BearSleuth Opinion Piece: Fallout Shelter: A Freemium Game done right

Time is money, at least when it comes to apps. If you have ever played anything like Clash of Clans or Simpsons: Tapped out you will know this. Most apps of this ilk give you two choices: pay in wait times or pay with a stack of cash, and I really do mean a stack. Some of EA’s mobile releases, such as Dungeon Keeper and The Sims have been known to cost players more than £300 to unlock and use all the content. That is more than an entire gaming console nowadays, but unfortunately that is the casual game market. Or it was until Bethesda came along.

In case you have been too busy polishing the rock your living under, Fallout 4 is coming out, this is huge news. In the gaming community, its like the remaining Beatles and Queen merging into a new super group under the new ‘Queen Beatle’. The point is, Fallout 4 is going to be huge and will make Bethesda a lot of money. But Fallout 4 is still a little way off so Bethesda have given us Fallout Shelter to keep us going. Extending the metaphor, Fallout Shelter is like Brian May and Paul McCartney putting together an album of dubstep Queen and Beatles remixes called ‘Rise of The Beatle Queen’, you didn’t know you wanted until you heard the idea and now you need it.

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Fallout Shelter is a fair game, that shouldn’t be a rare thing, but in this era of mobile gaming that’s the state we are in. In the game you are a leader of a Vault where people are surviving the apocalypse, you must assign jobs and provide for their basic needs. You do not have to pay a penny for the full game experience and you don’t have to wait unreasonably long times. The main mechanics work on probability, if you want to cut down the wait time on something you can but it can also backfire and injure your survivors. You can send survivors out to look for supplies, which you can also buy, but you choose how long they are out for and that determines their chances of bringing back useful items. This means that it is in your control how much time and money you spend and it is all directly tied into your game experience.

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This is the paid system, it’s quite simple, for around 70p you buy a lunch box, which contains a pre-set amount of items and in game currency.  Lunch boxes can be earned through more complex objectives so it is possible to collect all items available in lunch boxes without paying any money at all. This system works. I hope in the next few days of E3 someone from Bethesda goes over to the EA booth and shows them this game, it might inspire them to make something amazing, like Queen Beatles second album ‘Sargent Peppers Night at the Opera’.

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