We don’t really cover too many mobile and tablet games on TSA, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy playing them, and 2015 has seen a lot of great mobile games.
We’ve seen the likes of Lara Croft Go follow on from Hitman Go with another excellent adaption by Square Enix, there was The Room Three, the fantastically retro Downwell, and plenty more besides. Of course, the mobile market was plagued by the usual complaints that are levelled at the free to play business model, but even that can be handled well and was something which our winner overcame.
Fallout Shelter appeared out of nowhere. Midway through discussing Fallout 4 during their first ever E3 press conference, Todd Howard took us off on a tangent to talk about a little mobile game that Bethesda had also been working on.
While Fallout Shelter borrowed ideas from other games like FTL and Progression Quest, what this resource management game did so well was bringing them into a cohesive whole, with a sprinkling of the quirky charm of the Fallout series’ Vault-Tec propaganda machine. The game tasks you with managing all aspects of Vault life, from what job a person has to their training, wilderness expeditions and, yes, even lets you play matchmaker in a bizarrely simplistic fashion.
As a free to play game, microtransactions are there to buy additional lunch boxes full of items and rewards – helping the game to quickly climb the Top Grossing charts on iTunes – but they never intrude, and there’s almost always something to do from one minute to the next to help your shelter grow and expand without their assistance. It’s that compelling and addictive gameplay loop which propelled Fallout Shelter to win our award.
Runners up in alphabetical order:
- Lara Croft Go
- Lumino City
- Pac-Man 256