Post apocalyptic games have become a part of the norm these days, with the setting allowing a wealth of stories to be told and a variety of experiences delivered to players. Recently, Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter broke records on mobile platforms, but Sheltered–billed as a hardcore version of the game–has been in the works for a little while longer, meeting its Kickstarter goals earlier in June. Developed by Unicube and published by Team 17, Sheltered aims to expand upon the desire for a bunker sim shown in the market, delivering a deeper and more expansive experience to fans.The game revolves around a family trying to survive in a post apocalyptic wasteland after they find a bunker to make their home. After customising your family members, with the game including the option of same sex couples, and choosing a pet you’re ready to begin their story. When you first enter the bunker it’s merely a small dark shelter with only the bare essentials but with a bit of scavenging and building you can quickly start to make it a thriving, liveable space.
Sheltered functions on a day-to-day cycle, with the ability to speed up time for construction. I only got to play the first few days during the demo, but it gives you a good outline of what to expect over the course of the game. Aside from constructing new items, rooms, and facilities inside the bunker – early game priorities include showers, toilets, and bedding – you’ll also need to keep the generator stocked with fuel and all outside aspects like oxygen filters on the surface repaired. It’s definitely a title that has realism and micromanagement at its heart, requiring you to think about rations, water, and fuel usage to survive.The family you control reminded me a lot of The Sims at times, each with individual stats and needs. Cleanliness, hunger, tiredness, and thirst all have bars that fill up over time and you’ll need to keep an eye on these to ensure none of your survivors die. They can also end up getting sick from radiation, needing medication stockpiled from passing merchants you can trade with. One thing I found was that it’s really important to seize any opportunity to trade for medication and essentials so you have them on hand. I learnt this the hard way after I had my two kids die about three days in from sickness after the travelling merchant had no medicine to trade.
You’re also able to scavenge things from the wasteland, and once you’ve constructed parts to fix the R.V. you begin to get a much larger area to explore. I would have liked to see a bit more in regards to this exploration and interaction with other survivors, as it was something that didn’t get a lot of attention during the demo, but the little I did see worked well.
Sheltered has a really nice pixel style to it. It’s something we’ve seen in a lot of indie titles but it complements the tone of the game quite well. The menus and stat pages are all easy to monitor at a glance, with a worn out notebook look to the HUD elements in-game. It’s really put together with a lot of care and ran very well for a title Kickstarted not that long ago.
Despite sharing some pretty heavy similarities with the recent Fallout Shelter mobile game, Sheltered stands as a deep and fleshed out title more than capable of holding its own in the market. What it offers is a really pretty, hardcore version of a survival sim with a lot of options for players. With its successes on both Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, the game has grown a lot already and I’m eager to see a lot more of Sheltered once the final product launches.
Sheltered has no release date as yet but is currently confirmed for release on Xbox One and PC.