Sheltered (PC) Preview

By Brandon Howard 17.03.2016 1

Review for Sheltered on PC

A survival game from developer Unicube and published by Team17, Sheltered is - initially - focused on a family of four trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world. Against the odds of dwindling resources and an ever harsh environment, this group must use all of their resources to simply stay alive. Initially brought to Steam's Early Access back in August of 2015, Cubed3 takes a look at what's come so far to it.

Much in the same vein as This War of Mine, with a atmosphere reminiscent of the Fallout series, Sheltered sets ordinary people against the dangers of a hostile outside world. While the setting isn't exactly the same, the focus remains so: survival. With few resources, and fewer bodies, the challenge is simply to stay alive for as long as possible, doing whatever it takes to prevent tragedy.

To start off, the initial four member family can be customized with a variety of appearances and skill sets. It's definitely a nice touch, and it allows for overtones of realism by entering friends and family - or realized fantasy - in a pinch. Regardless of motivations behind naming and stylising these characters, they can each be outfitted with some basic preset personality traits, along with some basic traits that affect stats, which in turn influence how they perform various tasks around the shelter and surrounding wasteland.

Screenshot for Sheltered on PC

Ultimately, the amount of repetition involved in these chores ends up wearing the experience down a bit. Each member of the family can be assigned to various tasks; building new items, such as a bed or shower, or fixing and upgrading the water collector or generator to ward off the inevitability of death. Each action takes a certain amount of time, represented by a slowly moving bar across the top of a characters head. The actions are necessary for survival, but Sheltered never comes out and give a reason to feel emotionally invested in these characters.

In addition to the initial four person nuclear family, other refugees can be found on expeditions that characters can embark on - the one time that there's a visual breakaway from the main shelter, since each encounter brings up a small view of the area where the expedition team comes across a situation. Using judgement of the current party, the choice must be made of how exactly to best approach the situation, taking into account stats, current resources, and the overall needs of the group.

Though other characters can be recruited, and while that process does take some of the action away from the shelter, most of the time characters will just end up taking turns repairing, upgrading, exploring, and surviving in what becomes a very set routine. While certain events such as raids on the base can shake things up a bit, these events feel very random and unpreventable, especially early on. While a feeling of hopelessness isn't out of place thematically, it doesn't end up feeling rewarding based on the gameplay.

Screenshot for Sheltered on PC

Final Thoughts

Sheltered doesn't feel particularly engaging at times, and it's hard to feel like any actual progression is taking place. A lot of the time, it's just getting into a cycle of managing the base while ensuring the supplies don't run out. Since the characters have few definable personalities or backgrounds, there's little to no motivation for ensuring their continued survival, other than leaderboards and bragging rights. In conclusion: it can be a good way to pass the time, but there isn't much of an experience to be had. There's definitely ways to improve this, but it still has a ways to go.

Developer

Unicube

Publisher

Team17

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Looks like a fun game, reminds me of Another World.

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