Fallout Shelter is one of the latest games to be highlighted by Apple in the App Store and it is (or was) an Editor’s Choice. The app has very quickly gained popularity and looks like a must-have game for your iPhone or iPad.
The game puts you in charge of building an underground fallout shelter in the future or an alternate world where everything above ground is a radioactive wasteland. People cannot survive for long out in the open and it is up to you to build a place where people can not only survive, but also thrive and multiply. The aim is to build a whole community of underground people living in an underground city.
The shelter consists of rooms and a small number of basic ones are provided at the start. You can build living quarters, a power generator, diner, water treatment, storage, elevator, science lab, and many more. At the start of the game, most rooms are locked and they only become available later on. They also cost money to build, although the currency used is caps – bottle caps. That is an odd choice, but it doesn’t really matter.
People queue up outside the fallout shelter, at least at the start of the game, and they can be picked up and dropped in a room to occupy it. Put a man and a woman in the living quarters and they will talk, dance, and then head off to the bedroom. Some time later the woman appears pregnant. Eventually she will give birth and the community will expand. Kids grow rapidly, perhaps it is the radiation.
Rooms like the diner, water treatment and power generation require special skills and people dropped in there have jobs to perform. Some rooms need people with agility, others need strength, perception or endurance. The characters that inhabit the shelter also have a range of skills and one of the challenges and aims of the game is to match the person with the right skills with the room and job that requires them. Find someone with good endurance and then match them with a room/job that requires endurance for example.
This is a nice idea, but I found that after placing three or four people, the ones left had no special skills at all. The result is that many people end up placed in jobs that don’t suit them. Each person has a happiness score, but it is very easy for them to become unhappy. They look grumpy and bored, and they say so. My fallout shelter people are all miserable and that makes me miserable too.
As you add rooms, they require more power and rooms go dark when there isn’t enough. Power is produced every few minutes and you have to tap the power room to collect it. The same goes for food, which is produced in the diner. Food is produced every few minutes and you tap the room to collect it. Water too. A lot of time in the game is spent waiting for the next power, food or water delivery and then tapping it to collect it.
When the shelter is short of food, water or power, you can rush it. This is sometimes successful, but not always and it can result in fires, roaches and death for your people.
People can be sent out into the wasteland outside of the shelter to explore. If you leave them out too long then they will die, but if you bring them back before they expire, they can find and return with useful items. This is quite interesting and the explorer provides a running commentary of what they are doing and what they have discovered.
Outsiders can raid your shelter and you must protect it, but that must come later as I have not yet experienced it.
The game has lots of great reviews in the App Store with people saying it is the best game ever, the most fun they have had, and how fantastic it is. That has not been my experience. After several days playing, I have got nowhere.
Happiness is at 10% (I don’t think it can go any lower), power, food and water are permanently in the red, rooms are shut down, the inhabitants are miserable, and some have even died. I just don’t find this fun at all. I have tried really hard to like this game, but despite some great graphics and some good game ideas, the result just bores me.
I have completely failed to discover the fun addictive game everyone is talking about. Maybe I am playing it wrong, maybe I need to play longer. I’m not sure I have the patience though.
Title: Fallout Shelter
Developer: Bethesda Softworks LLC
Size: 200 MB
iOS: 7.0 or later
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 21 June 2015