Fallout Shelter

Fallout Shelter

Welcome to the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland!

Fallout Shelter is a spin-off game for the IOS and Android developed by the renowned developer of the Fallout series of games for the PC and consoles, Bethesda. You take the role as the Overseer of a post-apocalyptic shelter called a "vault". Your main objectives is to manage the Vault's resources, protect the dwellers, and attend to their needs. The game can be played offline, has no intrusive ads, and best of all, entirely free.

The game takes place in the Fallout series' 1950-sque post-nuclear apocalypse era where survivors have to get by whatever small amount of resources available in the wasteland, risk contamination from irradiated waters, and fend themselves off against horribly disfigured mutations and even fellow humans who turned into raiding and cannibalism. Fortunate survivors were able to weather the nuclear storm by living in self-sufficient subterranean shelters called Vaults. In the game, you'll be able to manage three of such vaults.

As the Overseer, you have all the powers and decision-making how to run your Vault and take care of the dwellers. This gameplay may seem to be Sims-like but in Fallout Shelter, you'll just need to manage three resources: Power, Food, and Water. These resources can be obtained by building specific rooms and placing Dwellers inside to make them work. The time it takes to generate resources depends on several factors such as the number of Dwellers working on it, their individual stats, the Vault's happiness level, and if the resource room is upgraded.

Power is needed to keep the rooms functional. As you add more rooms, the power requirement increases. Same goes with Food and Water. As your Vault's population grows, these two resources will plummet quicker. Not managing these resources will greatly affect your Vault's functions and your Dwellers' overall happiness. Placing rooms beside one another will allow them to merge into a larger room with larger dweller capacity and resource generation. You can combine up to three rooms, and upgrade them up to three times as well. Additionally, you can "Rush" rooms. This is when you work up the room to generate resources ahead of its scheduled turnaround time. Rushing rooms have a certain percentage of failure, which will often lead to an incident like fires and surprise invasions from Radroaches or Mole Rats. Successful rushing not only gives you the full amount of resources immediately, but it also gives additional bottlecaps (money) and experience to every dweller working in the room.

In addition to resources, there will be occasional "incidents" that will threaten your dwellers. There will be pillaging attempts from wasteland Raiders, fires breaking out, Radroaches or pesky Mole Rats burrowing out from the floor, and if you're unlucky, a visit from the walking claws of death called the Deathclaws. The only way to protect your denizens against these threats is by equipping them weapons. These valuable guns can be acquired by opening Lunchboxes (premium containers you can buy or get from completing mission objectives) or by sending some of your Dwellers to explore the wasteland.

There are two ways of increasing your vault's population. One is by reproduction and the other one is inviting Dwellers from outside. Reproduction can be done in your Vault's Living Quaters (this room also handles the Vault's maximum population) by placing a male and female dweller. The higher their Charisma attribute, the faster they'll hook up and make love. After a few seconds of love making, the female dweller will emerge pregnant. It will take three hours for her child to be born, and another three hours for that child to grow up to an adult. However, pregnant dwellers can still work normally, especially in resource rooms. However, they'll flee and hide in the nearest living quaters whenever an incident occurs. That said, it's never a good idea to have a lot of pregnant dwellers at once. Next, you can set up a Radio room that will allow you to broadcast to the wasteland in hopes of a dweller to come and settle in your Vault.

Now we can talk about the different attributes each dweller has. This is known in the game as S.P.E.C.I.A.L which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Each of this attribute determines which room or "job" the dweller is proficient in. Strength is needed for Power Generators and Nuclear Reactors, Perception is for Water rooms, Endurance for survivability in Exploration and Nuka Cola Bottler, Charisma for the Living Quarters and Radio Room, Intelligence for Medbay and Science Lab, Agility for Diner and Garden, and finally Luck for Exploration and increased chance to earn bottlecaps (currency in the game) or success in "Rushing" rooms. There are special training rooms where you can train dwellers and increase their stats. Training requires no resources but you'll be taking off the dweller from doing any jobs until the training is finished so consider doing this when you have a high dweller population that can sustain your Vault's functions.

There are also Legendary dwellers that you can get from Lunchboxes or show up randomly outside your Vaults in response to your Radio signals. These unique dwellers have 40 stat points distributed in their attributes and will come their signature gear and weapon. These are very powerful Dwellers that can do almost any job where you need them to be.

Exploring the wasteland is the best way to get extra caps, new gear and weapons to arm your dwellers so make sure send someone with a fairly good level, with good weapons and gear, as well as an ample amount of Stimpaks and Radaways. The longer they explore, the better the items they'll find. However, don't let them stay too long with too little HP or without healing items left. If a exploring dweller dies in the wasteland, you can spend bottlecaps to revive him/her. Take note that the time for exploring dweller to return to your vault is half the time he/she spent outside in the wasteland.

Once you get your basics down, running the Vault won't be as simple as you wanted it to be. Minor miscalculations like overpopulation or not having enough people to run your resource rooms can lead to resource shortages. There are also incidents that can catch you off guard, like infestation of Radroaches and Molerats. Dwellers without weapons will engage these creatures by hand and you have to watch their health since they'll quickly die without stimpaks backing them. If you're quite unlucky, you may even suffer several incidents in a short span of time (fires, raiders invading, infestations) that may leave several of your dwellers dead. You can revive them or remove them since surviving dwellers working on a room with corpses will literally affect their happiness and productivity. Fortunately, incidents don't seem to happen when the game is not running though you have to watch our for your resources as well.

Fallout Shelter's premise sounds simple but it does require careful planning and consideration. You can consider your vault to be stable once you have several fully upgraded resource rooms with armed dwellers that can fend off for themselves, high stock of stimpaks and radaways, with several other dwellers out on exploration. The game also offers a lot of daily objectives that can give you more caps and even lunchboxes when completed.

The game's visuals is appealing and the 50's era sounds and sound effects perfectly captures the series' setting perfectly. You can appreciate the detail if you zoom in individual rooms. The controls are responsive though as your vault expands to several rooms, you may encounter a bit of lag here and there but not bad enough to crash your game. There are also minor bugs like the inability to drag pregnant women to work rooms or a dweller's health bar permanently hovering over his/her head but they can be conveniently solved by just returning to the main menu and loading the Vault again.

Again, the game is entirely free, without those annoying ads or the need for constant internet connectivity. One of the problems that new players may encounter is installing the game itself, even when they have a stable, good internet connection. That happened to me so I resorted downloading the (legit) copy of the game manually as APK, with the helpful instructions from Reddit. I won't give the link here so kindly use Google to find it instead. The only microtransaction offered in the game is where you can buy lunchboxes but again, this is entirely optional. You can get lunchboxes by completing daily objectives, and you can progress in the game if you wanted to play entirely cost-free.

For Fallout fans, this is a game that you must have in your mobile game library. Most of its features takes a lot of time to complete (training, exploration, pregnancy, reaching adulthood, etc) so you don't have to focus on the game and just check your vault once in a while daily. Manage your vault carefully and enjoy playing god in the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland!

4.8 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Aug 17th 2015

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