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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Fallout Shelter – An honest review

Fallout Shelter is a resource management/builder mobile game developed by Bethesda and released on 14th June 2015 on Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC platforms. The population has moved into underground vaults, in order to escape the nuclear death that stalks their every move in the wasteland. You are put in charge of your very own vault and most lead your people to success. Bethesda has taken the incredibly popular Fallout franchise and crafted an interesting, addictive free to play game and one which I’m pleased to say hasn’t gone mad with microtransactions. If you have played any Fallout game you will recognise the art style and tongue in cheek humor straight away.

Fallout Shelter is a game of tradeoffs, forward thinking and management

Your sole aim is to expand and nurture your vault which includes resource management, skill training right down to the mundane such as storage rooms and living quarters. Your every decision is one of tradeoffs, forward thinking and management. As you expand, you will want to consider if your food production, water and power will be sufficient to sustain growth in other areas.

Producing resources and building/upgrading rooms is the main gameplay loop but there are some other slightly more engaging activities to dive into. You can send your dwellers out into the wasteland to scavenge for supplies, or send them out on specific quests. This is about as interactive Fallout Shelter gets outside of reassigning dwellers to different rooms within your vault. Be warned your vault can be attacked by anything from a group of raiders to the super tough (and dangerous) Deathclaws, who will run rampant around your vault attacking and attempting to kill anything that moves. Make sure you can protect yourself while out questing or at home in your vault.

Dwellers can be healed using medpacks but in case they do get killed, you can revive them using caps. For this reason alone I always like to keep some caps in the piggy bank, for those surprise attacks I was not prepared for early on. As you grow things get far easier, which is a little strange as most games get harder as you progress.

The questing mechanic is fairly basic from start to end but can provide you with some decent rewards. They do progress into quests that offer a little more excitement and challenge, but not by much. This is one of the reasons why I can only recommend this game as a little time waster, rather than something you should invest a lot of your time into. It simply doesn’t have enough choices, options outside of go into this room and kill this group, talk to this person etc.

Send you dwellers out into the wasteland to find recipes, caps, weapons and outfits

You can send your dwellers out into the wasteland to scavenge for much needed crafting materials and along the way you will find crafting blueprints, outfits, weapons and more. Reward wise this is very similar to the questing system but instead fully automated apart from sending them out and calling them back home. You select your dwellers outfit, weapons and medical supplies but this is as far as preparation goes. The longer he explores the more loot will be found. You have no control over what your dwellers do in the wasteland. You simply send them out and call them back when you want. How you equip your dweller will influence how successful they are. Never forget to give them plenty of medkits, radaway and a competent weapon as there is no shortage of threats.

A true example of optional microtransactions that have virtually no impact on F2P players

Whenever we hear free to play as gamers we begin to cower as we know all too well how microtransactions can ruin a game. Fallout Shelter has to my surprise implemented a very reasonable model in respect to microtransactions. You can purchase lunch boxes which are very similar to loot boxes in other games. You get 5 random rewards. I have never purchased a single lunchbox in Fallout Shelter but have earned over 20 just by completing quests and achievements. You can also purchase Nuka Cola which allows you to speed up/skip various processes such as crafting, travelling or training SPECIAL skills. Again I have received plenty of Nuka Cola simply by playing the game. I am not a big fan of Bethesda, but I will always give them recognition when it is deserved and this is one of those situations.

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