The big takeaway from playing Fallout Shelter should probably be that you can slap this theme onto just about anything and it immediately becomes 50 per cent more fun. If this is the beginning of Bethesda spreading this IP around a little more, then we’re on board. We’ll lap up the Fallout card games, Fallout racers and Fallout FIFAs if that’s what’s on the way. We imagine they’ll be just as much fun as this is, even if they too aren’t all that deep of an experience.
At its core, this is a resource management game. You’re looking after your energy, water and food supplies as well as managing your people. It’s a balancing act that can be easily achieved and maintained, but that alone doesn’t really tell you what this is all about. If that was the only thing you were chasing, this wouldn’t be much of a game at all. What you’re really after is all those unlockables and fan-service nods. Keeping the dwellers happy, watered and fed is all well and good, but with the 21 special dwellers to find, 90 outfits, and 139 weapons hidden in the game, the real prize is to get them all. But you have to keep reaching.
So you’re invited to deliberately imbalance your community for the promise of a little more. You set up your dwellers to have kids because population milestones bring new rooms. You build training facilities for better efficiency. And you’ll send your dwellers out into the wastes with nothing but a pop-gun and a couple of stimpaks for the promise of a few extra bottle caps and perhaps a new outfit. There’s risk and reward to be had, but it’s the kind of reward fans can appreciate more than anyone else can.
The rest of the game’s appeal comes largely from the things it doesn’t attempt to do. There’s no requests to rate the app, in-app purchases are present, but offer no gargantuan gain that can’t be attained by time rather than money, and it’s not constantly pestering you for attention. Leave your Vault alone for a few hours and you might need to spend a little time getting your resources back up, but nothing too untoward will have happened. Everything will be waiting for you.
So what’s the downside of all this? It’s really not all that deep of a game. There’s not a massive variety of rooms, you can’t really interact with your dwellers much and while being Overseer of a Vault makes for a good title, it doesn’t have much of the sinister side to it that makes Fallout’s Overseer position so interesting. What we’re getting at is there’s not much space for classic simulation sadism here. It’s all happiness and accumulation, which is fine and pleasant, but not gripping.
- Platform: iOS / Android
- ORIGIN: USA
- PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks
- DEVELOPER: Bethesda Game Studios
- PRICE: Free
- RELEASE: Out now
- PLAYERS: 1
- ONLINE REVIEWED: N/A