Fallout Shelter is celebrating its one-year anniversary by sending players outside: not literally like in Pokemon Go, but outside their cramped and definitely-smelly-by-now digital vaults. The latest update that launched this week introduces quests, which opens up the world beyond your lone shelter and allows you to accompany dwellers on their exploration of the Wasteland.
Although Bethesda has been trying to keep Fallout Shelter fresh over the past year with additions of Mister Handy robot butlers, equippable pets, and a no-revival survival mode, none of these features really added to players’ involvement in the game. Quests provide an actual hands-on opportunity to guide your dwellers through abandoned buildings and other vaults, scavenge for loot, and even manage their combat.
After you construct an overseer’s office (which is, unfortunately, not manned by a tiny version of yourself) you’ll be able to select from a variety of quests and send up to three dwellers out on a single assignment at a time. Upgrading the overseer’s office lets you work on three quests at once, which is beneficial since there is still a travel time to contend with: your hands-on interaction doesn’t begin until dwellers “arrive” at the destination, which can take between a few minutes to an hour-plus for more complex assignments.
Once your dwellers reach the goal location, you’ll be asked to take over, directing them through unknown rooms filled with hazards ranging from our old friends radroaches and raiders to new hazards ghouls and radscorpions. Although most buildings are built similarly to the vaults—with small, medium, or large rooms connected by elevators—these places are in disarray, with blown-out windows and toppled desks littering the background. It’s a nice change of pace to the pristine vault we’ve called home for the past year, and a reminder that the world aboveground is still a hot, radiated mess.
When you encounter aggressive denizens of this world, your dwellers will auto-attack as they do during vault raids, but you can also direct them to focus on a specific opponent. There will also occasionally be a chance for a critical hit, denoted by a yellow checkmark that, once tapped, opens up a quick mini-game of aligning two X’s for up to five times the dweller’s damage. (Time pauses during this mini-game: a quick nod to V.A.T.S.) These small additions make battles much more engaging, giving players even more to focus on beyond just doling out stimpaks and radaway.
At the end of a quest you’ll earn a reward for completing the goal, as well as any loot you pilfered from dead bodies or found in the building’s furniture, and your dwellers will begin the timed trek home. Although a lot of quests are radiant challenges with basic goals—kill the giant radscorpion, find a specific item—some are part of a larger storyline within a series of quests. The biggest one available right now is the search for Paula Plumbkin, an overseer that has gone missing, and whose story plays out over 25 different quest assignments. This is essentially the first real “plot” we’ve seen in Fallout Shelter, besides whatever soap opera you’ve concocted with your vault full of Lucas Simmses, and should appeal to players craving a bit more story structure in their simulation.
While quests are the main feature in this update, Bethesda has also added a type of premium currency via Nuka-Cola Quantum. Quantum is earned during quests and can be used to speed up travel and crafting times or skip multiple objectives in a single day. Since timers have not increased along with its addition, Quantum currently feels like more of an optional boost than a necessity, but only time will tell. We’re hoping a future update will allow us to buy lunchboxes with Quantum, so we’re just hoarding it in a secret fridge for now.
Finally, the other addition this update coincides with is the release of Fallout Shelter on PC. Until this week, the only vault overseers were on mobile, but the game is now available to download for free from Bethesda’s website. All of the features they’ve added to the mobile version are included in the PC port, so players who want a break from killing deathclaws and building settlements in Fallout 4 can…well, do the same in Fallout Shelter. Prepare for the future!