Sheltered is an independent game being developed Unicube and published by Team-17. Last year, it had a successful Kickstarter campaign drawing in over 30,000 pounds, and now looks like it’s really coming into its own. For one thing, compared to the original pitch, which featured basic 8-bit sprites, the graphics are now definitely superior, with detailed but retro character designs and surprisingly fluid animation.
You create a family out of any combination of genders (two dads or two mums is no problem here), with parents, kids and a pet (a cat or a dog – cats being better hunters and dogs being better for stress relief). This family takes cover in a fallout shelter after a non-specific giant apocalyptic disaster has occurred. Initially, this shelter only contains a few rooms, an air filter, meagre supplies and some radiation suits, but with time you can transform it into a fighting chance for survival.
You can send out your characters to the surface to repair parts of the shelter or lay traps. They can also be sent out on expeditions to scavenge for supplies or food. Similar to games like ‘A Dark Room’, you’ll need to make sure they have enough water and food to survive the trip themselves. On these expeditions, you can encounter other survivors – some may want to attack you for your supplies, but others may be sympathetic and may want to join your family unit (in the demo, we accepted to move the story along, but you can refuse if their stats are too pathetic to be worth your time).
One of the major goals in the game is reconstructing a van outside the shelter, by using parts you scavenge and trade for while exploring. It will take time, but with the van your ability to travel the wasteland will be vasty expedited. The game is open-ended, but narratively dramatic situations will arise depending on your actions and the situations the game throws at you. For instance, you might be starving and running low on food – but you might have one too many people in the shelter. Do you cannibalise one of them, and if so, who? It’s probably time to start watching Hannibal for pointers.
There’s a lot of depth here to be uncovered, along with a charming art style and a narrative that pops up every now and then to add flavour and gravitas to the proceedings. The game is up on Steam Greenlight if you want to check it out for yourself, especially if the recent Fallout Shelter game has whet your appetite for apocalyptic survival.