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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Fallout Shelter - A vertical dissection of Vault management

I'm playing Fallout Shelter as I'm typing, and so I must start this short review on a pozitive note, because this little gem of a game is amazingly addicting. So what is it about? You play as the Vault overseer, which means you get to take care of your custom built Vault. You name it, built modules of rooms with different purposes, like power plants, water treatment, residences and cafeterias, welcome in dwellers to protect them from the harsh Wasteland, and give them each a job. Now, how do you play Fallout Shelter? It's simple, you just click on stuff, mostly. But the hardest part is the management. Money (or Caps) don't come easy, and you need money to grow your Vault bigger, deeper.
Upgrading rooms, building new ones as you progress, and keeping dwellers alive is a tricky thing, all while you're given tempting tasks to achieve, tasks that come with awesome loot or lots of caps. Also, you'll send some of the best dwellers out in the Wasteland, and the longer they scavenge out there, the more and better loot they bring, consisting of guns, outfits and caps. Guns and outfits can be used to outfit your Vault residents with, or sold, but they're not very expensive. The game gets progressively harder, as enemies get nastier, more agressive. Dwellers will die, and as they lie there on the floor, keeping an occupied spot in your Vault, you can either choose to simply remove them, or make the caps to revive them, and the higher level they are, the more expensive the revive, so you have to keep them safe if you want that dream Vault. About that, your first layout will surely suck, but don't dwell on it... After a hard while, you'll manage to slowly rearrange it the way you want, if you've got the caps for it, of course.
 
And so we march in the gloomy territory of free-to-play market. Fallout Shelter can be played without spending a dime on the small amount of in-game microtransactions, which is fair. The downside is that you have to pretty much have to grind, and sometimes it can get a bit frustrating. Especially when the game ups the difficulty so you can grind some more. There's no real end-state to the game, unless all of your dwellers die and you don't have the caps to revive any of them, maybe? I don't know, it's very hard to be that bad at this game. And even then, maybe you can still buy Lunchboxes, for some of them contain caps among other cool and exclusive stuff. Lunchboxes being one of the two items you can purchase with real money, the other being a brand new Mr. Handy, a robot you can place on any floor to help collecting resources, deal with pests and other shenanigans happening, or they can be sent out in the Wasteland. I do find them a bit steep-priced for some little things in a little game. Other than that, it's probably one of the most enjoyable games on mobile platforms. However, while the iOS version is very optimized, the Android version really depends on the specs of your device. For the average tablet - and I'd recommend a tablet, - the game stutters and crashes very often. But when it works, in short bursts, it's a neat experience. I would love to play it on PC as well.
 
 
I don't know if Fallout Shelter can level up your management skills, or teach you the value of money, but I had a lot of fun with it, and that's why I recommend it.