Bethesda had their first-ever E3 conference this year, and during it they announced Fallout Shelter. They announced its release the same day, something we all dream about when first hearing about a new game. There is something haunting about letting big AAA games move into the mobile scene or putting other non-game-related franchises on the mobile for that quick fix of cash–as it so often turns out to be. The time has now come for Fallout to enter the field of mobile games with their tower building simulator, Fallout Shelter.
Fallout Shelter is by far the best looking tower (bunker) building game out on a mobile platform. The colors and art style follow that of Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 (as far as we know)–a stylized vision of the future inspired by 50s scifi. There are a lot of colors and everything looks very smooth. They have also made the different rooms zoomable, something which I have always found kind of lacking in these type of games. Fallout Shelter makes it easy to zoom in with just a click on the room, and the game even looks better when only viewing a room. Plus, you get to see small details you otherwise wouldn’t see.
The core concept of Fallout Shelter is the same as all other tower-building games, bu this time you are building vaults downward into a mountain. You have different rooms providing everything from food, water, medkits and weapons to the vault, and while food, water and electricity are all stuff you need to have above a certain level so the vault can continue to prosper. The others are necessary for survival, too. But aside from this pure building and managing aspect (which is the core of the game), there are both smaller and larger additions to the game. One of the smaller additions is that your vault inhabitants can move behind a whole for some love making, and out comes a pregnant lady (and later on, a baby). The baby she delivers will, of course, grow up and be a worker in your vault, making getting new people to the vault an extra task instead of just waiting for more to come.
When it comes to the larger genre contributions Fallout Shelter brings to the table, Fallout brings itself. The Fallout look and feel is what makes this game unique–a Fallout game and not just a game about building vaults.
There are two things which stand out here. The first: exploring the wasteland. You can (at any point) drag a Vault Dweller out into the wasteland instead of placing it in a room, which will bring up a menu where you can equip them with armor and weapons (if you have some), then send them on their way to explore the wasteland, a place where they can gather equipment and bottle caps. While they are away exploring, there will be a very detailed log which you can read about their adventure–about who they encounter, what damage is given and taken from enemies, what they find, and where they go. This makes for a great and enjoyable read while waiting for the vault to produce materials. But it also adds an extra strategical thing to think about, since the time it takes for them to come back is half the time they have been gone. I have so many times let my explorers out at night and then woken up with them dead or barley alive. Lucky enough, they can be revived if you have the bottle caps to pay for it.
The second addition which also follows the Fallout concept of life and death in this harsh post-apocalyptic environment is that your vault can be attacked by other gangs. While you tend to your business, there will be raids (a little too often), and you will have to defend it. So while you might want to equip your explorers with the best weapons and amor, you will need to find a balance here on how much you might need to defend your vault and how much you want to defend the explorers.
Bottle caps makes life easier
Like almost all free mobile games out there, the developers have to make money at some point. Fallout Shelter is no exception. Everything you do in the game will cost you bottle caps, and if you don’t have enough you can always buy some for real money, or play the waiting game and get bottle caps without paying for them yourself. While the time you will have put into the game to play it for free still is not justifiable, Bethesda are on the way of making a suitable payment vs time system for this kind of a game. The bottle caps are not that expensive and they come in quite large quantities, and the time to get them without paying is a lot faster than any of its competitors.
If you are looking for a great mobile game to play when you are waiting for something else in real life (like Fallout 4), Fallout Shelter is the perfect time consumer. If you liked games like SimTower or Tiny Tower\Tiny Tower: Death Star, you will surely like this one, since it does the same thing, but a little more fun and a lot better looking. While it never reaches the same depth SimTower can manage, it still demands your attention from times, and you need to use your head to make the vault run. And, most importantly, if you are a Fallout fan craving for more of its post apocalyptic world, this will scratch your itch until Fallout 4 is released.
+ Great aesthetics and graphics
+ Fallout feeling
+ Payment system is better than its competitors
– Still has a lot of waiting…
– …If you are not paying for it
– Still not a new SimTower