In its quest to take a little something from every popular game that gets in its way, March in PUBG Mobile sees VR hit Beat Saber get some in-game representation. Unofficially, of course. The move is nothing new for Tencent’s mobile Battle Royale. It’s always borrowing, taking inspiration from, and otherwise cloning other video game fads. There’s no immediate reason to fire up the app and try out the diluted VR phenomenon. After all, it’s not even in VR at all. Not unless you get creative by strapping your phone to your face and rig up a way to have your arm swings register as screen taps, at least.
PUBG Mobile‘s new Beat Saber clone wasn’t developed without justification. The Battle Royale title is celebrating its third anniversary this month, and the Hundred Rhythms theme just so happens to be based around the beats. Featuring new music from artists like Alesso and Lost Frequencies, in-game events (and even a new mode) are all centered around sound, and adding the ability to chop up blocks flung at you in time with a unique track plays a part in the fun.
As for the legality of it, it’s far from the peak Beat Saber experience. For one, it’s only available for a limited time. You can’t choose the track, you can’t import your own, and you certainly won’t feel the health benefits of flailing your arms and dodging highspeed walls by just tapping your thumbs. If anything, it’s closer to that old TapTap Revenge iOS app in terms of gameplay, only imitating the general look and feel of Beat Saber as a means of modern recognition. You’re not even hitting the blocks with sabers, but guitars instead. Is that a nod to the Guitar Hero franchise that played a huge part in growing the music rhythm genre in the mid-00s? The possibility is certainly there. If a stick is your saber, a guitar is your ax.
There are two ways to play the Beat Saber clone during the third anniversary event. Either find the festival stages dotted around Erangel on Classic mode or hop straight into Cheer Park from the main menu. The latter is by far the best way to experience it. You can’t expect 100 battle royale contestants to leave you alone while you shred lyrical cubes on a global stage. They’re going to slaughter you. The possibility of dying for the cause certainly adds a degree of tension—you dance like your life depends on it—but risking your Season 18 rank for nothing doesn’t make any sense.
Instead, hit up Cheer Park, climb onto the rocket stages on either side of the spawn point, and interact with the speakers to trigger the countdown. Park yourself on one of the outer platforms and you’ll be prompted to play the game. Then it’s just a matter of tapping the left, right, or both action buttons to swipe at the cubes that come your way. You’ll get a rank based on your hit percentage at the end, but that’s about it. The minute-long cooldown to try again, though, really sucks the fun out of it.
This is far from the first time PUBG Mobile has taken cues from other popular games. Most of the Arena maps are heavily inspired by FPS hits like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Counter-Strike. In China, they even had a mode that echoed the popular murder mystery game Among Us. Since PUBG pioneered the Battle Royale genre that’s since spawned countless copycats, the give and take only seems far. Having Beat Saber show up in some way isn’t a surprise. It isn’t the first time, and it definitely won’t be the last. Where’s our PUBG Mobile CCG? What about Auto Chess? A MOBA? They may have missed the boat now, but they were probably brought up in meetings at one point or another.
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