Fallout shelter tips and tricks
Bethesda's Fallout Shelter remains one of our favourite mobile games of the year - despite some fairly hefty flaws and a frustrating lack of end-game.
We're hoping that the success of this freemium offering means that Bethesda will fix the issues (Deathclaws and Mole rats really don't cut it, guys), but that hasn't stopped us religiously checking in to gather the latest weapons and outfits ever since it arrived.
So, if you're new to the game or you've been playing for a while, here are our favourite tips and tricks.
Don't buy anything*
We're suckers for rewarding companies that do good freemium games with a few of our hard-earned pennies, but outside of giving a little back there really is no justifiable reason to fork out for lunchboxes or Mr Handys in Fallout Shelter.
By the time you get to the still depressingly underdeveloped end-game you are likely to have a glut of people idly standing outside of your door from the lunchboxes you have picked up on the way but who are tens of levels behind anyone else you have in your 200 vault dwellers, and generally well behind in SPECIAL as well.
*unless you want to
Dying isn't the end
We're not getting all theological on you - it's just that you can easily bring back your dwellers for a few thousand caps and you'll be hitting the 'cap cap' of 999,999 relatively quickly.
So - if you're facing rampant deathclaws or multiple mole rats, don't panic if you can't click on the right person to give them a stimpack, it's literally not the end. We're fairly sure most of our dwellers have had a bit of a glimpse of the afterlife.
Using a SPECIAL star to check your rooms
Sometimes it's hard when you have a busy Vault to work out who you've upgraded and what rooms you have moved people in and out of without visiting each and every one. You'll have noticed that when you are moving people if you hold them over a room you will get a plus or minus or simply a number if their are fewer people than the room can take.
Out tip is to take one of your full SPECIAL superstars (10 in each of the categories) put them in a Vault Suit and then drag them from room to room and seeing if they are a + or a 10, making it easy to make a note of the rooms that still need improvement.
Don't hoard +3 suits and low damage weapons
At the start of the game you'll be scrabbling for outfits and weapons - but pretty soon you'll upgrading from any old suit to the relevant +3 for each room, and then you'll be going for +4 +1 suits and +5s, and then you'll be finally grabbing the odd +7.
Get training as soon as possible
The best chance of success out and about comes from the best SPECIAL stats and the best equipment. it takes some time, but taking one of your favourite dwellers from their humble roots to a 70 SPECIAL superstar is one of the pleasures of the game.
You'll need to create the various rooms to train each SPECIAL stat - but you won't ever rue building them so factor them in nice and early.
Try sending out a level 1, full SPECIAL dweller
Every time the dweller dings to a new level, its health gets reset - so with a bit of luck and a prevailing wind, sending out a level 1 superstar with full SPECIAL, a fatboy, 25 stims, 25 radaways and a +7 outfit should give you one of the longest 'dwell times' (sorry) and a chance at some great kit.
Endurance, luck, intelligence and strength are key
You'll find by the end-game that you are only building Nuka Cola (which need endurance, nuclear reactors (which need strength), labs for the RadAways and stimpacks (which need intelligence) and occasionally rushing rooms which are helped by a healthy +luck. Perception and agility are useful at the outset but, from a vault point of view, become less vital as you shift to the better rooms.
Managing an accidental drag
We've all been trying to collect some essentials from various rooms when we've realised that we've somehow dragged a dweller from overseer-knows-where. Well - rather than laboriously dragging them back through every room you may have grabbed them from simply drag them off into the ground at either side and it will cancel the whole thing.
Think carefully where you put your rooms
You'll hit the point where you're destroying rooms to replace them with something more important, so make sure that you think about where they sit. This is even more important when you hit the cap because you cannot create or destroy living quarters - which means you will be left with room that you cannot get to to destroy because you'd have to bulldoze living quarters to do so.
Do your own experiments and enjoy them
This is your playground and a lot of the fun that you extract will be of your own making - whether its collecting enough nightwear to have the mother of all pyjama parties, or making sure that every single person has a gauss gun. Fill your +1 boots.
Storage is really important
You'll need reserves of power, water and food and you'll need plenty of storage for the influx of explorers that you'll wake up to in the morning. Even then you'll perfect the rapid tap to sell method so that you can get everyone in and back out again.
Put serious weaponry in your vault door
The irritating deathclaws will run right through - but a couple of rocket launchers and some level 50 full SPECIAL guards (and fortifying your door) means that the majority of the raider attacks won't get very far at all.
Survival mode is no cakewalk
Survival mode, added to the game during Patch 1.2 back in October 2015, is basically a hardcore version of the game where the decisions you make are even more important. Playing Survival mode can be just as much fun as a regular game of Fallout Shelter, but you have to take into account the greater risks involved.
The biggest factor to consider is permadeath: in true Fallout fashion, if your residents die in Survival mode then that's it. No revivals, no second chances. Death. So make sure you keep an eye on resources because they will be dropping at a much faster rate than before.
However, on the upshot, Raiders now drop equipment when defeated so best hope they're carrying the goods.
Back up your save to the Fallout Shelter cloud
Okay, this one might sound like the most common advice for any activity on an electronic device, but the addition of cloud saves is easily one of the biggest changes to the Fallout Shelter experience.
So to reiterate - back it up to the cloud! Being able to keep your vault's progress safe is a godsend considering the risk of losing all those hours of progress if your tablet or smartphone kicks the bucket.
Better yet, that supporting cloud service means you can download your progress from one device to another. Playing at home on your iPad, but now want to keep your Dwellers happy while on your lunchbreak? Now you can - just remember that some characters, such as the iOS-exclusive Piper are platform specific and won't transfer over to incompatible devices.
Use pets to keep your Dwellers upbeat
Pets, added at the end of 2015 as part of Update 1.3, aren't just there to be hella cute - they also play an important role in boosting certain stats for your Dwellers. Pets, in canine, avian and feline form, can't be assigned to individual Dwellers but they can be assigned to rooms, giving all the inhabitants inside a relative bonus. Up to two can be added to a given room, meaning you should choose the right boosts for the right tenants.
These pets come in regular and legendary (rare) versions, with the legendary ones getting a slightly higher boost so keep your eye out for certain breeds. The cat breed Maine Coon and dog breed Black Lab boost training time, Bombay and Rottweiler boost health and Scottish Fold and Boxer increase XP.
Look out for these breeds to boost these key areas. Parrots were added in Update 1.4, offering another animal aspect to your Vault that works in much the same way.
Transform your Vault with the power of crafting
Last month, Update 1.4 brought one of the biggest new additions to Fallout Shelter: crafting! With the introduction of junk as a consumable item from lunch boxes, you can now craft your own in-game gear, rather than hoping you'll get some from dropped Raiders and the like.
Bethesda has added new rooms to Fallout Shelter, namely the Weapon and Armour crafting rooms, and it's here you'll be able to turn junk into useful items and weaponry. When you send Dwellers out into the Wasteland to search for resources, they'll now pick up junk as well to help your crafting.
Make sure you pick up recipes (read: blueprints) which will help you craft a variety of new items. Oh and upgrade your crafting rooms to unlock the ability to craft legendary items.
Enjoy the journey
There is no endgame so once you hit the cap all the fun and games(!) of reproduction disappear, you'll start to focus much more on upgrading than production, and you'll have a conga queue of people stood outside your vault who will never make the cut. It's a brilliant game - but it does lose all its momentum pretty quickly.
Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content. After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.