Oh no, I started playing Fallout Shelter again

Oh no, I started playing Fallout Shelter again

Now, to be clear, Fallout Shelter isn’t a new game. It launched in 2015, and while it started as a mobile release, it’s been subsequently ported to PC and consoles. It’s a bit like a city-builder, just one that takes place mostly underground. You’re the Overseer — a kind of postapocalyptic mayor figure — tasked with not only managing a vault but also expanding it. You’ll have to keep track of the happiness of residents, while ensuring a steady supply of food, water, and electricity. You’ll dig underground to add new dwellings and facilities and fend off attacks from raiders and radroaches. Eventually, you can build things like a radio studio to lure new residents from the surface and go out on quests that play out like very simple dungeon-crawling RPGs.

Shelter works because it offers just enough strategy without being overwhelming. I find myself checking in regularly to make sure production is going smoothly, and I’m constantly thinking about how to grow my little community; right now, I’m anxious to build an outfit workshop so that I can make matching uniforms for each type of job. It’s basically the vibe of Fallout — silly humor mixed with postapocalyptic violence — but in a cute package that looks like a retrofuturistic ant farm. It’s the kind of game you can check in on a few times a day, play for a couple of minutes, and then be done.

The whole gang is here.
Image: Bethesda Softworks

In a smart move, Bethesda gave the game a small update this week, which adds a new questline so that you can recruit characters from the show. It doesn’t make much narrative sense that Walton Goggins’ gunslinging Ghoul is now part of my crew, but it’s nice for someone like me, who is getting back into Shelter entirely because of the show. Plus, Lucy, Maximus, and the rest have some pretty sweet stats and gear.

There are issues with the game. It’s saddled with some free-to-play annoyances, including ads you can watch to unlock premium goodies, along with what are essentially loot boxes full of special items. I’ve found these largely easy to ignore, but your mileage may vary; sometimes it is tempting to spend a little to speed up a quest, which can take hours to complete.

And given that I played Shelter compulsively a few years ago, I already know that there’s a point when your vault becomes massive and unwieldy and there really isn’t much interesting to do anymore. It’s an inevitability, really — but for now, I’m just enjoying soaking up the wasteland vibes. Maybe by the time I’m done with it, season 2 will be announced.

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