Free-to-play (in App Store purchases)
With the impending arrival of Fallout 4, the focus on the series has reached series has reached a fever pitch. During the initial announcement of the game, Bethesda, the publisher, also announced Fallout Shelter, an iOS game that places the player as one of the, “Overseers” in charge of a “Vault”. A Vault, in the Fallout universe, is an underground living space that houses the survivors and their descendants from the ravaged wasteland outside.
Fallout Shelter works a little differently from the mainline Fallout games. Instead of trekking across the remnants of the United States, the player oversees the functions and residents of their own Vault. First, the player must build rooms that will provide power, food, and water, the three resources that are necessary to keep the Vault running.
The Vault is expanded by attracting more outsiders to the Vault, or by having two people with high Charisma mate so that one of them becomes pregnant. Charisma is one of several stats each dweller has that determines what job in the Vault they are most suited for. Should the need arise, you can send out some of your dwellers into the wastes to forage for weapons, armor and other supplies. The end goal of the game is to build a flourishing Vault, by building new rooms, and populating it with as many dwellers as possible.
The game nicely sidesteps many of the pitfalls of the free-to-play type of game. You don’t need to pay money in order to keep playing after a certain duration. Instead, you can pay money to get a, “lunchbox” with four prizes, such as weapons, armor or extra resources. It’s a nice bonus but it is not necessary to play the game.
On the downside, the game really does require a high amount of babysitting, requiring the player to consistently monitor the amount of resources their Vault has. This detracts from convenience and accessibility of the game. Although this doesn’t matter so much later on, it’s still a little bit of a pain.
Final Rating: 8/10