“This is radio free wasteland and we’re bringing you the TRUTH! no matter how bad it hurts!
Right off the bat I’d like to apologize to anyone who may have been inadvertently struck by this giant nostalgia boner I’ve been trying to control all week, it seems to have a mind of its own. I can’t help it though, after this past e3; its like someone gathered all the Dragon balls and made a wish for an E3 that didn’t suck. Mass Effect Andromeda, Just Cause 3, Kingdom Hearts 3, Fallout 4, The Last Guardian, THPS 5, Final Fantasy VII. FINAL FREAKING FANTASTY VII!
One of the most interesting things to come from e3 might be Bethesda’s foray into mobile gaming with Fallout Shelter. An original Fallout game released for iOS in an attempt to placate the masses and stem any rioting until the release of Fallout 4 later this year. Clearly I downloaded it and played it, otherwise what would be the point of this article? So lets dive in!
In essence, Fallout Shelter is a combination of resource management and building games like Tiny Tower or Farmville, and part real-time strategy game like FTL. You are the Overseer of your vault and as such it is your responsibility to expand and maintain your vault, protect it from danger, and manage the happiness of your Vault Dweller.
Any fan of the Fallout series will know that every vault encountered has usually fallen victim to some sort of crazed science or psychological experiment. In Fallout Shelter, that experiment is having Dwellers survive the rule of an Overseer with telekinetic powers who forces his citizens to have sex and constructs a vault made out of balsa wood and paper mache. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
First you must name your vault. Perhaps you choose a number that is sentimental to you, or reminds you of your favorite part of the Fallout series. I chose to name mine Vault 369 because like Lil John & The East Side Boyz, my Vault would get low (down into the earth).
After a little exposition and a brief tutorial, I was let loose to create my utopia. Already I had a line of shlubs lining up outside, waiting to gain entry to my Vault.
Like Bryan Snyder here, everyone who lives in the vault has various stats that are ranked in the classic SPECIAL gauges of Fallout.
The higher ranking in each of the SPECIAL categories corresponds to that dwellers effectiveness in their assigned task. Ol’ Bryan there has very high Agility, despite what the beard might infer, so he is most suited to work in the kitchens of the vault because as we all know, kitchen work requires a lot of flips and shit.
Now that I’ve assigned my first batch of Dwellers to the jobs they were best suited for, I can begin to collect resources maintain food water and electricity, and earn caps to grow my vault. Collecting the resources is as simple as waiting for your Dwellers to finish their work and then reaping the rewards. The amount of a resource produced depends on how many Dwellers you have working in the production room, how good they are at their job, and how much you’ve upgraded that particular room. The resources will not harvest themselves though, if you are not logged in, the room will not create any more electricity/water/food until you’ve logged in and taken what it has finished. It will not spoil or degrade while it waits for you, but to grow your vault you have to keep coming back to the game.
If you are running low on resources, or you are just impatient, you can always attempt to “rush” their production. When you make this attempt you get a view of the risk vs the reward. The reward is a slight bump in production for that round, a few caps and some XP for the dwellers involved. Failing is calculated as the perchance chance of an “Incident” occurring, which manifests itself in the room catching on fire, or radroaches bursting out of the floor and thoroughly fucking everyone up.
As my vault flourished, rumors of this Eden spread across the wasteland, attracting new Dwellers. Apparently Bob Belcher here abandoned his restaurant and family to start over underground.
At the beginning of the game this is the most common and easiest way to grow your vault population. As your population increases you unlock rooms to add to your vault. Some rooms, like the Science Lab where you can make Rad Away, are production rooms; rooms like the Weight Room can train a Dweller and increase their Stats; special rooms like the Radio Room, attract new Dwellers from the wasteland at a higher rate.
All new rooms and upgrades require caps, which are earned in a few ways. Each time a Dweller levels up they throw a few caps your way, rushing production rewards caps as well. The easiest way to keep the caps flowing in is to complete the daily challenges, which can involve anything as simple as arming a dweller or collecting X amount of resources, to something insane like putting out 12 fires or having 8 babies. Each successful completion will award caps and then be replaced with a new challenge.
Occasionally a challenge will reward you with a lunchbox full of Fallout Cards. These are easily the most exciting because besides rewarding you with a resource or caps, a card can also contain a powerful weapon, an outfit with boosted stats or even a new Dweller from one of the fallout games.
Any challenge with a lunchbox reward should be completed quickly early on in the game, as it increases your chance of survival. Survival from what? From Raiders of course!
Raids seem to happen randomly during the game and having your strongest Dwellers equipped with your best weapon is your only hope of survival. Unless you upgrade your vault door early on, Raiders can bust through it by yelling mean things at it until its feelings are hurt enough to open up. Once inside the raiders begin to wail on your Dwellers until they die, but even worse, they steal your resources. I say even worse because death is not permanent in Fallout Shelter, just pay a few caps and your Dweller pops up good as new. The resources raiders take however cannot be recouped, and if you were low on food to begin with it can spell doom for your vault.
Outside of earning them through challenges, the only way to get gear is either have someone join your vault who is already equipped, or to send one of your Dwellers out into the wasteland to scavenge.
I sent Wayne Snyder here to a presumably unceremonious death by equipping him with a rusty rifle and ragdolling him out the door. Predictably, he is less than enthused.
Surprisingly he managed to survive for 2 hours of scavenging, and even found a few items before I called him back to the Vault. As your Dweller gets stronger and you begin to produce Med Kits and Rad Away, you can leave your Dweller out for longer. The longer they are out, the better equipment they will find. My current record is 17 hours of scavenging.
I couldn’t just wait around and hope that some wanderer would stumble across my vault and demand access; I needed a population boom! So, as Overseer I did what I thought was necessary, I lifted up two of my Dwellers who were in the middle of important work and ragdolled their limp bodies into a bedroom and locked the door.
The dwellers I chose knew what was at stake here. Either indulge my demand for babies and voyeurism or face the perils of the wasteland. So after some nervous small talk and dancing, they fled behind a wall and ejaculated smiley faces everywhere.
The deed having been done, they emerged; Henry and his Worf mustache being rather pleased with himself, and Nicole plodding along behind him making pointless demands.
Three hours later Nicole gave birth to a disappointment named Dookie Johnson. Seriously, look at their faces; if it weren’t for the survival of the Vault, they would leave him for the Bloat Flies.
That’s pretty much the gist of Fallout Shelter. Being as new as it is, it still has some bugs to work out. The game I played on an iPad to collect these images crashed several times. I’d also like to see the ability to change the function of a room because some rooms cannot be destroyed because they link 2 rooms together, so it just takes up space being unimportant. It is clearly designed to keep you coming back, but if you turn off notifications, ignoring it will do no harm. While the game is free-2-play, you can purchase lunch boxes to try to get more weapons, outfits and Dwellers. This is not a necessity though and won’t ruin your Fallout experience. I purchased a few and the items I received were of worse quality then the one I got from completing challenges. I can see getting bored with this after a while and one day simply leaving Vault 369 forever, but for the moment it is a fun and welcome distraction while I await Fallout 4 and can take to the wasteland one again.