August 19, 2015

Let's Talk About Fallout Shelter

Oh hello there. Sorry if I seem a bit distracted. I'm just.... OH WAIT, THERE'S A FIRE IN MY PURIFIER AGAIN! So sorry about this. I've just been playing Fallout Shelter. A lot. Like, a dangerous amount of time. I'm pretty sure I haven't left the house in at least a week. Or was that a month? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Fallout Shelter is the Fallout game nobody knew they wanted until it was actually made and handed to us on day one of E3 by the mighty Todd Howard. Let's talk about it!

Fallout Shelter is not like any other Fallout game.

Rather it is a simple management simulator. Instead of the usual exploration, combat, and interactions with a fabulous and imaginative post apocalypse, Fallout Shelter takes place in a single place: One of the Vaults. Sounds boring, doesn't it? The hook is that the Vault is actually YOUR Vault. Yes, my friends, Fallout Shelter thrusts players into the role of Overseer of an entire Vault. You are given (almost) free reign in construction, placement, and acceptance of Dwellers into your Vault, giving them jobs and even sending them out into the Wasteland. Accomplishing certain tasks will grant you currency with which you may expand the Vault further and further underground and upgrade your facilities. But this game is inherently deceptive; It looks like a little innocent mobile game, but in reality this thing is pure evil. And I'm not just talking about its ability to consume entire hours of your time.

For starters, you can't do anything you want, truly. The Vault needs to follow a certain layout or it's doomed to fail. Within this layout, you need to make sure there are rooms for gather the three core resources of water, energy, and food. Get too little electricity and other rooms lose power, becoming useless. Lose food, and your dwellers start to starve to death. Running out of water is easily the worst of them, as your Dwellers are forced to drink irradiated slop, and I don't think I should have to tell why that's bad. So you need to strike a balance between these three things, managing your population and allocating individuals with the right SPECIAL stats to the right stations to maximize efficiency. But then there's also the danger of Raiders, so you're going to need weapons. The only reliable way to get weapons is to send people out into the Wasteland, but without weapons in the first place there's a really good chance they'll die. Good SPECIAL stats help in this regard, but until you can build training rooms, the chances you'll get a real good Dweller are entirely on the Lunchboxes.

The Lunchboxes are the game's form of premium currency. While you can earn Lunchboxes occasionally by completing challenges, Lunchboxes can be purchased with real money. And the rewards you get from Lunchboxes are utterly tantalizing. First Lunchbox I ever opened had A STAR PALADIN CROSS AND A FAT MAN. I'm not saying the game is Pay2Win, and there's not like something you can pay for to increase your chances of success in finding stuff or reduce the time it takes for dwellers to complete tasks, but the temptation is still there, regardless. I for one have avoided the temptation so far, but who knows for how long? I might just go for it now that my Vault has been wiped out for the third damn time.

And that's what it really comes down too. This game is deceptively brutal. The Vault will randomly run into issues; If you're lucky, it will be an easily manageable low damage fire. Strangely, a fire is absolutely nothing compared to RADROACHES. Yes, radroaches. The weakest enemy in Fallout's history, and still technically the weakest here, are absolute bastards who will tear apart your young inexperienced Dwellers like they were Cazadores. At first it's not so bad, but the infestations scale with your population and room numbers, so if you're particularly unlucky, the Radroaches will strike in a room that has nobody with guns in it and you'll need to quickly and carefully shift everybody around to deal with the problem. Because if you don't contain the Radroaches to one room, they start to multiply exponentially in ALL YOUR OTHER ROOMS. I lost a Vault this way. TO RADROACHES. My next Vault got utterly wiped out by a glitch. all the Molerats but one got killed... And it just wouldn't die. So it kept multiplying. It is actually because of that damn Molerat that I am free from Fallout Shelter long enough to write this damn review.

In conclusion, I believe Fallout Shelter is an excellent Fallout flavored waiting tool for Fallout 4. However, I also maintain that it is not for people that don't like being leashed to the damn thing. Fallout Shelter is effectively Fallout Tamagotchis (Does anyone remember Tamagotchis?); You become obsessed, hard-wired, to constantly inspect and maintain the Vault, even when there's nothing at all to do. Play at your own risk, people. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go for a walk... With my phone.

See how-to Play Fallout Shelter on PC and MAC! You can see how it all looks below - the preview video of Fallout Shelter on PC

Article by Henry Lombardi
See previous Let's Talk About Fallout by Henry: Let's Talk About Fallout 4's Trailer

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4