Fortnite’s return to iOS via GeForce Now feels great

Tech

Fortnite is no longer available on iOS since Apple pulled it from the App Store in August 2020, but I was able to play it again on my iPhone thanks to a closed beta of Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service. While not as seamless as using a native app, this loophole in GeForce Now works a lot better than I expected.

This closed beta lets you play a mobile-optimized version of the game. If you’ve tried Fortnite on iOS or Android, the layout should feel familiar – the experience is well designed for touch, with easy-to-navigate menus and large (albeit finicky) on-screen controls. This GeForce Now version also supports controllers and I’ve played most games with my iPhone connected to my Backbone One.

The graphics aren’t great, but if that means the game runs smoother, I can handle it.

The game feels as responsive as if I were playing on my Nintendo Switch or on my PS5, and I’ve had no issues with latency. Your mileage may of course vary based on your internet connection, and maybe I just got a little lucky. But I never felt that the fact that it was pouring from the cloud hindered my ability to keep up with an intense firefight. Honestly my biggest complaint with playing Fortnite on GeForce Now on my iPhone is that the screen feels too small, and that’s probably because I’m using an iPhone 12 Mini, which I can’t blame the streaming service for.

Until Apple allows the native Fortnite app back in the App Store, Nvidia and Epic Games have found an excellent solution. My only other GeForce Now experience was with encryptionand while that also went very smoothly, that game’s turn-based card mechanics don’t require jerky moves that could be affected by lag. Fortnite is much more action-intensive, requiring quick reflexes and quick thinking, but this touch-optimized version of the game I streamed from GeForce Now plays like it’s installed on my phone.

This was not a sensible place to stop.

That said, it’s unclear when this GeForce Now version will be more widely available. You must request access to the closed beta, and access is not guaranteed, Nvidia says on its website. Also, the beta will only run for a vague “limited time”. But if you want to jump on the newly mirrored one? Fortnite island on your iPhone, you may want to sign up for the closed beta. Sure, you might have to wait a while before you can check it out, but you’ll almost certainly be waiting longer for the native app to come back to the App Store.

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