Ugh, I cannot wait to explore the Boston wasteland! Thankfully we’re a week from Fallout 4‘s drop. I’ve been feeding my Fallout addiction by replaying past titles as well as Wasteland 2, one of my favorite games from last year and the sequel to Fallout‘s predecessor. What has really been helping though is Fallout Shelter. A mobile game available in Google Play and the App Store.

You’re a Vault Overseer and you have to create a self-sufficient, post-apocalyptic paradise for your vault dwellers. I had started playing this game in September but after an update the app became unusable and the only solution was to uninstall and reinstall. I tried to move my save file to hopefully salvage it I found it corrupted which I realize now was my fault for moving the file. Apparently you’re supposed to copy it, which I have tested and found to be true. So keep that in mind for future reference. So I had to start all over and that was ridic. This actually happened to a lot of people, and thankfully Bethesda quickly responded by adding a “save to cloud” feature for your vaults, so you’ll know they’ll be safe.

If you’re a fan of Fallout it’ll all be pretty familiar. You need power generators to maintain your vault, with more power needed for more rooms and levels. You need diners and water purifiers to keep your dwellers healthy and happy. Build rooms next to each other to really reap the benefits. You can connect up to three rooms together, and then the room can also be upgraded three times. Dwellers are sorted into rooms based on their SPECIAL stats. Dwellers are happy when they’re in the rooms that best fit their stats. As you get more dwellers you can also add rooms that help train their stats.

You’ll see here the water treatment plant is done and I can collect the water. Or wait for my Mr. Handy to come along. Also there are raiders at my vault door. We’ll have to take care of them.

By quickly dragging some dwellers to the vault entrance, and of course coupled with Mr. Handy’s speedy response, we fend off the raiders and then sell their corpses for money. Or something like that. All I know is you click on them and there’s money.

So I’ve mentioned Mr. Handy a few times. I like to keep one on each floor because he’ll not only help with raiders – and radroaches and molerats and fires – but he’ll also collect stuff. Which is great because ain’t nobody got time to check their phone every ten minutes to make sure dwellers aren’t dying of thirst. You can buy Mr. Handy as in-app purchases, or you can get him in a Lunchbox. Lunchboxes can also be bought, or earned by completing certain objectives.

One of the important parts of the game is repopulating and all of that. Put a male and female dweller in the barracks and watch stuff get steamy. Dwellers with higher levels of Charisma will get down faster, but even dwellers with low Charisma levels will eventually bump uglies. Unless they’re family members. Then they’ll just stand around saying stuff like, “Oh it’s so nice to hang out with family.” No it’s not, go back to work. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of whose related to who. I keep my females pregnant a lot. It’s like a baby mill in there. But I need those rooms! And I need dwellers to do menial tasks in the vault so my high level people can go out into the wasteland to explore and bring back armor and weapons and coins. My best tip is to switch out the man and woman when a woman gets pregnant. Just switching out the woman leads to a vault full of half-siblings that will not breed.

Pregnant dwellers aren’t limited in any way. They’ll go back to work in the power generator or science lab, even train in the Fitness Center and, my favorite, hang out in the Club where they can raise their Charisma. Though they don’t drink beer, instead they knock back Nuka Colas and say silly stuff.

You used to be able to only send one dweller into the wasteland at a time, which was lame. Bethesda again listened to players and upped the cap to 25. Send dwellers with good armor and weapons and plenty of stimpacks and rad-aways and they can stay out there for a while. The longer they’re out there the better the equipment they bring back, as well as the more gold and the more levels they gain. Fallout Shelter is fun to play, requires some problem solving, and can be ridiculously frustrating at times.

My best tip is to keep your water and energy plants near each other, and to keep them up. Water being slightly more important than energy. If you get low on water your dwellers begin to get irradiated and they makes them super bummed. There’s nothing like going to bed with vault happiness at 98% and waking up to a bunch of dead bodies and mopey dwellers with 10% happiness.

Are you excited for Fallout 4?

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