E3 was an exciting week for many reasons. The show began with Bethesda’s press conference and while Fallout 4 was amazing, one of the more unexpected surprises was the fact that Bethesda’s team had made a mobile game. Not only that, it would be released by the end of the night.
That game was Fallout Shelter, a X-Com like base building simulator. That sounds like a lot of complicated terms, but the game is overall, very simple. You build rooms within the vault and they generate resources in which your vault dwellers run off of. You need power, water, and food. The more people you gather, the better buildings you can build.
The general gameplay consists of just pressing on the rooms you built to collect their resources. It’s similar to other energy games in that sense, but there’s no paying in order to speed up the timers. You also manage where your workers are placed. They each have a set of stats and can work better in other buildings than others. This also affects their happiness, which in turns can make them produce resources faster. So it all loops around on itself.
Getting more dwellers though, is a little weird. Most of it involves mating your workers. It seems innocuous at first, but then you realize you’re just keeping the same guy there and rotating in female dwellers. It’s a bit surreal to say the least. Unfortunately once the women get pregnant they become hysterical when things go wrong in the fault, which doesn’t make any sense. They can still work and collect resources, so why not help solve problems? Against, really weird choice.
Speaking of problems in the vault, there are a few things that can happen in order to make your time exploring the vault a bit more interesting. You’ll have to deal fires, radroach infestations, and raider attacks. They’re all fairly easy to take care of if you know what you’re doing and the consequences of failing to take care of them aren’t that dire. If a vault dweller dies you can just revive them by paying some caps – the money system in the Fallout universe.
You can also send out your stronger dwellers to explore the wasteland. This allows them to collect weapons, outfits, and more money. The longer you leave them out there, the better items and more money they’ll bring back. If they die, you pay some caps to revive them and so on. The weapons help when fighting radroaches or raiders, as well as the survivability of your dwellers out in the wasteland. Outfits increase stats so the dwellers produce resources faster.
This all may sound like a lot of explaining for what’s really a simple game. Most of the systems are easy to understand and since you don’t have to pay for much you can just check in whenever you want and play for about five minutes.
In terms of not paying for much, the game is free to download and for the most part, free to play. You can access everything in the game without paying. There are vault lunchboxes that carry extra bonuses that you can pay for, but you also get them for free by completing certain tasks the game gives you. Kind of like achievements that mean something.
Overall the game is fun, but it lacks any kind of endgame content. Once you get all the rooms there’s nothing else to work towards. So after maybe a week of occasional play you’ll feel finished with it. Which for a game I didn’t have to pay anything for is pretty amazing. If you have an iPhone, this game is definitely worth a look.
(An Android port is on its way, no word on an exact release date though)