‘Fallout Shelter’ Review: A Humble Dwelling


Fallout Shelter, the game that has knocked Candy Crush Saga down the App Store’s top grossing charts, has understandably been hitting the headlines, but is it actually any good?

It can’t be denied that part of the appeal is the sheer hype that Bethesda has conjured up with their announcement of Fallout 4, and the amount of fans are yearning for something new in the post-apocalyptic world it’s set in. Blatantly this isn’t a first person shooter though, it’s something that couldn’t really live anywhere else but on mobile devices, and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

It’s good in the sense that a Fallout bunker is a great fit for the building sim genre, and the kitsch, old-school feel of the universe is present here, as is the character of the wasteland itself, with its various inhabitants and dangers posing a constant threat.

Each character has different stats, and is better suited to certain tasks around the vault, whether it be in the water plant, diner or power station, everyone has a role to play. Progression comes from levelling up Dwellers, churning out collecting resources, and generally keeping people happy. If this starts to disintegrate then lights will shut off, people will get grumpy and the whole system will collapse.

You can attribute names to Dwellers, which is a great touch and makes you care for them even more (in the same way Organ Trail did). Or you can throw them outside to fend for themselves while looking for supplies, if you’ve named them after someone you dislike, for example. They chat away and occasionally repopulate, and when you send them out into the Wasteland, you naturally want to check on them to make sure they don’t die.

Luckily there are Lunchboxes, which are provided sporadically throughout the game and after completing tasks, and are easily the best source of gear. Whether it’s extra Caps (the currency for constructing new rooms), extra power or just better equipment for the Dwellers to venture out, these little treasure chests are a welcome gift when they arrive. So that’s exactly why they’re also available as an in-app purchase. While Bethesda has said you don’t need to pay-to-win, circumstances in the Vault can often be so dire that you seriously consider it.

Overall, it can become a bit of a grind after the game stops being so generous, and while it has some nice ideas (Raider attacks and Radroach infestations), I had to ask myself why I was still playing. Yes I wanted to look after my little community, but the satisfaction that was supposd to come from the constant attention I was paying them wasn’t really there. Bethesda have created a refined building sim that has a great sense of humour about it, with great layers of depth and attention to detail, and regularly keeps players guessing. However, it’s also a game that can’t help but fall into the pitfalls of free-to-play gaming, by making things tougher for players who don’t want to fork out cash to keep up.

Pull the Trigger:

– If you’re a Fallout fan.

– If you liked Tiny Tower but wish it went downwards.

– For an excellent visual style, with great detail when zoomed in.

– For gaming without the need for an internet connection.


– If don’t like these community building games that are ten-a-penny, ask for money in some way, and will consume your life.

Rating: 7.5/10

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