Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks is a free game for Xbox One and Windows 10. There are micro-transactions to boost in-game productivity, but they are optional.
Fallout Shelter starts with your creating a new “Vault”. A random number is selected, but you may choose your own. I quite liked the number selected for me. So off I went to create “Vault 306”.
Vaults need power, so the first thing you do is build a power room. This room acts as a generator, giving power to other rooms to allow them to provide their function.
But rooms need “dwellers” to operate. Fortunately, dwellers are lining up to live in your vault. The next step is to assign 1 or more dwellers to a room. Each dweller has stats representing what they are particularly good (or not so good) at. These stats will help you determine how good each dweller will be in a particular position in your vault.
Double-clicking on a room (or pressing “A”) allows you to view more details on that room. If you need some dwellers to crank out some resources, you can put them into “rush mode”.
Caps, the coin of the vault
Rooms and vault improvements take “caps”, which are the in-game currency. Rooms can be upgraded to become more productive at the expense of caps.
Once you have built the main rooms, you’ll need to keep an eye on your resources. Rooms take power. Dwellers need food and water. As Overseer, you are in charge of providing for the dwellers’ basic needs.
When a dweller gets low on food, they lose health. When a dweller gets low on water, they become irradiated.
Weapons and Outfits
If you want to survive the outbreaks and occasional raider break-in, you will need some weapons. Weapons are found in lunchboxes, from exploring, or completing quests. Similarly, outfits provide boosts to stats or added armor protection. These keep your dwellers looking good and staying alive.
You can equip dwellers with supplies (outfits, weapons) and send them out into the wasteland to explore. This is a risk, as dwellers might not make it back. But their findings can be useful for improving the vault. Explorers also earn XP while they survive the wasteland.
If a Rush fails, or sometimes just at random, a disaster can occur. During a disaster, dwellers will attempt to fix the problem. Dwellers lose health as they fight the disaster and can be killed. As Overseer, you can send dwellers into and out of disaster zones. But the disasters can spread if not tended to.
Disasters include fires, creature infestations and more.
Dwellers earn XP as they fix disasters, complete rushes, explore the wasteland. XP improves their stats and their ability to perform their tasks.
As you play Fallout Shelter, in game “challenges” will pop up and require you to meet certain criteria to complete them. These criteria may be to manufacture a certain amount of water or to level up a dweller.
Prizes for each challenge completed include caps and the all important lunchbox.
Fallout Shelter lunchboxes have “cards” that have rewards. You might received a card that is 500 free caps, or a shotgun weapon. Cards make the game easier. You want cards! Bethesda wants you to want cards. That’s why Bethesda will sell you lunchboxes for real-life money. They are micro-transactions. You don’t need to spend real money, but Bethesda will let you if you want to.
Most of Fallout Shelter is a superficial management of the dwellers tasks. But quests offer more variety, allowing you to control the actions of the dwellers in combat. It doesn’t amount to much more than choosing who shoots who, but your dwellers’ lives depend on those decisions.
Quests, and the locations found during exploration, are a pleasant change of pace from the mundanities of water treatment and power generation. You can find some good loot on these missions, but you might not live to return it to the vault.
In addition to lunchboxes, you might occasionally be rewarded with a “pet carrier”. This allows you to bring a new companion to the vault. Pets are assigned to dwellers the same way that outfits and weapons are. They boost stats to your dwellers.
At some point, potential vault dwellers won’t be knocking on your door. That means you will need to make your own dwellers. If you assign a male and a female to a living space, and if they like each other, they will produce offspring. Yeah, just like real-life.
Vault-Tec has chosen “you” to be an overseer of a vault. As overseer you are responsible for the day to day goings on in your vault. It’s your duty to take care of your vault’s “dwellers”, aka inhabitants. Each day you will be rated on your performance as overseer.
One of the greatest features of the Xbox video game ecosystem is the “Play Anywhere” feature. In select titles labeled Play Anywhere, players may start their game on an Xbox One and resume on a Windows 10 PC, or vise-versa. The game saves are cross platform. The feature benefits those who have a “home base” for gaming on a TV, but also want to play some on the go with a portable PC.
I have a desktop PC in my garage, sometimes I’ll play Killer Instinct (another Play Anywhere title) out there to enjoy a break from the noise of the household.
Fallout Shelter utilizes Play Anywhere, so I was able to test this on an older PC, a Surface Pro 2 running Windows 10. The SP2 isn’t a slouch of a computer, but it’s a far cry from a gaming rig. It’s several years old and it’s a tablet. Still, the Play Anywhere feature worked perfectly, and the game runs fluidly, thanks to the simplistic graphics. This was a brilliant choice by Bethesda. It allows the game to be played on a plethora of devices including android and iOS, despite the lack of the Play Anywhere feature.
God bless and game on!