Bunker dwelling in Sheltered

Totally not the indie ‘Fallout Shelter’

It must suck to be the developers of Sheltered at E3. Sheltered is a game where you create and manage a shelter underground from a side on 2D perspective, building new rooms and managing the people living in your shelter. Considering two days ago Fallout Shelter was revealed and released, Sheltered has a bit of an uphill fight on its hands getting attention at the show.

Thankfully, Sheltered is a really interesting game and in practice, manages to separate itself out from the other game of that type at the show. Unfortunatel, it feels like it’s lacking some pretty important content.

Sheltered starts off by having you create a family to inhabit an underground shelter, two parents and two children. You can be a two mother or two father family if you want, and the game plods along nicely unchanged. You can then select between a pet cat or dog and make your way down into the shelter.

Sheltered in practice is a resource management game. Sending your family members out to explore the world requires water, gas masks, weapons and tradable resources. Keeping your family well fed, free of radiation poisoning and generally healthy requires venturing out across a largely hidden map to scavenge for what you can find.

To do this you set waypoints on a map and then simply leave your characters to go off and explore. They will radio back to the shelter if they find anything or anyone of interest while out and ask for advice on what to do.

You may well while exploring come across other survivors of the nuclear wasteland that is the world. You have the option to try and recruit them to your base, which will yield more resources from exploration but cost more resources to maintain, you can fight, you can trade or run away. In practice, none of these decisions seemed to have any downsides in my time with the game. I could walk away from any encounter unharmed at any time which somewhat broke the tension of encounters on the world.

Ultimately, Sheltered is an interesting take on the genre that currently feels like it’s very much in development still and lacking some much needed fleshing out. The writing was charming, but Sheltered really needs to add in some consequences so that exploring the surface gets some depth.

Laura Dale