Review : Fallout Shelter

 It’s not often an iOS game gets as much attention as Fallout Shelter has, but believe us when we say it’s justified! Along with Bethesda’s recent announcement of Fallout 4, fans of the series have been spoiled with the release of  Fallout Shelter, a mobile game where you get to be overseer of your very own vault. Not familiar with the Fallout Series? Not to worry, Fallout Shelter requires no prior knowledge to play. All you really need to know is you’re in a post-apocalyptic world in the grips of a horrendous nuclear fallout. Strange and hideous creatures roam the world and you need to protect your dwellers, raise resources and explore what remains of the outside world. 

Fallout Shelter is a free-mium game, meaning you can complete for free but the game experience can be sped up, made easier, or improved by purchases. Fallout doesn’t have a separate premium currency like The Simpsons Tapped Out, but you can make purchases of lunch boxes which give you four cards with bonuses. Cards might be resources, weapons, dwellers or bottle caps and at least one card will be rare. In the latest update they’ve also introduced Mr. Handy, a purchasable companion who scoots between rooms collecting resources, or who can be sent out into the wasteland. Fallout Shelter is easy to play without purchase but the boost you can get from lunch boxes can be significant in the early game.

Game mechanics are much like other tower games. You build down a series of rooms, assigning dwellers to each based on their SPECIAL. SPECIAL stands for strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck. Get enough dwellers and you unlock more rooms and can even get training rooms to develop each stat, like a weight room to train strength. If you’re feeling brave or foolhardy enough, you can send dwellers out into the wasteland to scavenge, there they’ll collect caps and equipment with better loot from staying out longer and defeating harder enemies. Consider yourself warned, if you leave your dweller too long they may just perish and need to be revived!


Fallout Shelter is a game full of charm and quirk. It has all the 1950’s post-war inspired references that litter the series and all the humour you’d expect from Bethesda. They’ve given us some great outfits and your dwellers just say the darnedest things sometimes. There’s some great compilations going round too, just like this one.        

The rhythm of the game is perfect if you want something you can pick up and play when you a have a moment, but won’t punish you for long absences. Your vault only uses resources for a short period after you close the app, so it should be about the same as you left it when you next go in. You obviously don’t want a whole vault of children who suddenly become adults when you next log in but it’s certainly doable. Equipping dwellers with clothing and weaponry can maximise skills and defence, and you can upgrade rooms to maximise production efficiency. It’s easy to manage the skills of your dwellers to put them in the right rooms (like high strength dweller to energy rooms, agile dwellers to food and so on). You can also pair them off to increase your population with children taking on some of the traits of the parents. Mating rituals have gotten kinda weird mind you – some cheesy pick up lines, leopard print and a sort of wiggling dance ending in immediate copulation. Now I think about it perhaps it isn’t that different from a night out at the local club.   

There’s recently been an update to increase the random events and conflict in your vault. As well as the original raider attacks, radroaches and fire which can randomly strike, you now have to tackle mole rats and and death claws. The death claws are particularly heinous, streaming through your vault quickly and killing any low level dwellers quick smart. When you have a big enough vault it’s fun to watch them make their way through and see how far they make it, but reviving and reassigning dwellers can be a pain! 

You could play the game normally, trying to maximise resources and happiness, or you could deny any semblance of humanity (hey it’s a post-apocalyptic world after all!) and go all evil overseer on your unsuspecting dwellers. It’s particularly fun assigning all male or all female rooms, seeing how long new dwellers can last in the wasteland sans weapon as a kind of vault initiation. Pregnant women and children will run around screaming in any kind of emergency so if you really want to cause havoc send all able-bodied dwellers into the wasteland and see what happens. There’s a lot of arm waving going on that’s for sure!
Fallout Shelter is a must for fans of the series and lovers of a good mobile game!

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