Released in 2016, Unicube and Team17’s Sheltered was a pixelated survival sim about keeping a family alive in their underground bunker.
Its follow-up, released this week on PC, follows a similar premise. But it’s set 20 years later, and the family element has gone out of the window. Presumably, the children are grown up (or long gone), and nobody in their right mind is willingly starting a family in the apocalypse. Instead, Sheltered 2 puts its emphasis on factions. Your goal is to keep your faction alive and, in order to thrive, form alliances with other factions. The core gameplay will feel familiar to anyone who’s played Sheltered, however; managing your water and food supply in your shelter is paramount, as is expanding and crafting.
Gone is the pixelated art style that made Sheltered feel more approachable. Instead, Sheltered 2 opts for more realistic 3D art which truly emphasises the drabness of your situation. It’s otherwise very similar in a lot of ways, but it feels like a more mature evolution of its predecessor. Is that simply because of its new art style? It’s hard to say, but there’s certainly enough new here for Sheltered 2 to feel like a worthy sequel.
Developing your shelter means crafting items, carving out new rooms, and gradually improving what is available to you. But just covering the basics is your first priority. You’ll already have water and food storage in your shelter when you begin, but you’ll need to build somewhere to sleep, somewhere to wash and somewhere to… you know, poo. Eventually, you’ll be able to craft better, more sustainable items, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
To ensure you’ve got enough materials to continue making improvements – and enough food for your inhabitants to survive – you’ll have to go out on regular scavenging missions. There’s an abandoned camper van on your map to begin with; a great place to learn the basics. But after that, you’ll have to send out your people into the unknown, where they’re likely to encounter hostile survivors or run into other factions.
Your ultimate goal in Sheltered 2, other than survive, is to make allegiances with factions. They’re more powerful than you, and so having them on your side will come in very handy. To do so, you’ll need to run errands for them, and eventually they might warm to you. They might not, either, and so you may have some rivalries on your hands. But hopefully by the time that happens, you’re prepared enough to cope.
We’ve only played a little of Sheltered 2 so far, but we’re looking forward to playing more, winging our way through the apocalypse. If you enjoyed the first Sheltered, we’re confident that this is a worthy sequel; it offers the same sort of addictive shelter management gameplay, with new depth thanks to the focus on factions.
Sheltered 2 is available now on PC. Watch some gameplay in action in our video below: