Fallout: Shelter Steam Review

Fallout: Shelter is a game that recently got a port released on Steam, is it still worth your time and effort?

By UletheVee4, Posted 22 Apr 2017

When Fallout: Shelter got announced as a sort of promotion for Fallout 4, I really thought nothing of it. I was sure it was going to be Bethesda's attempt to get into the mobile market by shoving microtransactions in, and a sort of FarmVille clone, judging by the previews. It didn't help that in the same year I reviewed Candy Crush: Soda Saga. So I skipped it and awaited the release of Fallout 4 proper instead. Some people started bringing it back to me, saying that it was a great game and I have been getting this urge to try it out myself, but when I came around to it, my phone app kept crashing past the title screen. I literally ran out of options and thought i wouldn't be able to experience this title. However, a few weeks ago, Fallout: Shelter got released as a Free-to-Play game on Steam and, to my surprise, I also found out that the PC version has been around for quite a number of months now. Thus, one wonders, is this spin-off worth your time and effort? Let's find out.

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One of the things that sticks out the most is that Fallout: Shelter continues to focus on the RPG attributes the series is known for, despite being a micromanagement simulator. It is important that you, as an Overseer of the vault you're put in charge of, assign the right dwellers to the right places based on attributes such as Strength, Intelligence, Agility, Endurance, Charisma and Perception. Specific rooms require a dominant stat in order to function at full capacity. For example, assigning Dwellers with 6 points of Strength to a Power Plant will make them produce the electricity resource faster than a Dweller with major perception.

While the Vault you're put in charge of starts small, it gets bigger and bigger as more Dwellers join you, allowing you to create more rooms to accommodate the Dwellers, but also more workplaces for them to be productive. You can also do other sorts of things besides production work like making them raise their stats with what I call "Stat Buildings" (i.e.  Academies, Game Rooms, etc.), or assign a male and female dweller to a Living Quarters room, so that they get to talk, have a fun Saturday Night and get pregnant, to get even more child dwellers that will raise the population of your Vault. One thing's for certain, growth is important in Fallout: Shelter, as more dwellers arriving to your vault means having more and more stuff to do. Between leveling your dwellers up, delivering babies and giving them names or other kinds of odd jobs, the game certainly isn't going to bore you to tears.

Overseers that feel bold enough, can also RUSH their vault rooms. RUSHing a room basically means taking a chance at producing resources in a room instantly. The more RUSHes you perform in a room, the more chances that RUSH will produce an incident, which go from the room catching fire,  requiring dwellers to extinguish it, to the worst case scenario of having a Feral Ghoul Invasion, which can sap away your Dweller's health in no time. Incidents also happen on their own, from time to time. You will hear that annoying alarm noise every 15 or so minutes warning you of a Raider Attack, a Radscorpion attack and it will always sap your resources while badly hurting your Dwellers. So you certainly need to be prepared with those Stimpaks and Radaways to heal Dwellers and keep them in top shape.  On top of that, equipping them with weapons and outfits to raise their stats so they can do production work and  deal with threats faster is also something to consider.

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You can, at any time, send Dwellers out into the Wasteland, where they will attempt to find items, caps and other sorts of goodies in the period of time you assign them. Whether it being 20 minutes or 20 hours, the more time your Dwellers spend time outside, the more goodies you will find. However, it will also take them longer to come back, and if they aren't prepared, they will be eaten alive. Thus, being careful about the supplies you give to your Dwellers is recommended.

Dwellers can be sent on quests once you build an Overseer room, which basically becomes the point where the game starts to develop even further. Once you send Dwellers on a quest, they will take a preset amount of time to go from point A to point B. The places quests take place in include factories, other Vaults and houses. The layout and gameplay remains the same. You click on a room to go there, and combat is resolved automatically. Imagine a fight in Fallout 4 performed purely by AI. Enemies and dwellers will take turns to attack one another in the funniest version of pot shots I have ever seen in my life, because they keep a smile on their face all the time. You will also get a rare chance of activating this game's version of VATS, which gives you the capability to perform damage multipliers on your enemies. The foes you’ll encounter are all familiar faces like Raiders, Mole Rats, Radroaches, Radscorpions, Feral Ghouls and Deathclaws. The game certainly won't forgive a sloppily created team or a non-supplied one, because you can't pick up items while in battle. If you didn't pack some Stimpaks or Radaway to deal with the incoming radiation damage then you are going to have a bad day. Of course, you can revive your dwellers by paying caps, and the game has put me in instances of entering a quest with 27 Stimpaks and leaving with only 4.

There are two currencies in Fallout: Shelter, those being, Nuka Cola Quantum and Caps. You will get a shot to get more of both with basic card packs that come in Lunch Boxes, Starter Packs or Dog Carriers (which carry pets that offer a slight boost at certain tasks like faster crafting times). Nuka-Cola  makes certain processes faster, namely waiting times like sending dwellers to quests so they can instantly reach the location, raise a stat faster or craft themes for your rooms (don’t think too much of it though, they are just cosmetic) . Nuka Cola Quantum bottles initially seemed to be premium currency and a lead to a paywall. But that isn’t the case and much rather, it is a resource you can use sparingly to decrease waiting times if you're impatient.  In fact, sometimes quests even give you more bottles of Nuka Cola Quantum so you can get access to themes or level up your Dweller's stats faster.

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You can also get a chance by getting the Lunchboxes, which will include such things as rare or Legendary weapons and items, Dwellers and other sorts of stuff to give a positive boost to your Vault. However, once again, these are items that are given in some quests (Heck some quests are themed around Lunchboxes as well!). You are also given a lunchbox when your performance in 7 days is considered B+ or higher by your superiors, some quests may have even Lunchboxes and/or Nuka Cola Quantum bottles without the player being told that they are going to get them, an example being one where I set out to just get a few weapons and ended up with schematic parts, legendary junk pieces and 6 bottles of Nuka Cola Quantum. One of my preferred quests is GameShow Gauntlet, a weekly quest that tests your general knowledge of the Fallout franchise with trivia about characters and settings across all games. It definitely is a great way to stay active, and definitely the microtransactions are for that kind of person who just can't sit through waiting times or to grow their Vault over a "long" period of time.

In the end, Fallout: Shelter is good for what it sets out to do. It’s a great time waster and it certainly will hook you with its visuals and presentation. The gameplay is certainly interesting as well because it goes beyond the line of duty to bring a fun experience for Fallout fans to have. Its microtransactions are not a paywall, but rather a means to make the gameplay faster. While I would much rather not have microtransactions at all, it definitely didn’t go out of its way to impede me from having a good time.

Javier Ulises, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios, Behaviour Interactive
Genres: Simulation
Themes: Construction, Management
Release Date: 2016-07-14

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