This week’s release of Fallout Shelter on Android is probably the most exciting event in the game’s short history, but iOS users were also treated to our first major content update (included in the Android version).
So what’s new in Fallout Shelter, and what does it mean for you as a benevolent (we assume) overseer?
- Mole rats: Tired of putting out the same fires and stomping the same radroaches day in and day out? You’re in luck! Mole rats will now randomly appear as an incident in your vault, burrowing up out of the ground and gnawing at any nearby vault dwellers with grunty aplomb. Like radroaches, if these critters aren’t dealt with in a timely manner, they’ll quickly spread to nearby rooms and grow into a massive pain-dealing distraction. Mole rats are stronger than radroaches but take less time to dispatch, meaning they can do a lot of damage quickly but dwellers with high-powered weapons should be able to stop them in their hairless little tracks.
- Deathclaws: Struggling with overpopulation in your vault? Not a problem anymore! Deathclaws will now appear randomly in place of raiders as outside threats that force their way into your vault door. Deathclaws are faster, stronger, and terror-inducinger than raiders, posing an actual danger even to fortified and beefed up vaults. After a handful of run-ins with the aptly-named bipeds, here’s what we’ve learned:
- They’re fast. Even with a vault door upgraded to maximum level—which generally delays a raiders’ entrance by 30 seconds—deathclaws will scratch their way inside almost immediately. After seeing the “Deathclaw Attack” warning, you have very little time to get guards posted to the upper floor. It may be time to rethink your vault layout and start using guards at the door itself.
- They’ll get farther in your vault than raiders ever have. Prior to encountering a deathclaw, no outside force had ever made it beyond our second “trap” room—a barracks with six guards waiting with flamers and railway rifles. Deathclaws entered our vault, smacked our door guards around, and then tore through the next two rooms on their way to the elevator. They don’t stand in one place and engage for long before moving on to the next room full of meat-filled targets. Raiders will politely have an extended shoot-out with you. Deathclaws don’t have time for niceties.
- Dwellers will die. It doesn’t matter what level you are and what equipment you’re wearing; when a deathclaw kangaroo-jumps into your body, it’s going to hurt. Despite not sticking around in individual rooms for long (see above), deathclaws still do a massive amount of damage to the rooms’ inhabitants—likely to the point of death if you don’t have a stimpak or ten handy.If you can afford the revival cost and happiness reduction, it might be easier to just let some dwellers die rather than use up all your stimpaks on a no-win deathclaw onslaught. Someone will end their reign of terror, but it almost certainly won’t be anyone on your first floor, so don’t waste too much time supporting a lost cause.
- Mister Handy: To help contend with these new threats, players can now purchase a Mister Handy robot to assist with both menial tasks and vault defenses. Mister Handy can be acquired as a reward in lunchboxes, or as a direct in-app purchase (in the same menu as the lunchbox store). A single Mister Handy costs 99 cents, or you can snag a bundle of five for $3.99. The robot butler doesn’t count as a dweller and won’t show up in your dweller list, which means a maxed-out vault can still accommodate plenty of Mister Handys. So what’s his deal?
- Mister Handy can be used to collect resources. If you’re getting tired of tapping on rooms’ resource icons to collect them, Mister Handy can relieve that finger-burning burden. When a room finishes production, he’ll float to the icon and touch it to collect it, allowing you to focus on other areas of your vault while still maintaining the bare necessities.
- He’s also a dedicated defender. The Mister Handy you can buy in Fallout Shelter is built just like Fallout 3’s version, with a sawblade arm extension and flamethrower built in. When an incident occurs, Mister Handy will head to the affected room and pitch in, putting out fires or lighting up deathclaws as needed. Since production stops during an incident, defense becomes his #1 priority. There are three great benefits to Mister Handy as a defender:
- 1) He doesn’t take up a dweller spot in a room. This means you can have a six-person room filled with dwellers, and Mister Handy can be your seventh defender. You basically get a bonus fighter.
- 2) He’ll travel to the room automatically. Unlike dwellers that must be assigned to a room under attack, Mister Handy will automatically go to the room in question (as long as it’s on his assigned floor—see below). This means during a deathclaw attack, Mister Handy will follow the speedy jerks as they room-hop without you needing to drag him all over the vault.
