Video Game Review – Fallout Shelter (iOS)

Nath sometimes reviews games. This is one of those reviews.

Sorry for not posting a review for quite a while, there have been a few things like work, moving house and not generally having any time for playing games. Closest I got was to playing an app version of Stranger’s Wrath (pretty decent port, but controls need reviewing). However, now that I have moved and work has taken a break for a bit, I have managed to find some more time for playing games. I still need to get hold of Arkham Knight and I need to play the latest Witcher game but in the mean time I managed to borrow an iPad and play Fallout Shelter.

I imagine most of you are looking forward to Fallout 4. Until that comes out, we’ve got this handy little game to play. You start off choosing the number of a vault you want to become the overseer of; I chose 616 (the correct number of the beast according to QI) and you are thrown into a little tutorial. It tells you the basics, for example on how to build rooms in the vault, assigning people to specific jobs and sending people out to the wasteland.

It’s basically the Sims but Fallout-style. You’ve got to keep your dwellers happy by making sure the power, food and water is all up to the relevant levels. If you keep expanding the vault with more rooms and dwellers, you can unlock further rooms and make your vault more useful for the dwellers. In Vault 616 I managed to unlock the science lab, med bay, storage room and galaxy radio, amongst many others.

But of course you can’t build more rooms without acquiring caps. You can do this in a few ways, the most common way is to rush rooms for resources. Basically high risk, high reward. Before you start rushing the rooms, you are given a percentage of failure and this will increase if you rush the room constantly. If you succeed, you gain caps and the resources quicker. If you fail, 1 of 2 things can happen, first the room is set on fire and dwellers have to put the fire out or radroaches infest the room and the dwellers have to dispose of them. If this happens, you will have to start over again before you can gain the resource or caps. Pretty annoying but lets hope we are feeling lucky.

The other ways are done by sending your dwellers to the wasteland in order to get caps, however the longer they are out there, the more likely they will get attacked, irradiated or killed. You can revive them for a price, but its very expensive so be careful. The last way is completing objectives set by the game. You can earn easy caps by forcing the dwellers to copulate, setting fire to rooms and collecting resources.

All in all it is a very good game, however I did learn something. If you leave the game on standby for the day, events will take place in the background. That is fine, means you can actually get on with your day, whilst babies turn into dwellers within the game. If you leave it for longer though, things can go badly. I went away for a few days and my vault was in a mess. All my resources had gone, people were unhappy and my explorers were dead. I tried rushing resources, but we got attacked by larger radroaches and ended up losing about 10 dwellers. I decided that Vault 616 was no longer so I deleted and started again.

Enter Vault 777 (Nicholas Angel’s badge number from Hot Fuzz) and I decided to plan this vault better. So far so good, no one is dead, resources are in good order and the dwellers are all happy. I do feel that this game will tie me over until Fallout 4 is released, but there are many other games coming out later this year that I need to get hold of. I would give this game 8 out 10 radroach attacks. A decent game that will keep you entertained. It’s currently only out on iOS, but an Android release is due out in the next month or so.

Nath

People Are Making Apocalypse Jokes Like There’s No Tomorrow

Alex watches too much TV and then thinks about it for longer than is healthy.

Picture the scene: A man kneels in the rubble of a broken future, surrounded by the shattered remains of once towering monuments to progress. Crumpled wrecks of hover-cars litter the streets of this sprawling metropolis. The guttural roar of hordes of re-animated, radioactive, cannibal corpses can be heard echoing in the distance. The man is dishevelled and wearing the tattered remnants of a futuristic jumpsuit, he clutches a bloodied child’s cap with an antenna on top to his chest and repeatedly whispers “His boy Elroy… His boy Elroy…” to himself whilst rocking back and forth.

This would be the opening scene of The Jetsons if it were rebooted today, as our thirst for all things post-apocalyptic is seemingly as unquenchable as a zombie’s hunger for delicious brains. This is by no means a complaint; I love a good post-apocalyptic setting in any entertainment format and this version of the Jetsons would be way better than the disturbingly pristine and non-multicultural future shown in the original. It is interesting though that the list of titles set in one wasteland/ post-apocalyptic world or other is an exceptionally long one at the moment, so the question is: Why are we so keen to see all that we know in ruins?

