Fallout Shelter for PC review
Fallout Shelter for PC review – Fallout Shelter is a challenging, time-consuming Windows 10 game in which you build and maintain an underground vault that becomes a home to dwellers who have survived the dangers of the nuclear wasteland.
Fallout Shelter for PC review
Fallout Shelter is from the creators of the popular console game Fallout and is available for Windows 10 PC and Xbox One consoles. The free game has plenty of in-app purchase opportunities, and it places you in control of a state-of-the-art, underground vault and its occupants. You begin by maintaining core resource generators and slowly expand the vault’s features by adding medical bays, radio rooms, training rooms and more.
Graphics are outstanding in Fallout Shelter, and the gameplay may be the most challenging we have seen in a city-builder-style game. We’ve already delivered a comprehensive guide to survival for Fallout Shelter, and today we focus on the gaming experience this Windows 10 game offers. It is a fun game, but it does require a level of commitment to have any hope of surviving the dangers of the wasteland.
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When you first launch Fallout Shelter, you are guided through the steps needed to create your first underground vault. The game requires permissions to access your Xbox Live account and gameplay can be synchronized between devices. The initial connection to your Xbox Live account and synchronizing gameplay both require a data connection, but otherwise, the game can function disconnected. This makes it a good option for use on your Windows 10 tablet.
At its core, gameplay with Fallout Shelter is not very different than any other city-builder-style game. You begin with a very modest layout that covers the basics for the vault. This includes a generator, water treatment facility, a diner, living quarters and a secure vault door. These rooms represent the core resources needed to maintain your vault, and production levels for the energy, food and water are displayed at the top of the game screen.
It’s a fun game of trade-offs. Every time it feels like you might be getting ahead, a random raider attack, fire, or radroach invasion has the potential to knock your perfectly planned equilibrium out of whack. It kept me on my toes and kept me coming back, and so did the constant obscure references to Fallout Lore and amusing (albeit sparse) writing. The cheesy lines couples say to one another before obediently heading off-camera to make a baby are a particular highlight.
Unfortunately, the bigger your vault grows, the more this thoughtful balancing act fades away. Fallout Shelter gets easier the bigger your vault is – not harder. It feels backwards. My 150+ population vault has more than 25 people with no job at all, just wandering the floors. I no longer need to optimize my factories, because I have an excess of all resources. My citizens want for nothing, and I have no more buildings to unlock or goals to work towards. I can expand my vault deeper and build a sixth Power Plant or third food-producing Garden, but that would just give me an even bigger resource surplus. Have I won? Is this it?
Fallout Shelter is desperately in need of a set of endgame goals or resource sinks to look forward to and build towards, or else players will see all the game has to show us in around a week of steady play.
The experience feels like a solid and somewhat fun foundation for a deeper and better game that just isn’t here (yet). There are no vault decoration or customization options. No options to trade with other players or trade caravans. There is no need give any thought to the specific positioning of the rooms in your fault, beyond keeping your most essential buildings near your power plant in case of emergencies. There is no need to craft specific items or think about production lines. Any or all of these features would make Fallout Shelter a deeper and more rewarding game in the long term, as we see in similar mobile games, including very casual mobile hits like FarmVille 2: Country Escape and Township.
The trade-off for this super-simple, never-evolving gameplay loop is that Fallout Shelter is extremely accessible. It’s still fun having a burgeoning fallout shelter in your pocket at all times to peek in on. Fallout Shelter also scores some bonus points for the gentle way it asks us to spend money. You can buy packs of cards that supply a random assortment of special citizens, weapons, equipment, or resources, but it never feels essential or forced. Virtually every other gameplay element must be earned the old-fashioned mobile way – by just waiting around.
Fallout Shelter is at its best early on: when your fledgling vault is barely able to scrape by, and every raider attack has the potential to topple your fragile society. Once your vault is firmly established, all fear of losing, and thus the fun, fades away. Combine this with a lack of compelling longterm goals, and you have an experience that’s fun for a few days, but lacks long-term appeal.
Fallout Shelter is a beautifully simple game from a structural point of view. You have a vault. You can build rooms in the vault, and people can do things in the rooms. The vault is just a two-dimensional grid laid out like you’re looking inside an ant farm (except it’s a people farm). Rooms are 1×3 in dimension, elevator shafts (of which you only need one, thankfully) are 1×1, and most rooms can be “merged” – just build the same room type next to it, and it will expand into a 1×6, and you can add one more room next to that for a 1×9. The latter is the maximum size of any room. You keep building and building to advance in the game.
Inside these rooms, you place your vault dwellers, grabbing them Roller Coaster Tycoon style and plucking them up and setting them down where you’d like them to go. What happens in the rooms? Things! Let’s explain the basic mechanics.
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The first mechanic to know is resources. You have power (electricity), water, and food. Those are your necessities. You have a baseline requirement for each of these resources, and you gather them by building rooms that generate them. If you have insufficient power, some of your other rooms will stop functioning. If you have insufficient water or food, your vault dwellers will start losing health over time. The only reason I can tell that water and food are separate resources is that Bethesda felt like there needed to be three things to “balance” production of. You also have caps, which are the currency you use to build and upgrade rooms.
The second mechanic is dwellers. Your vault starts with a few people, and from there you go through a tutorial explaining how to build rooms, which rooms to build, how they work, and how to progress. Here’s the gist: you build your three resource rooms, you assign people to them, and then you also build “living quarters.” Living quarters are where your vault dwellers will produce offspring (the euphemism for sex in Fallout Shelter is a confetti-explosion of happy-faces in front of an obscured corridor in the living quarters), and those offspring eventually become adults, and those adults eventually go on to work in rooms or produce other offspring. The details go beyond that, but we’ll get there.