New modes slip in and out of Fortnite at an incredible pace. There’s been everything from dance battles to jewel heists. Then, before you know it, they’re gone. These limited-time modes, or LTMs as developer Epic calls them, are often fun experiments that don’t necessarily say much about the direction of the game as a whole. But I hope that isn’t the case with food fight, which debuted yesterday. It’s a wonderful new team battle that emphasizes all of the best parts of Fortnite, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in the game in a long time.
Epic has actually been teasing food fight for some time. There have been Twitter polls and tiny changes to the map that emphasized a grudge between the fast food chains Durr Burger and Pizza Pit. In the game’s fiction — yes, Fortnite has a fiction — these chains don’t like each other much. Before food fight kicked off, I even stumbled across two food trucks directly opposite each other, as if a war was about to break out.
It turned out to be the perfect tease because war is the best way to describe food fight. Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each match, a huge, indestructible wall divides the island in half. On either side of the wall is a giant mascot head representing each chain. Your job, as part of a team of 12, is to spend those precious early moments building a defensive structure around your mascot. Then, once the wall goes down, both teams need to destroy the other’s fast-food icon. Also, everyone wears a hamburger or tomato mask to denote which team they’re on.
There’s an incredible moment in each match when the wall lowers, and you can finally see just what your opponent has built. With 12 people working together, I’ve seen some pretty wild creations, including spiraling towers, massive launch ramps, and even secondary bases to provide cover at multiple points on the map. That feeling of awe doesn’t last long, though: immediately after the barrier drops, all hell breaks loose.
The best way I can describe the actual battle portion of food fight is frantic. It’s a constant scramble to keep rebuilding your defenses, take out invading players, and also worry about destroying their mascot. What’s great about it, though, is that the mode puts equal emphasis on the two sides of Fortnite: building and shooting. You have no choice but to do both in order to win. The size of the mode also feels perfect. With 24 people, it’s big enough that it really feels like a huge battle, but it’s also small enough that it still feels like you’re contributing, even if you’re not an amazing Fortnite player. Also important: unlike most Fortnite modes, you quickly respawn in food fight, which makes it possible to play a bit more daringly than if you only had one life.
Alongside the new mode, the most recent Fortnite patch also introduced turrets. I’ve heard people complain that they’re overpowered for use in the main battle royale mode, but in food fight, they feel completely necessary. In fact, in almost every match I’ve played so far, as soon as the wall goes down a volley of turret fire is sent in both directions, immediately destroying much of what players worked so hard to build. One of my favorite things to do is glide over to the other team’s base, sneak into an unmanned turret, and completely obliterate all of my surroundings. There’s a fantastic tension between creation and destruction that has me absolutely hooked.
What makes food fight work so well is that it still feels quintessentially Fortnite, but in a way that’s very different from battle royale, or really any LTM that’s come before it. It strikes a near-perfect balance between building and shooting that Epic has often struggled to achieve in other modes. Really, the only problem is that it probably won’t be around much longer.