Visions of the future are a cornerstone of science fiction and have always been a reflection of how we see ourselves in the present, so with all this apocalypsing going on clearly we don’t think a whole lot of ourselves at the moment. Over the course of a century due to the effects of countless wars both hot and cold and an ever expanding and increasingly downbeat media culture our view of the future has changed radically; going from the outlandish and exotic visions of the Victorian age, through the utopian, swiftly into the dystopian and finally into our despondent apocalyptic certainty. Even a dystopian future dictatorship is too much to hope for today, as being constantly hammered by news coverage of the worst humanity has to offer and the burgeoning wealth of evidence that we have pretty much ruined the planet has drained us of what little hope we had.  Scary stories of the evil that men do sell papers and get precious mouse clicks but they leave us fairly certain that this whole sorry business will come crashing down within the hour leaving us scrabbling in the dirt wishing we’d paid more attention to Ray Mears. The future is no longer bright because we no longer feel we deserve it, perhaps we don’t and should hurry up and invent some sexy Cylons to destroy us.

apocalypse1

The second element to the popularity of the apocalypse is pure escapism. Our lives for the most part are mundane, easy and fairly rigidly structured; we work, we get drunk and moan about work, we wish we had done something more significant with our lives. Rinse and repeat. It is therefore unsurprising that a world without the structures that dominate our existence, in which there would be no need to read job adverts that dress mindless drone work up as something equating to Secretary-General of the U.N. or to reply with the soul destroyingly up-beat set of lies we call a CV ever again, is immensely attractive. A post-apocalyptic CV would be a good read though “I hunter-gather well as part of a group, I bring a can-do attitude to the murder and pillage of rival groups and I have a great deal of experience in the manufacture of homemade weaponry/ jewellery inc. ears on strings. Thank you for considering me for a role within your proto-society.”

A return to nature stripped of all our creature comforts and annoying bureaucracy has always been an appealing fantasy but fails to account for poor physical condition and complete lack of wilderness skills, let’s be honest a management consultant from Slough is not going to turn into some badass Chuck Norris-esque survivalist hero overnight. Suddenly becoming a brilliant woodsman is not the full extent of the fantasy though, both before and after an apocalyptic event humanity as a whole may act like a bunch of jerks but we still have some faith in the decency of the individual. The brilliant Walking Dead and astonishing The Last of Us are excellent examples of this key element of our apocalypse fetish, whilst the whole world might go to hell we are inherently good people and would manage to hold on to at least shreds of our humanity in the grey moral quagmire of a world without structure. The post-apocalyptic hero is the embodiment of our schizophrenic view of humanity, in broad terms humanity is a blight on the world and should probably be gotten rid of but on an individual level people are generally pretty decent and deserve to survive (except those who leave passive-aggressive notes). We hope that when faced with great adversity we would be brave and compassionate. However I doubt that we behave as paradigms of humanity in our daily lives, so it is perhaps depressing that it would take the end of the world to bring out the good person we hope resides in us somewhere.

Guilt perhaps also plays a part in our world ending desires. Our grandparents and great-grandparents faced war on a scale that is hard for us to imagine, our parents lived through the cold war and its constant nuclear paranoia, many people in the world at the moment face hardship we will never experience even a smidgeon of, the most devastating thing that will happen to most of us today is the internet not working briefly and we’ll still get irrationally angry about it. The wasteland would provide us not only with an escape from every day boredom and people who leave notes but also the chance to prove our worth as humans or at the very least to find out what we’re really made of.

We may continually envision the destruction of our future world in cathartic penance for the wrongs of our present one, or wish it would all end because life is monotonous, but our apocalyptic visions are not entirely without hope. In fact the very essence of every post-apocalyptic story is hope; after whatever monumentally stupid human action or act of nature destroys our world, where nothing should survive, there will somehow against all the odds still be humans left to continue being jerks to one-another. If that’s not hope for the future I don’t know what is. So get your pip-boys ready, keep your ears peeled for super mutants and pack your moral compass as it doesn’t look like we’re done working out our issues in the wasteland just yet.

 

Wasteland Essentials:

Film: A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Game: Fallout 3

Book: World War Z (Max Brooks)

TV: The Walking Dead (2010-)

 

Alex