Sheltered – Review
Follow Genre: Survival, Management, Strategy
Developer: Unicube, Team 17 Digital Ltd
Publisher: Team 17 Digital Ltd
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: Xbox One

Sheltered – Review

Site Score
8.4
Good: Mechanics, Atmosphere
Bad: Luck is a big factor
User Score
9.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)

Last year presented us with several great survival/management games, with This War of Mine, which received a perfect score on our site, and Fallout Shelter, which combined the quirkiness of the Fallout series with management elements. While both of these games were heavily cheered upon, there was a third contender slowly finishing up their title, which brings us now to Sheltered, where you’ll have to play with a randomized family of four in a pixilated world that’s gone down the shitter and where it’s a dog eat dog scenario. Survive another day becomes quite realistic, especially when you can do pretty much everything in order to keep your family alive, even if it means munching on random strangers to get those much desired nutrients in your body.

Sheltered

Story

The world has gone to hell and that’s pretty much all you know and all you need to know, as it’s highly likely when everything has been blown up all around you that you didn’t receive a memo of it happening either. At the beginning of each of your survival attempts you’ll be able to make a family of four, consisting out of two adults and two children and you’ll simply have to manage and make do with the people you have got. From here on out it’s improvisation that will reign supreme as there will be no more subtext and you’ll have to choose what actions are best to keep your family alive. Barter with strangers, allow people in your sanctuary to strengthen the ranks and perhaps even eat them later, hunt, scavenge, kill or be killed, it’s all up to you.

Graphics

Sheltered brings out the best in a pixilated graphics, especially when it comes to diversity, appeal and fluent motions of the characters. The only remark that could be given is the fact that your characters and those that roam around in the barren remains of the world have hardly any facial features, if they actually have any at all. Other than that, your own personal shelter looks grim and barebones, until you start filling it with people and items you construct, each having their own distinct features.

Sheltered 1

Outside of your safe zone you’ll be treated to a variety of different environments, albeit in the form of a static background. While you will encounter a few different backdrops, there are many that you will come across more than once. Nonetheless, these all share the same retro-inspired style, with enough detail to make you enjoy the post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

Sound

A tranquil yet eerie score will accompany you from when you take up residence in your shelter until the day you will unavoidably die. The music does not alternate that much but it is often only barely noticeable, adding up to the silence of a destroyed world, where life is scarce and laying low is a key element of survival. Sound effects are rather simple, but they do the trick.

Sheltered 2

Gameplay

Sheltered is a survival/management game where your key objective will be to ride out the apocalypse, which will end up being a struggle to survive as long as possible. Scavenge, hunt, trade, kill, cannibalism and crafting will all pass the revue whether you like it or not.

Before diving inside your shelter, you’ll have to create a family of four, consisting out of two adults and two children, while being able to choose out of several different options, granting you some possibilities concerning their personality and talents. Every character will have a trait, which might suit your play style, making them stronger in combat, consume less food or stay clean for longer periods of time. Their stats are also important and can often be combined with their trait, thus you’ll have the chance to try out different combinations. All characters will also receive a negative ability, a.k.a. their weakness, which often does the exact opposite of the positive points you are able to choose from. After you’ve created your ideal survival family, you also get to choose from several different pets, which can help you in combat, keep your bunker clean, reduce stress or help you travel and explore faster.

Sheltered 3

Right off the bat you’ll have to fend for yourself, by making your bunker a viable living space, with the necessary commodities such as a shower, toilet, food cabinets and water storage. Food and water will immediately pose as the most difficult necessity to come by at the beginning of your game, especially if your randomly spawned surroundings have hardly anything to offer. After that it’s often weighing down choices such as whether you have the room to recruit new members, if you should engage in combat or run home with your tail between your legs or simply what your own personal survival shack will need next in order to create more comfort or allow you to survive longer.

Holing up in your private sanctuary is not a good idea, especially seeing you’ll need supplies and food in order to stay alive. This means you’ll constantly be out searching for stuff in the vicinity, slowly expanding your search area each time you gain more and more supplies. As you’ll need enough water to make longer trips, you’ll have to upgrade your water storage and thus you’ll be limited to searching around the block at the beginning of your survival attempt. Exploring will not only grant you a chance of getting new items, but also encounters with other survivors, who may or may not be friendly. Some will want to join you, other want to trade with you while some will try to kill you, hoping they will be able to steal your precious loot. Recruiting strangers can help you explore, or even enforce your base but they will also consume water and food, thus you’ll have to make gut wrenching decisions from time to time, especially when you’re a good Samaritan by heart.

Sheltered 4

The game is all about luck, meaning encounters are random, just like the supplies you’ll find on your way. If you’re unlucky you’ll immediately encounter a bear and lose one of your characters because he is mauled to death. If you get the question to get involved with encounters, it’s always best to decide what you wish to do yourself, instead of letting your NPC characters handle themselves. If all of your family members perish, it’s game over, even if you still have a dozen recruits living inside your bunker.

Control and mechanics wise things can be compared to games such as ‘The Sims’, as you’ll have to assign all of your characters with specific tasks and even remind them when they have to eat, drink, take medicine, sleep, go to the toilet and even tell them when their bodily odor is off the charts. The game however allows you to set your characters on autopilot when it comes to these trivial tasks, but this also means that they will drain your food and water more rapidly if they have the munchies, instead of dragging certain situations out longer, if you wish to be a bit more conservative. Thus you’ll have to keep an eye out for status effects, especially when you are doing everything manually. A lack of vigilance may cause someone with food poisoning or radiation disease to die and traumatize the other. Overall everything runs smoothly on the Xbox One version we tried, but it’s clear a game like this is a bit easier to play with mouse and keyboard instead of a controller.

Sheltered 5

Conclusion

Sheltered is a healthy dose of survival, a mix of luck and a pinch of management that will please enthusiasts of the genre. While the game can be utterly frustrating if luck isn’t on your side, there are many combinations to try out, many different tactics and a lot of items to build. You’ll struggle to hang on as long as possible and perhaps even grieve alongside the remaining family members when someone dies. Captivating, frustrating, charming, grim and many more opposites will head your way when playing this one.

 

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Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Sheltered - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

2 Comments

  1. […] PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Android. You can read the review of this website here. This game is available digitally via the Nintendo eShop, priced at £9.99/$14.99/€14.99 with a […]

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  2. 3rd-strike.com | Sheltered (Switch) – Review
    January 8, 2019, 12:01 am

    […] strikes in the cold, damp cellar of death. Sheltered already had a large release in 2016 and we reviewed it then. Now, we step into the shelter of the Switch version and see how long we can […]

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