Fallout Shelter Reviews

AuthorReview
Titanium Dragon
78,427
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 143
Posted on 06 April 17 at 01:14
This review has 3 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Fallout Shelter is a waiting game/simulation game based on the Fallout verse. You are the overseer of a vault, and it is your job to build up your vault and its population, looking after them and protecting them from the dangers of the world around them.

This seems really neat. And honestly, it is a really cool idea, and it is fun for a while. But eventually you realize that the game is an enormous addiction engine, and underneath that addiction, there’s actually not all that much game.

The game seemingly centers itself around your vault – you can build various rooms for various purposes, but the big three are power stations (which provide your rooms with power), water stations (which provide water for everyone), and food stations (which provide food for everyone). You assign vault residents to these rooms in order to produce resources, which are consumed over time. When you log out of the game, these continue to accrue somewhat, though there’s a limit on how much you can accure. You can also rush production in these rooms to gain the benefit immediately, but at the risk of an “incident” occurring.

You start out the game with 8-12 people who wander up to your vault, and you can produce more people via three main methods – sending people out to wander the wasteland looking for survivors, building radio stations in your vault to call out to people outside… or, your residents can make babies with each other. If you send a man and a woman to quarters, after a while the woman will end up pregnant; four hours later, she pops out a baby, and four hours after that, the baby becomes an adult. The game doesn’t allow inbreeding, so you have to figure out how to manage your family lines a little, though honestly it wasn’t much of an issue.

Each vault dweller has a set of seven stats – the same SPECIAL stats from Fallout – Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Sadly, the game doesn’t really explain what these stats do at all; while it is obvious that they are tied to the function of rooms (making them produce faster), beyond that it is pretty mysterious what they do, doubly so as most of your vault residents will have low stats. As it turns out, they do have some influence on combat and other things.

While I said that the game seemingly revolves around your vault, what it actually revolves around after a while is quests – you can send someone out on a quest into the wasteland, and after waiting X amount of time, they’ll go encounter some place. You move them from room to room, with them auto-attacking anything inside, and them auto-attacking back – it isn’t very interactive, though you can use stim packs to boost your health (something you can produce in your vault, and which I quickly maxed out on – turns out, they’re really useful to be able to spam endlessly). As you explore these places, you find stuff lying around you can bring back to your base.

You can also just send someone out to wander around the wasteland aimlessly, hoping to find stuff; this is kind of marginal, but it gradually does accumulate stuff (especially if you have high luck).

The problem, ultimately, is that the game’s interaction ends up almost entirely becoming busywork. While building up your vault is sort of interesting, after a while it becomes obvious that there’s a fairly simple optimal strategy to it, and after that point, it sort of becomes rote. While rushing stuff in the early game is an easy way to quickly build up xp, later on you start encountering worse disasters from it which discourages it a bit – which is probably a good thing, because it ultimately becomes a lot of busywork. But the problem is that most of the game consists on clicking on rooms to gather resources from them and otherwise engaging in a lot of micromanagement as you move around people to make babies or set up equipment on them or whatever else.

Once you realize that the cute veneer is just a layer over a pretty Pavlovian addiction engine, it frankly loses its charm. I really liked the idea of this game, but ultimately it is the mechanics of it which killed it for me.

Which is interesting, because a lot of people complained about microtransactions, but I never saw much value in them. Seems like it would sort of defeat the point of the game.

All in all, this is pretty, but ephemeral; you might enjoy messing around with it for a bit, but after you’ve done a few quests, there’s really nothing more to see here.
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