Fallout Shelter’s 8th Anniversary
The year 2015 was a pretty huge deal for Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 4 was on the way, and it seemed no matter where you looked, ads were being plugged for its release. The fever was real; people could not wait to get their hands on the next vault dweller adventure. This is probably why on the 14th of June 2015, Bethesda dropped its mobile game Fallout Shelter. This year, Fallout Shelter turns eight — so it’s now old enough to stay up past 7PM but not old enough to watch anything on TV that late. The game utilises cross-saving, meaning that you can play the same save file on your phone, tablet, or Xbox; it is your choice. Though, for some reason, you cannot share your save between iOS, Android, and PC — which, if you like the game, is a bummer.
In Fallout Shelter, players are tasked with building a new vault — which requires the in-game currency known as “Caps”. In order to be successful in this endeavour, you would need to make sure your vault dwellers have enough resources to survive. Managing your Power, Food, and Water is a big part of the gameplay. As you expand, building your vault ever deeper into the earth, you will need more and more resources, as well as dwellers, to run the place. When new randomly generated dwellers show up at your door, you can rename them and assign them any weapons and armour/clothes you may have. Though the game is mostly a resource sim, combat does play a minor role. Occasionally, raiders or worse will try breaking into your vault, your dwellers will defend the place, but sections may become damaged. To repair busted-up areas or revive dead dwellers, you will need to spend some Caps — or you could just let them stay dead; up to you.
While the game initially took place solely in your vault, later patches added the ability for your dwellers to travel out into the Wasteland on quests. This furthered the combat players could experience in the game; allowing you to assemble a small team to explore a factory or a Super-Duper Mart. You would move through these buildings room by room until your goal was complete, sometimes engaging with creatures or raiders as you did so — be sure to only send your best-equipped people outside.
Alongside resource-generating rooms such as Water Treatment Plants and Power Generators, you can also build Gyms, Lounges, and Classrooms. These other areas allow you to assign a dweller to them, who will then SLOWLY increase their attributes in that area. For example, sending them to school will increase their Intelligence, making them better workers when assigned to a Medbay. There are seven attributes in total: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Fans of the Fallout franchise will recognise this as the S.P.E.C.I.A.L attribute system.
While this all sounds good so far, the next part is not so great. Let me say this, Fallout Shelter is completely free to play and progress. However, there is a microtransaction system for those who want to get ahead faster. This system has you spend real money to acquire: Unique Dwellers, Pets (cats and dogs), Resources, and Mister Handys. You might not think much of the Mister Handys, but they are the most valuable thing on that list. They manage your vault by collecting resources for you, rather than you needing to click on every square manually. This is a common enough idea in mobile games, slowing the progress down and making you wait literally hours or days for things to complete while offering a faster alternative. Even though it is common, I find it to be deplorable — I really wish Bethesda had not taken this route.
With everything mentioned, it can be said that Fallout Shelter is an addicting little slice of the Fallout universe. And can be conveniently stored in your pocket on your mobile device. Personally, I played it on my work breaks to relieve stress several years ago — and I never spent a dime. So if you’ve never given it a shot, why not try it out just to see?
Have you any fond memories of Fallout Shelter? Let us know in the comments section.