Last summer we were completely engulfed in Fallout Shelter. An excellent management game but one that lacked lasting appeal and end game excitement. As a result we grew tired off it after a few intense months of Overseer fun, but now the game has gotten several chunky updates (most recently to 1.7) and as it released on PC we saw that as the perfect opportunity to return and see what's different.
First of all, let's consider how this made-for-tablets free-to-play game works on PC. The short answer is surprisingly well. It boots windowed and the controls (mouse click = touch), zooming with the mousewheel and all of the interface scrolling is very intuitive. The only user issues we found are the same as in the tablet version, sometimes it is difficult (due to character positioning) to pinpoint your click on the right character with the first try. It may be a minor issue, but we feel that in some rooms Bethesda ought to have spaced out the dwellers more. As it is now some dwellers are standing right next to each other or in front and behind other dwellers as they work or train making it difficult to pick, drag and drop the correct dweller. This is especially true when the pressure is on as Deathclaws are swarming your Vault and you're trying to move that all important powerhouse of a dweller to the frontline.
In fact, we were going to issue one complaint against the PC port and that's how easy it is to forget you have the app running when on a desktop and originally (version 1.6) it didn't go into idle mode, but that has been fixed with the more recent patch and our dwellers are no doubt happy about this.
But how has the game itself changed in the last year? Well, back when we first played it the management part of the game was already brilliant and very addictive, but sending out your dwellers to collect rare loot felt a bit unrewarding. It became a chore and something you did simply to fill that "sticker album" of items and weapons.
That has all changed with the inclusion of a quest system as well as crafting. Crafting involves hunting for junk (by either collecting it when on a quest or in the wastelands), and recipes required for making either weapons or outfits. This means that collecting and amassing that collection of loot is much more in the player's hands, something that's very welcome. And these rooms also give high-level characters something meaningful to do inside the vault itself, rather than them just being out hunting all the time, basically just stopping at the vault to drop off what they've collected.
But while crafting is great the main game changer, arriving with version 1.6 and improved upon with 1.7, are quests. While not as elaborate as a quest in a full scale Fallout game, these little missions see you assume more direct control over a set of three dwellers (or if one of your characters stumbles upon a small quest in the wasteland they'll have to go solo). There are short little story bits, basically just there to tell you that "our dweller is in another vault", but there are some more twisted and interested story beats to be had as well, and even some dialogue options. The quests also serve up hints of what loot you get before you take them on, so once again they grant the player more control as he or she hunts down more and more loot. In addition to questlines that offer story and run with up to as much as 15 sub-quests, there are also quest available for a limited time (a Nuka-World themed one is currently available that when completed adds visits from Bottle and Cappy to your vault - lucrative visits) as well as daily and weekly quests.
One thing we would love is some kind of cloud save option. We lazily thought we'd be able to access our save when on a trip on our laptop, but that was not the case. Hopefully, this is something that could be added in the future as you run it via the Bethesda Net Launcher on PC.
To be perfectly honest, we weren't sure we'd get hooked on Fallout Shelter once more. Afterall, we left it behind and moved on. But the additions Bethesda has made since launch quickly convinced us that pouring in dozens of hours on managing dwellers was a perfectly valid use of our time. More equipment, pets, crafting all goes towards adding more character and personality, making your dwellers feel more like your own creations than before (you can even fix customise their appearance in a new room these days). It's good to be an overseer, and it's good to once again manage dwellers.
These images were snapped with the in-game photo mode on PC.