This review was delayed because as the original post was coming together, they released the Survival Mode update, and it was back to square one. Awesome, awesome square one. So, the Fallout series is, without hyperbole, one of the best gaming franchises ever created. Even with the few hiccoughs this series has had (Fallout Tactics, Fallout: Brotherhood), it remains one of the most well realized and established science fiction settings and game worlds. So, in the annals of Fallout, where does Fallout Shelter fit? Truth be told? Anywhere. And it works.
Fallout Shelter has established itself in the same area that was pioneered by games like Tiny Tower and its immediate knockoffs. In this game, you are the all seeing, all controlling Overseer, building a functional or not so functional vault for survivors and their offspring. The game has two difficulty settings, “normal” and “survival”, the latter of which was the major component of the new release. The main differences between the levels of difficulty are thus. In normal, Dwellers are revivable if they die (for a price in caps), and arrive at the vault at level one and unarmed. In survival mode, Dwellers who die stay dead, and arrive at the vault at level one and armed with a light weapon. Vault creation and management is much quicker in normal, and much slower and more deliberate in survival.
So how does the game stack up? The version played for this review is the Android release, played on a Nexus 5.
The graphics of the game are far from cutting edge, but they’re clean, easy to look at, and maintain the well established aesthetics of the Fallout universe, albeit in a cartoonish style.
There are literally hours and hours of fun in this game, as you conduct your vault as you see fit.
The controls for this game are by touch exclusively, and can be a bit twitchy. This can be frustrating at times, especially when dealing with attacks.
The game is free, with optional in game purchases, that are actually optional.
As your dwellers arrive at the vault, they have a number of shades that will satisfy most players, and the facial features are the generic and simplified.
This was my test vault, played without in game purchases in normal mode. This didn’t work out so well. A lot of dwellers died, and a lot of lessons were learned. The main one being that the lunchbox packs of item cards are fickle, and that without firearms, your dwellers don’t stand a chance.
Vault 573 was my pay vault. I spent about $20 on Mr. Handy units and some lunchboxes, and reaped the benefits. I got two sets of power armour, and a variety of medium to heavy weapons that gave me the edge in both defense and wasteland exploration. This vault has since hit its maximum capacity of 200 dwellers, and shown the horror that is never-ending pregnancy for dwellers when the population maximum is reached.
The survival mode vault, this vault is many hours into development without purchases, and still a long way from being stable. A raider attack following several fires lead to some fatalities, and my initial population of 15 only had two females, so keeping them alive became an instant priority. The vault is limping towards stability now though, thanks to a timely find of a rusty assault rifle and rusty combat shotgun.