Gone are the days of clean air. Gone are the days of free-flowing water. Your entire survival depends on Nature’s very whim. The game Sheltered takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, with a family of four inside a minimally-equipped fallout shelter. The main purpose is to survive, with ever-depleting numbers of water, rations, and fuel. Four characters and a pet are created towards the start, with customizable traits and attributes.
The gameplay in Sheltered revolves around many layers of survival-management; resource management, character management, and item management. There are four key components inside the shelter: the air filter, the water filter, the power generator, and the crafting bench. The air filter keeps the air within the shelter clean from radiation; the water filter generates water, and the powers the filters. It is important to note that the water filter only works when it is raining. The crafting bench enables the construction of various different furniture, tools, and additional rooms. Higher-tier furniture and constructs are more efficient and a necessity if you wish to expand the population of your shelter. In addition to furniture and their uses, most has a set durability. If the durability runs low, you would have to send a member of the shelter to repair it.
Character management is definitely the major selling-point of Sheltered. Each character has a multitude of stats that the player has to be conscience of. The basic statuses are: health, hunger, thirst, tiredness, hygiene, toilet, stress, and trauma. There is also a special status called loyalty which newly-joined members of the shelter have. Hunger and thirst can be alleviated by using up ration and water supplies. Tiredness, hygiene, and toilet require specific items to be constructed by the crafting bench. Beds, bathrooms, and showers are required if you want to lower the buildup of those stats. New members of the shelter would be unable to go on expeditions unless the loyalty bar is completely filled. The large number of people in the shelter coupled with the limited amount of furniture and space requires a lot of micro-management to keep the characters fit and running.
Besides for just managing the shelter, the player has to send out people on expeditions. Expeditions, on the basic level, allow the player to scavenge for food and resources. Resources are needed in upgrading and construction, and can be used to trade with any survivors you encounter. The player might meet other survivors during the expedition. Depending on their stances, the player can trade, recruit, or fight against the survivors.
The only downside to Sheltered is the high level of difficulty; and the lack of an option to adjust it. There might be days without rain and unless you stocked up enough water, everyone in the shelter is essentially trapped and unable to do anything productive. The tutorial does not do an adequate enough task in explaining what each trait and attribute does or its effect in the game.
Other than the difficulties, Sheltered is definitely an interactive, interesting and exciting survival-management game. The player is constantly kept busy in a fun way, trying to make use of what little resources is available. As such, I would rate Sheltered a 4.5 out of 5.
Watch the Sheltered launch trailer:
Sheltered will be available to download March 15, 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, PC (Steam), Mac and Linux for just $14.99 / £9.99 / 12,99 €.
Related: Sheltered Heading to PS4