Fall­out Shel­ter

EDGE - - GAMES - Pub­lisher Bethesda Soft­works Devel­oper In-house (Bethesda Game Stu­dios) For­mat iOS Re­lease Out now

iOS

There’s a sin­gle mo­ment of joy in Fall­out Shel­ter. It comes right at the be­gin­ning, hav­ing freshly in­stalled the game, when you rel­ish the prospect of de­sign­ing and main­tain­ing your very own bunker. Give it a day or two, how­ever, and you’ll feel like walk­ing out into the wilder­ness and never re­turn­ing.

The ini­tial rush of in­hab­i­tants, bot­tle caps and re­ward-stuffed lunch boxes will slow the wan­ing of that ini­tial smile, but pretty soon Fall­out Shel­ter re­veals it­self to be lit­tle more than a re­skinned Tiny Tower, and a par­tic­u­larly in­ces­sant one at that. Start­ing with a vault door, a lift shaft and some ba­sic liv­ing quar­ters, you must ex­pand your com­pound while main­tain­ing the hap­pi­ness and health of those in your care.

Hav­ing enough to eat and drink, as well as not be­ing ir­ra­di­ated, are all sources of cheer for dwellers, but they also pre­fer roles that suit their SPE­CIAL stat makeup. Some­one with a high Agility rat­ing is well-suited to work­ing in the cafe­te­ria, for ex­am­ple, while those full of Charisma are best as­signed to a ra­dio stu­dio. The lat­ter at­tribute also af­fects how quickly a cou­ple are likely to pro­cre­ate when placed in liv­ing quar­ters to­gether – one of a hand­ful of ways to in­crease the pop­u­la­tion of your shel­ter, and un­lock new room types.

With only a few charges in your care, the brit­tle il­lu­sion of per­son­al­ity is main­tained, but as soon as the pop­u­la­tion starts to spi­ral, you’ll quickly for­get any af­fec­tion and view ev­ery­one as a re­source. Ad­mit­tedly, so did Vault-Tec, but here peo­ple are dully re­duced to a means to fill me­ters, and you’ll regularly be pestered to dip in and tap rooms in or­der to keep power, wa­ter, food and meds topped up. Fall­out Shel­ter’s one in­no­va­tion within F2P con­ven­tion seems to be that you can rush a room for free and chance dis­as­ter for the pay­off of nearin­stant pro­duc­tion. Fail, how­ever, and you’ll have to deal with a fire or, il­log­i­cally, a Radroach in­fes­ta­tion.

There are also raiders to deal with, who’ll need to be quickly struck down be­cause pro­duc­tion ceases dur­ing an at­tack. While squishy at first, all vi­o­lent threats es­ca­late quickly, soon need­ing bullet af­ter bullet be­fore they’ll fall. These en­coun­ters were a good op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce some game­play into Fall­out Shel­ter, but your in­flu­ence only goes as far as arm­ing dwellers and mov­ing them to the room they need to de­fend.

Iron­i­cally, send­ing dwellers out into the waste­land is the most en­ter­tain­ing the game gets, if only for the haul of good­ies and the logs that doc­u­ment their ad­ven­tures. The wait for them to re­turn is less thrilling, but it says much that read­ing those logs will make you pine to be out there with those brave few who can ven­ture be­yond the ad­min­is­tra­tive pur­ga­tory of the vault.

You’ll spend a lot of time tap­ping on rooms and peo­ple, but there’s lit­tle else to do. While there are some fa­mil­iar vis­ual notes, it’s just wall­pa­per over the de­fault free-to-play spread­sheet tripe that plagues the App Store

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