Surviving in the post-apocalypse isn’t easy, as every game, book, movie and television show set there will tell you, but even when you’re wandering the wastes in Fallout 3, you still only really have to worry about yourself. It would be a lot different if you were dragging your wife and kids along with you. Suddenly a quick jaunt through a high radiation area or skirmish with a rad roach wouldn’t seem such a grand idea.
And so along comes Sheltered, the game that will show you just how hard it is to survive with your family tagging along. Luckily you won’t have to be trekking across the desolation with them, as you have a relatively safe shelter to leave them in. Or you could of course, always send your children out to search for supplies. What good are kids if you can’t put them to work anyway? Well, you could always eat them.
Cannibalism is always an option in Sheltered; should you find one of your residents has kicked the bucket, feel free to stuff your pantry with their body parts. It’s tough surviving in the post-apocalypse, so you might as use everything to your advantage.
You start out with your family of four, plus the family pet, in a small and mostly empty underground bunker. You have the basics, air, water, power, but if you want a luxury like a toilet, you’ll have to craft it.
In order to make your shelter more livable, you’ll have to go exploring. Sending out members of your family you’ll find supplies in buildings you can carry back. You may also run into other survivors, some friend, others foe. You can recruit more people to come join you, but more people mean more drain on your limited supplies. It’s forever a balance of survivors and supplies.
As you add to your roster, you’ll need more space. Luckily you can build more rooms to hold your crafted items. Showers, beds, toilets, storage, even a jukebox. Don’t underestimate how much your survivors will need to be clean and entertained. You may just discover one of your crew has dropped dead because you refused to build a shower to drain your precious water resource. Oh well, more food for the pantry.
If you ever get annoyed telling Bob to get a drink or use the bucket every single time he needs to use it, you can automate each of your bunker inhabitants by selecting them individually and pressing the ‘home’ button. You may just want to keep closer tabs on your food and water situation, lest Paul uses up the last of your water showering because he got a bit of dirt under his nails.
Sheltered is currently in Early Access and it shows. Controls are buggy, it can be hard to get out of popups and sometimes it seems impossible to actually control your survivors. The game undeniably shows promise, though, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here.
Just don’t forget to feed the cat.