Best Games of All-Time: Fallout Shelter
Played On: PS4 (Original)
Some games could make people’s best of all-time list for having the best gameplay, characters, story, setting, or plenty of other reasons. However, there’re also some games that hold a personal connection that truly makes it stand out from the crowd – as well as all of the other great things above. For me, a more recent game that has that lasting personal connection is Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter. While many people were able to play the game when it debuted on mobile in 2015 and then made it’s way to Xbox One in February of 2017, I came around to it when it finally came to PS4 in June 2018 and I was surprised that I took such a liking to the game. Frankly, as I much as I’ve tried to get into the Fallout series, and Bethesda’s games in general, it’s come to no avail. Fallout Shelter really stuck for me though, likely because it’s a base-building game rather than open world and the experience was heightened through a competitive bet with a friend.
Base-building games have never really been my thing, but once my friend and I competed against each other to earn all of the trophies, it quickly consumed my attention. Although we couldn’t play together or visit each other’s bases, updating one another through voice chat about how our bases was going really improved the experience and gave me the drive to constantly improve my base. It was great when we would announce the arrival of Bottle and Cappy at our base, talk about new missions and vault dwellers we would get, and even talk about different strategies we had about getting the Platinum trophy. We even still laugh about how the Mysterious Stranger loved to appear at my base more than his and how he would hear the noise of the Mysterious Stranger appearing at my base through my microphone and mistakenly think he was at his.
My strategy of utilizing a steady stream of bottom caps, sending my best dwellers on missions on a regular basis, and signing onto the game at key times in the morning and at night eventually led me to victory in a race for the platinum that my friend also earned soon after. Truthfully, playing Fallout Shelter through a heated competition with my friend made the game stand out in a way that still sticks with me and elevated the already excellent game full of fun Fallout nods and really addicting base-building mechanics.
Like I said before, iconic characters from the Fallout franchise, like the Mysterious Stranger and the dynamic duo of Bottle and Cappy, come to give players a big of an edge. They appear at random, but when they come it’s hard not to roar and cheer. Every time the musical cue of the Mysterious Stranger came, I literally dropped everything I was doing to figure out where he was in order to get a hefty reward of bottle caps. It was even more challenging as my base grew but finding him never gets old and is a lot of fun. It’s even better when Bottle and Cappy make their way to your base with them breaking out some sweet dance moves throughout the base that earn you some bottle caps and Nuka-Cola bottles – which helps players speed up progression. Aside from having great Fallout character interact with, the appearances of these characters also helped the game shy away from the traditional microtransactions found within these kinds of games. They offered enough bottle caps and Nuka-Colas to never make things too easy, but also made me never even think to use microtransactions to get ahead.
Building an army of dwellers and a top-tier base to live in was also a lot of fun and a surprising challenge. Part of the enjoyment about logging in everyday was seeing the progress I was making as my base expanded from only being a couple of rooms to spreading across multiple floors filled with different dwellers. From adding in new water pump stations and restaurants to keep my dwellers alive and busy to arming them with a variety of weapons to take down enemy raiders, feral ghouls, and Deathclaws, there’re interactions and upgrades that keep your attention and add new challenges in unexpected moments. Even having Radroaches and Radscorpions attack in random rooms or fires suddenly breakout put me on edge and I’ll never forget the panic I had in sending reinforcements to random rooms to stop growing threats. For most games, going on missions is better than chilling the HUB space, but with Fallout Shelter even just chilling at the base can be a lot of fun and provides enough challenge to keep players hooked.
It was also great just being able to interact with dwellers that would come to your base as it genuinely feels like you’re building a stronger community. Giving each of them jobs that not only help maintain balance in your base, but can also help boost their S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and make them more well-rounded dwellers. Even being able to customize the looks of dwellers gives players the ability to create a diverse and unique community and it was even fun to naturally get more dwellers through creating romantic matches to have little baby dwellers running around. Thinking back, it was also great how my friend and I became so invested into our dwellers that we would pick favorites, update each other on how they were doing, and even create little storylines about them going on missions and stuff.
Sending dwellers out on missions was a blast as battling through different scenarios, sometimes involving well-known Fallout factions like The Brotherhood of Steel, was a true challenge and test of strategy. There were so many times I’d be racking my brain about sending out the right troops and making sure my top dweller, a man named Colonel Autumn I had gotten from random draw, was out and about. One mission in particular where my Fallout knowledge was put to the test will always stick in my mind or even dealing with the Four Horsemen was a great storyline to play through. Not to mention, there’re tons of different areas to explore through a strong variety of missions and every time I saw that a group had the opportunity to check out another location along the way, I was giddy with excitement for the rewards I could find.
Fallout Shelter was truly that unexpected game that still resonates with me to this day and the experience of competitively playing along with my friend is something that I still haven’t had in many other games. Aside from being a great base-building game that will please any Fallout fan, Fallout Shelter will always hold a special place in my heart.
*All Photos Shown Here Were Taken By The Author*