Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fallout Shelter

Year: 2015
Genre: Simulation

  • Platform: Android
  • Hours logged: 305.5
  • Playthroughs: 1
  • Rating: 10/10

Notes and Discussions:
  • Lee (9/16/2015): Woah. Where am I? What the hell happened? Why are all of my dishes and laundry dirty? This damn game... Fallout Shelter was recommended to me by a friend (who is also a reader of this blog!) a few months ago, but at the time, the game wasn't yet available on Android. He raved about it enough that I almost considered getting an iPad. But then Bethesda finally came through with an Android version, and my life disappeared for a while.

    When the game started up, the directions did a pretty good job of telling me what I needed to do to get started. I built a few rooms, assigned dwellers to them, made them do some work, and then more dwellers appeared. More rooms. More dwellers. And then I happened to satisfy one of the objectives and was awarded a free lunchbox. Lunchboxes contain randomized rewards chosen from: resources, CAPS (in-game currency to be spent on new rooms and room upgrades), dwellers, outfits, and weapons. Upon opening that first one, I believe I remember voicing a soft, "Uh oh..." I knew I was hooked. (Note that lunchboxes can also be purchased from the in-game store with real money, but like my Summoners War gaming experience, I can somewhat proudly say that I didn't spend a dime on this game. Part of me feels that I should support the devs, but I'm not entirely sure where I would draw the line...)

    I feel that I shouldn't have liked this game as much as I did, given its simplicity, but I really think that it perfectly suited my personality. Much like Minecraft, I found Fallout Shelter to be mostly zen-like. There were times when a Molerat invasion nearly took out my entire vault population, and holy hell, the Deathclaws! But aside from dealing with the random, panic-inducing vault incidents, the gameplay served as a pretty wonderful stress-reliever. Aside from opening the lunchboxes, I did really enjoy collecting resources, upgrading rooms and dwellers, meeting the objectives, and sending my strongest dudes with the best gear out to the wasteland to collect more awesome gear. But perhaps the thing I liked most about this game is that you can sit for hours playing it, or you can set it and leave it (with the exception that you can't leave dwellers out in the Wasteland for days...or they will be dead when you get back).

    Here are a few pieces of strategy that I gathered along the way via experimentation and reading a few online articles and forums:

    1. Don't expand too quickly! Build each type of room in sets of three, but make sure that you upgrade your rooms fully before building on to them. Also, don't build extra rooms until you need them and have dwellers to fill them.

    2. Send your strongest dwellers out into the Wasteland equipped with the best guns, the best outfits (preferably those that boost Endurance, Strength, and Luck), and as many Stimpacks and RadAways as you can afford. The goal is to collect enough gear to give each of your dwellers back in the vault a strong gun and an outfit suited to their main S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat (or Luck). Once you have built the training rooms, boosting ANY of your Wasteland explorer's stats will help (especially Endurance, Strength, and Luck).

    3. Feel free to grow your vault's population as quickly as is comfortable (via pregnancies, lunchboxes, and/or the radio station), but when you start to get close to 60 dwellers in your vault, stop growing. When your population reaches 61 dwellers, you will start attracting Deathclaws nearly every time you open the vault door, and if you aren't prepared, you are entering a world of hurt. I would recommend training each of your dwellers' Endurance and giving them a big damn gun, especially those dwellers who work in the rooms closest to the vault door.

    I figured that I would end up defining a playthrough for Fallout Shelter as either building the final room, the Nuka Cola Bottler, or reaching the vault maximum population of 200 dwellers. Unfortunately, the game shit the bed before I made it to either of those milestones. While constructing my fourth vault, I felt satisfied with the organization of my vault rooms, and I believed that I had built a strong enough defense against the Deathclaws and Molerats to take a swing at reaching the end game. I redeemed the few lunchboxes that I had saved up, which pushed me over the 61 dwellers mark and into Deathclaw territory. But then after satisfying the very next objective, the game would crash every time I opened the Objectives screen. A Google search showed that others had seen similar problems with the Android version of the game. Balls.

    I guess now I must wait until Bethesda can patch Fallout Shelter before I can proceed. More soon...I hope.

  • Lee (10/28/2015): I opted to not wait for Bethesda to patch the game, and since opening the objectives screen in my vault caused the game to crash, I created a new vault. And then I proceeded to dump another 100+ hours into this damn game. It was worth every second.

    I won't go very deep into the details, but this time around, I was much more efficient with my resources and vault layout. After a few weeks, I managed to max out my vault population at 200 dwellers; upgrade all of the food, water, and power production rooms to their advanced versions; and I added a few Nuka Cola Bottler rooms. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), one day, as I was in the process of scouring the Wasteland for updated gear for all of my dwellers, my phone ran out of battery and shut itself down mid-game. I plugged my phone in, booted it back up, reopened the Fallout Shelter app...and to my horror, my game save file was gone. Deleted. So I rage quit. Once again, thankfully I hadn't spent any real money on lunchboxes or anything.

    Having logged what I am considering a playthrough of Fallout Shelter, I felt good about uninstalling it at this point. I may go back to it again someday, but it will likely take a pretty sizable update to suck me back in.

  • Lee (1/18/2016): I got sucked back in. For the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I put some more time into Fallout Shelter. I see that the last time I made an update to this blog post, the game had just deleted my save file. Luckily, I had saved the game to the cloud, so when I went to create a brand new game, it asked me if I wanted to restore my old game from the cloud. So I did.

    This time around, I had already built all of the rooms that I wanted to in the vault, so I focused on leveling up and maxing out the skills of all 199 members of my vault. (I left one spot open to allow me to bring in dwellers that I received from lunchboxes...which I immediately put into a room and set it on fire.) After accomplishing this, I set out with a full squad of explorers to mine the National Guard Depot (at 60 hours into the Wasteland) for legendary gear. I didn't seem to be seeing the 1 in 10 chance of obtaining legendary items that was reported on the intarweb, so I dug deeper. Apparently, they nerfed that. WTF, Bethesda?

    I briefly considered running a hardcore vault, but a recent update to the game made it very difficult for me to heal my dwellers fast enough for everyone to survive a Deathclaw attack. And given that you are unable to resurrect your dwellers in hardcore mode, fuck that.

    So...officially, I had no more reason to play Fallout Shelter. 100% complete. For now...

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