pulling a number out of my butt), and will add latecomers into that room until it fills rather than making them wait for then next one. This way the queue is able to drain almost as rapidly as it fills: When there's more than 25(-ish) people ready to play, generate a new room; less than that, drop them into the most recently-generated rooms that are less than n seconds old and have slots available.

The lag starts getting very, very bad if there are more than half a dozen armed players on the screen simultaneously.
posted by ardgedee at 7:14 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

I keep coming back to this in spare minutes at work. It works well as a little mental break. The quick dip in and out, and the impersonal transience of success or failure. It's also stressful enough that I don't feel that same unpleasant addictive numbness that other rinky web games give me after a while -- I just know when I've had my fill and duck out.
posted by rollick at 9:52 AM on January 15

Yeah, it has such a light-weight pick-up-and-play quality to it.
posted by cortex at 11:49 AM on January 15

8X scope is a huge, huge, advantage.
posted by Mitheral at 1:57 PM on January 16

Finally my cunning strategy of Fabian tactics+light machine gun+the good shotgun+let others pick off the main guy=victory!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:26 PM on January 16

idk I find the 8x scope can really hurt me in the closer in fights, easy to overcorrect and miss I guess. Does adrenaline do anything other than a drip of healing?
posted by Carillon at 1:29 PM on January 17

You can use your scroll wheel to "zoom in" to a tighter view when you have a scope.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:43 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

More specifically, you can scroll through the various scopes you have. So if you only find an 8x, you can scroll to toggle between full 1x zoom and the wide wide 8x view, but if you pick up a 2x and 4x along the way as well you can step through the zooms at a more granular level.
posted by cortex at 4:00 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

And they have started rolling out squad support! Just duos so far. You can in principle form a team deliberately, using a team-creation link, but you can also just do pickup games with randos. Those have not gone very well so far in terms of team work, for me! They've gone fairly well for a couple of teams I've been murdered by though.
posted by cortex at 8:45 AM on January 18

Does team mode provide for friendly fire? Because aiming is hard and anybody who's my teammate is going to be endangered by me more than anybody else on the field.
posted by ardgedee at 9:13 AM on January 18

Honestly I didn't do enough duos to figure that out, such was the disorienting madness. I thiiiink maybe no? I do know I definitely struck a teammate more than once and didn't actually kill anyone; I'm pretty sure I punched a teammate several times (we were dogpiling another player) without appreciably harming them.
posted by cortex at 10:31 AM on January 18

If you want to try a duo match with me, I'll be around at 11am (or so) Eastern US time today...
posted by Rock Steady at 6:09 AM on January 19

I think there is friendly fire in duos. There's no way that I can see of communicating with your partner, which gives me more anxiety about accidentally fucking up an obligation than I really want out of this game, so I'm sticking to singles for now.
posted by rollick at 11:10 AM on January 23

AFAICT, there's no FF in doubles. But I think your partner will take the punch instead of the box if you line it up poorly while you both go for the same box.

A few basic strategies:

1. General play priorities 1. healing 2. acquisition of equipment 3. combat against solo players and other easy marks 4. Never start a fight with someone equally equipped or better, if at all possible.
2. spread the wealth; two people firing one gun each is better than one partner with two guns. Right click an item to drop it.
3. Mid game, ambushes can be a pretty sweet trick. Find a pair of bushes or trees and a health kit in the open. You'll be obscured and their movement will be predictable.
4. Lead your opponent. Bullets have non-negligable travel time so aim for where your opponent is moving to.
5. Zigzag when in combat. You'll take a hit or two crossing their sights, but it's better than the alternative -- a machine gun truing up their aim.
6. Use the full map ('g') to see where the warehouses are, and be prepared for a fight. On spawn check your map for the nearest one and start heading over. You'll eventually develop a feel for how much equipment you need to bring to win based on time on map; early on nobody has ammo to shoot with, but pretty quickly the fights over the goodies escalate and all you really need to do is be the last one to that party.
7. Don't interrupt a fight in progress, let each side wear the other down as much as possible before you slay the victor. The loot will still be there after you shoot them up =)
8. Grenades go over crates and rocks but not anything with an "inside."
9. Pirate boxes and soviet supply drops tend to have stronger gear. If you find one, you'll be in strong shape for a game winning run =)
10. Ricochets can be an effective way of shooting around corners. They especially make shipping containers lethal to stay inside of, as any shot into one will likely ricochet into the resident's face.
11. Wander away from the circle at first -- that loot will never come back into the system, so getting an unfair share of that will be to your advantage. You move faster without a weapon drawn so you can generally race from anywhere to the circle without dying, although your opponents might impede you.
12. Beware of fists. They're surprisingly effective close range.
posted by pwnguin at 7:09 PM on February 10

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