E3 2015: Can You Survive the Apocalypse in ‘Sheltered’?

There are tons of games out there which cast their stories within a post-apocalyptic setting. Most put you in an action-focused role, taking on those creatures and beings which still lurk the wasteland that was once society. Sheltered takes a more human approach. If you’ve played games such as This War of Mine or 60 Seconds then you’ll have an idea of what this means. In Sheltered, you play as a family of four simply trying to continue living in the horrendous circumstances that surround them. They’re not violent by nature, and are simply hoping that eventually things will work out.

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Sheltered plays out primarily from the, well, shelter in which your family lives. They meander about the building, trying to live through this depression and stress which grows with each passing day. The player controls what people do and when. Do you want to send someone out to scavenge for food or a medkit? Then do so, but you won’t really be able to help them once they’re outside the shelter. At that point it is more up to random stats to determine if something might occur out there, but if something does, you can typically affect it (for better or worse).

Players must be careful to monitor their family, as well as any new characters who may be brought into their home in Sheltered. After all, it seems that despite the instinct to survive, most players will still be kind enough to help NPCs in need. The only issue with increasing the amount of people in your shelter is that it will expend more resources. After all, with more people you’ve got to provide more food. Given limited resources this is the last thing anyone wants. Well, maybe not the very last thing. Having one of the family members die is by far the worst, even though it lessens the strain for food.

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It’s odd to see these desperate scenarios played out all via pixel art, but somehow it works. Done more as a stylistic move than to realistically recreate 8 or 16-bit restrictions, players see the desolate landscape outside their shelter in all its frightening glory. As for the characters themselves, their emotions are conveyed despite a lack of graphical fanciness. In the case that you’re not sure about a character’s state, though, you can always check out the various stat meters for them. In all, the graphics prove a good differentiator between this title and others with a similar post-apocalyptic survival theme.

You might recall that Sheltered is also set to be one of the first games on Xbox One’s “Early Access” program. This means it is going to have a serious amount of attention very soon. Hopefully this leads to a growing community around the game, because it is shaping up to be a great, if challenging, title. Sheltered will be available on PC and Xbox One at some point, as neither the Early Access period or official release window have been revealed just yet.