If you were like me, you were delighted to hear at E3 that Bethesda Softworks had a free gaming app called Fallout Shelter. It sounded like a cool diversion before Fallout 4 came out. Then the Android users got a slap in the face: Fallout Shelter would only be immediately available for iOS. Yeah, as an Android user, I was a bit bitter. Yes, I know it’s a free app that Bethesda totally didn’t have to do, but I wanted to play it right then and there. It was a bit of a disappointment. However, the app is finally out for Android, and I have been playing it a lot. Apparently, so have a lot of other people. I wanted to love the game, but there is one major thing that I don’t like about it that have pretty much stopped me from playing it altogether.
Fallout Shelter is fun. Don’t get me wrong. It’s addicting. It’s clever. There is a lot right about it.
When I first started to play it, the game really reminded me of Sim Tower (anyone else remember that game?). The player is responsible as a vault’s Overseer to keep the place and people in order. You start off with a few dwellers and try to increase that number as well as manage resources and keep people happy. The three most important resources are power, food, and water which are harvested by placing certain rooms in the vault and having the dwellers work them. Of course, building rooms cost caps. To get more caps, a player must either level up the dwellers, successful rush a room (speed up the resource gathering process), send dwellers out to the wasteland, or complete objectives.
When objectives are achieved, they sometimes give out lunchboxes. These lunchboxes give out a few cards that award extra resources, outfits that raise dweller stats, special characters, weapons, or extra caps. At first, the objectives are easy, and players can easily get several lunchboxes. After awhile, though it gets harder and harder to get the goodies. Extra lunchboxes can be bought through in-app purchases.
Dwellers also have SPECIAL stats (just like in the actual Fallout games). Putting certain dwellers with certain stats will make material collection and successful room rushes easier. A player can increase a dweller’s stats by adding rooms that can train them. Players also need to keep an eye on the happiness level of the vault dwellers, since that can affect their performance. Happiness can be raised by rushing rooms or things like…making babies. Of course, besides worrying about the basic resources and happiness levels, there are also issues with radiation, rad-roaches, and raiders. Add a slick-looking color scheme and the retro 1950s Fallout-style, and you get a really awesome app.
It’s actually one of the best game apps I’ve played on Android. So you may be wondering to yourself, “If you think it’s a great app, why were you disappointed? Why did you stop playing it?” Well, there is one major thing that has forced me to stop playing altogether, and that is…
It’s so demanding that it’s ten times worse than a Tamigotchi. If you don’t know what that is, I’m sorry, but your childhood was not awesome.
Okay, I may be kidding on that one, but seriously, the game is demanding on a level that I haven’t experienced since I had this thing in Middle School:
The game cannot be minimized for too long because things will still keep going, even if you aren’t actively playing. I can understand that if it’s just running in the background, though that is still annoying. However, I have completely shut down the game and turned my tablet off, and when I get back on, the happiness level of my vault has dropped from the 90% range to the teens and most of my resources are gone. The game is unfortunately focused too much on real-time. It’s not an app that you can casually play. It demands a lot of attention, which is why I have dubbed the game “Tamagotchi on Steriods.” This means that if you want to be successful as an Overseer, don’t go to sleep and don’t stop playing.
I wish that the game would actually pause, but it’s too focused on real-time play. If Bethesda would fix this, it would be the best gaming app I’ve ever seen. However, unless they do, I just can’t play it anymore. It was taking over all of my time. That’s not something that I wanted in an app, something I I may play on occasion when I’m sitting at the doctor’s office or when I’m nursing my daughter. Let’s hope that we can actually pause Fallout 4. *Tee-Hee*