This spin-off simulation from the Fallout videogame series features the same post-apocalyptic setting and dark humour, but focuses on managing an underground vault and its cute cartoon dwellers. An interactive tutorial guides you through building new rooms and assigning dwellers to them. Production facilities for power, food and water are essential for survival. Making the best use of your dwellers’ skills is an important aspect: each dweller has seven special attributes, ranging from strength to luck. To aid you, each room has a letter indicator to show the type of skill required; dragging a dweller onto a room will say whether they’ll have a positive effect.
Each production facility has a countdown for the next resource to be created, and hitting the Rush button can speed this up. However, there’s always a chance of a hazardous incident, such as a fire or radroach infestation. One thing to note is that the game time continues when you’re not playing, even when the app is closed, although drainage of resources soon stops. Even so, manually collecting resources can be a chore, so buying a Mister Handy (£0.76/$0.99) is recommended; he harvests resources and deals with any emergencies in your absence.
More room types (20 in total) are unlocked as you build your population. New dwellers can turn up randomly or be attracted by a radio broadcast. However, the main method is reproduction: just send a male and female to the living quarters and they’ll eventually disappear, resulting in an instant pregnancy, with a birth following soon afterwards! Kids grow up fast too and inherit their parents’ traits.
A key part of the game involves completing tasks to earn caps (in-game-currency) and lunchboxes (both available via IAP). These contain cards for caps, stat-boosting outfits and weapons too. It’s advisable to arm your dwellers before sending them to explore the wasteland for extra resources. Weapons are also needed to defend your vault from invasion by raiders, mole rats or deathclaws.
Fortunately, the IAPs are optional and it all adds up to a fascinating open-ended simulation. If you do eventually get bored, then you can always conduct some fun ‘experiments’ on your population!