|Developer(s)||Bethesda Game Studios
June 14, 2015
August 13, 2015
Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play mobile simulation video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios, with assistance by Behaviour Interactive, and published by Bethesda Softworks. Part of the Fallout series, it was released worldwide for iOS devices on June 14, 2015, and for Android devices on August 13, 2015. The game tasks the player with building and managing their own Vault, a fallout shelter.
Upon release, Fallout Shelter received mostly positive reviews. Critics enjoyed the game's extension of the Fallout universe, the core gameplay, and its visual style. Common criticisms included the game's lack of depth, its use of unnecessary microtransactions, and its lack of an ending. To date, the game has grossed more than $5.1 million in microtransaction sales.
In Fallout Shelter, players build and manage their own Vault as an overseer – the leader and coordinator of their vault. Players guide and direct the citizens of the Vault, and need to keep them happy through meeting their needs such as power, food, and water. They rescue dwellers from the wasteland and assign them to different resource-generating buildings in the vault, using the SPECIAL statistics system from the other Fallout games. Each character's SPECIAL profile affects their ability to generate different resources, and their statistics can be increased by training them in rooms devoted to each stat. The dwellers can level up over time, increasing their health, and can be given new items and weapons to help with various tasks. The number of dwellers can be increased by waiting for new dwellers from the wasteland to arrive, or by pairing a male and a female dweller in living quarters to produce babies.
Balancing resources such as food, water, and power is an important aspect of the game. Many different rooms can be built in the vault, providing different items or stat bonuses. Players are not required to spend money in order to accelerate long timers or processes, instead having the option to instantly complete tasks at the risk of catastrophic failures – such as fires or "radroach" infestations. Players are sometimes rewarded with lunchboxes that contain rewards, such as items or resources, which can purchased separately through microtransactions.
Development and release
In a 2009 interview with Engadget, while talking about a possible Fallout game for iOS, Bethesda's Todd Howard said that the world of Fallout was "unique enough that it could translate to any platform", revealing that several designs of an iOS Fallout game were pitched and rejected. On November 5, 2009 John Carmack, who at that time worked for id Software, said that while it's nothing official yet, he had an internal proof of concept made for a Fallout iPhone game. Carmack said that he will likely be personally involved in making the game, although at the time he was working on other projects. He added that "at the very least I'm going to be providing code."
Fallout Shelter was announced by Bethesda during its press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 14, 2015, where it was confirmed the game is a free-to-play title that would be released for iOS the same day. It was developed in a partnership with Behaviour Interactive, and was built using the Unity game engine. The game was also released for Android devices on August 13, 2015.
On June 30, 2015, the game added a character from Fallout 4 as a dweller for the first time. Preston Garvey, the leader of Commonwealth Minutemen, was added as a reward available from lunchboxes, along with his Laser Musket weapon, which can be equipped by other Vault dwellers. On July 10, 2015, the game received its first update which fixed some issues while adding a new "Photo Mode" feature that allows players to capture and share images of their Vault. On August 13, a major update was launched for the iOS version, alongside the release of the Android version, adding mole rats and deathclaws as new enemies. It also added a new feature where raiders would now begin to steal caps, instead of only stealing resources as before, and a robot butler named "Mister Handy" only available through lunchboxes.
On October 15, the game received update 1.2 that added cloud saving, survival mode, Russian language support and Piper, a character from Fallout 4 available only for iOS version through lunchboxes. The update added a statistics page, ability to skip tutorial and a new gameplay feature where dwellers can loot equipment from dead raiders. Later in October, the game received a Halloween-themed update that added Halloween-themed room decoarations and outfits. The update removed the limit introduced in the previous update on number of dwellers that can be sent to explore the Wasteland.
Fallout Shelter received mixed to positive reviews on release, with an aggregate score of 72% on GameRankings based on 25 reviews and a score of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 39 reviews.
Reviewers generally enjoyed the gameplay, though criticized its lack of depth. Harry Slater from Pocket Gamer stated, "It's not exactly the most exciting post-apocalyptic game out there, but if casual is your bag there's a lot to like here." Chris Carter from Destructoid wrote, "I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it." Justin Davis of IGN remarked "Fallout Shelter is desperately in need of a set of endgame goals or resource sinks to look forward to."
The visuals also gained some praise. Daniel Tack of Game Informer summarized the visuals as "flavorful in the iconic Vault Boy aesthetic." Chris Carter remarked that "visually, Fallout Shelter is far more impressive than most resource-management games on the market". Jason Faulkner of Gamezebo found the graphics "impressive", writing "not only are the cute little vault dwellers presented in sharp, Fallout-faithful style, but the vault itself is quite stunning."
Reviewers had mixed opinions about the game's inclusion of microtransactions. Jeb Haught of Game Revolution opined, "when I add the micro-transaction advantage to the post apocalyptic mix, the result puts a sour taste in my mouth". Daniel Tack claimed that "the cash shop option in this free-to-play game is completely unobtrusive and unnecessary". In contrast, Justin Davis says that "virtually every other gameplay element must be earned the old-fashioned mobile way – by just waiting around."
On the day of its release, Fallout Shelter became the third-highest grossing game in the iOS App Store. By July 16, 2015, the game earned $5.1 million in microtransaction sales – just two weeks after release.
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Vice Versa, people in training rooms only increase stats, and don't level up.
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