Fallout Shelter Review – Be a leader of the basement-dwellers
Let’s see… a post-nuclear-war world, with radioactive deserts, raiders, human flesh-eating mutants. A calamitous antiutopian picture that hopefully will never become a reality…
It is Fallout at its finest, except it’s not a movie-like shooter but a cartoonish half-simulator, half-strategy drawn in a grotesquely optimistic manner and available for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
This game is amusing, enchanting and highly addictive although it has its own drawbacks and flaws. And here’s my impression from 28-hour marathon spent playing it.
Welcome to the world of tomorrow!
The gameplay of Fallout Shelter revolves around a single mission of yours: to organize and maintain an acceptable life quality in a vault, which allows its inhabitants to survive consequences of a nuclear Armageddon.
Here’s a short but challenging list of your responsibilities:
- Building a vault – your shelter which looks more like a whole underground mini-country needs a number of facilities to let the microscopic community survive. It includes:
- Living Quarters – a place to rest and contemplate the hardships of life.
- Water Treatment Plants – the source of liquid.
- Cafeterias – it’s where the grub is made.
- Power Plant – keeps the whole thing going.
- Other facilities – used mainly to boost certain stats of your loyal munchkins.
- Building up the community. Your people are the core of the vault. They produce the goodies, scavenge for artefacts, learn valuable skills and so forth. In order to keep their number stable/make it bigger you should a) attract new dwellers using an acoustic system b) use a special lunch-box card c) make your subjects copulate. Yes, gross but funny.
- Keep the balance. You can’t afford yourself to have too many people and insufficient food. Furthermore, you can’t have all the necessary facilities built together at the same time – money comes hard. The game in its first stages consists of concessions and fateful choices.
- Organizing work process. To be honest, I felt a bit like a medieval feudal lord while giving my little “serfs” tasks to accomplish. Each munchkin must be assigned a chore which corresponds to his unique “talent”. For example, those with bigger strength are better fighters.
- Fending off attacks. Brutal raiders, ugly radroaches, feral ghouls, deathclaws… They all see your vault the same way a racoon sees a honeycomb.
Your little citizens also have a number of stats which include:
- Charisma, etc.
Each stat improves productivity and can be boosted in special training facilities. For instance, a Classroom increases IQ, the Gym develops strength, the Athletics Room does it with agility, the Bar (ironically) increases charisma etc.
The list of complaints
Although it’s one of the best mobile games I’ve seen so far, it has a number of distinctive and heartbreaking flaws.
Frist of all, there’s no cloud storage synchro. Therefore it’s impossible to start your game with the saved progress on another device. Should something happen to your Galaxy tablet or whatever – that’s it! Despair and grief brought by the fact that you need to start it all from scratch.
The game hypnotizes you in its first stages. You always have to worry about dangers, calculate your moves, determine priorities, and fight off the foes. In other words, you must survive having scarce resources. But once you reach the limits of the population/strength – there will be nothing left to do. No logical ending, no new goals. Alas.
Graphics are amazing! It’s impossible not to fall in love with the old-fashioned art style of the game, based on the 50s comic-book aesthetics. However, animations are too complicated sometimes, which makes the FPS glitchy and consumes a lot of battery charge.
Is it worth a try?
Definitely! I personally spent almost 30 hours at being a dictator of a post-apocalyptic community, and I don’t regret it.
The game is free to get, and what’s even praiseworthy it’s not trying to force you into buying things. It only humbly advertises such stuff as scavenger-robots and advanced launch boxes (up to $120).
Fallout Shelter is a splendid mixture of perfect graphics, black humour and beguiling gameplay in its initial stages. It has some flaws, but they aren’t unfixable. The game isn’t just there yet.