- 3) He’s tough. Anyone who used Sergeant RL-3 in Fallout 3 will know that Mister Handy / Gutsy robots have a lot of health. Although you can’t heal Mister Handy with a stimpak, he can take a pretty significant beating with little effect. Our Mister Handy stood up to a pack of deathclaws and only lost about 10% of his health bar, while nearby dwellers were popping stimpaks like candy and still keeling over.
- He can only patrol one floor at a time, however. Despite Mister Handy’s enviable defensive skills, he won’t meet threats on floors other than the one he’s assigned to. (And he’ll only collect resources on that floor, too.) This means Mister Handy is “fit in and forget” only if you’re content with him sticking to a specific floor. If you have him assigned to the third floor, for instance, and deathclaws show up at the vault door, you’ll need to drag him to the first floor to be of any use. The same is true for resources: he’ll collect any on his currently assigned floor, but won’t travel to other floors for pick up. This is why buying multiple Mister Handys is a viable option, although we’ve just been dragging ours around for double duty. Note: like dwellers, if you assign him to a floor during an incident, he will automatically return to his original floor once the incident is resolved.
- You can send him to the Wasteland, but you probably shouldn’t. Mister Handy’s other skill is exploring the Wasteland, similar to the dwellers you send out into the harsh unknown. The benefit to sending Mister Handy is that he won’t take damage in the Wasteland: he avoids all conflict and doesn’t endure radiation poisoning, so he could stay out in the Wastes for weeks without ever being in danger. However, he only collects caps while exploring, and he doesn’t gain EXP (because he doesn’t level up), so the trade-off is losing a really useful defender for the sake of a few free caps. We prefer to keep Mister Handy at home and let the meatbags go caps-hunting, personally.
- Like other IAPs, he’s vault-specific. If you buy a Mister Handy, he’ll be available only to the vault you’re currently in: if you’re playing multiple vaults across the available save files, be sure to enter the one you want to use him in before purchasing.
- So…can he die? As mentioned, Mister Handy is pretty tough, so dropping his health bar all the way to zero is a significant challenge. However, he cannot be healed with stimpaks and doesn’t appear to regenerate health, so it is possible for him to be reduced to parts eventually. If Mister Handy does die, he can be revived with caps just like the rest of your dwellers.
- Wasteland explorers’ finds are now color-coded. When you check in on your Wasteland explorers, the loot they’ve picked up is now color-coded based on rarity. Normal items are in green, rare items will have a blue background, and unique items will be on yellow. This should make selling things off upon return a little easier, and give a quick glance at how your explorers are faring loot-wise.
- Maxed out stimpaks/radaways are outlined in red. It’s a small change, but helpful: in your storage menu, if you’re maxed out on stimpaks or radaways, their item count will be highlighted in red.
- Fires are more dangerous. Previously, fire incidents were basically no threat at all. Now, fires actually cause noticeable damage to even high level dwellers. This change wasn’t included in the official patch notes, so maybe our dwellers are just getting lazy, but we’re teaching fire safety more actively in our vault.
- Objectives are slightly easier. The update claims to have balanced objectives better, and this seems to be true so far. While we were contending with a “make 45 couples dance” challenge pre-update, post-update we’ve been tasked with only getting 10 couples to dance. Less dancing means a happier overseer.
- Fun glitch? We have no idea if this is related to this week’s update or not, but: we visited our secondary vault for the first time in almost two months, just to confirm Mister Handy was not available to it. This vault is at a very early stage, with only eight dwellers. We had apparently sent someone out into the Wasteland and forgotten about him—and yet, lo and behold, upon checking on him today, he was listed as traveling for “56 days,” was totally stocked up on rare blue items, and still alive. He should have died weeks ago. Did the update bring him back to life? Did ignoring his vault give him super-human-strength to go the distance? We’re not sure, but we know this vault is going to be basically deathclaw-proof once he gets back to base in…28 days.
Did we miss anything major? Has your Mister Handy died? Have you encountered the bizarre glitch above? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to Gamezebo for any other Fallout Shelter news!