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Fallout Shelter review

On August 21, 2015 by Aaron Meehan

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Fallout Shelter is a strategy and simulation free to play game that has you take on the role of a vault overseer. As an overseer, you are tasked with maintaining and developing your vault. The goal of the game is to add a variety of rooms that provide power, food, water, and more, all while keeping its dwellers happy.

Fallout Shelter is not a complicated game with each action just a simple click away. The level of interaction is minimal as all you need to do is create rooms, have dwellers work in them, and then after an allotted period of time click on the room to gather resources. It is all very simple with the game at times feeling like a simple Facebook game as there is no real point in having the game constantly running. After playing the game for a while I thought off the perfect way to describe the game, monotonous yet strangely addictive. While the game doesn’t require you to constantly play the game I couldn’t help, but be pulled back in to collect resources. For example, since I starting playing Fallout Shelter my morning routine now includes checking up on my vault and collecting resources.

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So I’ve mentioned resources a few times, so what are they? Well, there is essentially one main resource, which in true Fallout style are caps. Caps are earned by exploring the wasteland and levelling up your dwellers, and they are essential to growing your vault as all buildings and upgrades cost caps. There are also three other resources in the game: power, food, and water. These three resources are used to keep your vault running and are gained by building specific rooms. For example to gain power you need dwellers working in power generator rooms, and if you run low on power than rooms begin to shut down.

Speaking of dwellers, dwellers are gained in several different ways: items from a lunch box (will get to this later), finding people in the wasteland with a radio building, or getting two existing dwellers to have a child. Also, you can’t just throw dwellers into any room you feel like as (well you technically can, but I wouldn’t recommend it) the production time in reach room is determined by the workers stats, so for example in the power generation room you would want to have dwellers who have strength as their highest stat in the room (the higher the stat the faster the resource is gathered).

With the primary focus of the game being to look after your dweller you will sometimes have to explore the world outside the vault, and so to that end you can send out a dweller on an exploration. The exploration aspect is pretty simple, you send a dweller out and you receive updates on his/her progress via a text box. Exploration is an important part of the game as it is the most direct way to acquire new weapons, armour, and a few spare bottle caps, but you better be careful as your dweller might not make it back, so be sure to give him/her enough radaways and stimpacks as there are more than enough nasty creatures out in the wasteland.

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While dwellers can leave the safety of the vault, creatures and people can also attack your vault. At various points in the game raiders while attempt attack the vault and radroaches and moles will dig their way into your vault. To protect yourself from these attacks you must arm your dwellers and have them fight back any invasion. For the few days, I have played Fallout Shelter I’ve never once lost a dweller to an attack, which really makes me see these attacks as more of a nuisance than anything else.

So, nuclear war has destroyed civilization, you are stuck underground in a vault and you are constantly on alert for attacks, how do the dwellers in the vault react? Well surprising well as they chat and joke as though they don’t have a care in the world. If you click through each room you might catch dwellers gossiping, talking about how great they are at their job, playing cards, wondering about the outside world, and of course praising you -the overseer.

You might wonder what incentives does the game offer to make you want to continue building? Well, the game offers a series of rewards. These rewards include daily reports that give a certain number of caps depending on how happy your dwellers are, and objectives that have you do specific tasks such as “raise any SPECIAL stat of 10 dwellers”, “sell 4 weapons or outfits”, equip certain weapons, gather x amount of resources etc. these objectives reward you with caps and on occasion lunch boxes. Lunchboxes give players 4 Fallout Shelter cards (one guaranteed rare or better card), these cards contain rewards such as extra resources, dwellers, weapons, armours, and caps. However, lunchbox rewards appear to get rarer and rarer the more you play the game.

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If you don’t want to wait for objectives to reward you with a lunchbox, you can simply buy them. Yes, like all free to play games Fallout Shelter has micro-transactions. The Fallout Shelter shop offers players two types of lunchboxes: Mr. Handy lunchboxes and regular lunchboxes. The Mr. Handy lunchboxes give players a Mr. Handy robot that patrols sections of your vault collecting resources and helping to defeat invaders (you could say it is a very handy robot). The regular lunchboxes simply act like the reward lunchboxes by providing the player with extra resources, dwellers, weapons, armours, and caps. Lunchboxes cost between €1.11 and €22.34. One box is €1.11 while 40 boxes is €22.34 (you can also buy in packs of 5 and 15; however with Mr. handy boxes are only available in ones or fives.). The lunchboxes are a huge help to players who want to grow their vault quickly, but honestly I don’t see any need to buy the boxes as the game doesn’t punish you for not spending any money. Personally I like this approach to free to play micro-transactions where players have the option of buying the boxes or simply earning them by completing rewards.

When it comes to issues, there is only one that stands out and that is the game’s load time. It takes more than 30 seconds get from the enter vault button to the game (it would be longer if you included straight from opening the application). The load time might be quicker on other devices (I played the game on a Samsung Galaxy S3).


Fallout Shelter is a monotonous yet strangely addictive game. The game is easy to play, but it requires you to be constantly long because if you don’t collect resources the dwellers don’t do anything.

Score: 7/10


+ Decent free to play business model
+ True to the Fallout lore

– Long load times
– You have to personally click each room to collect rewards
– Vault attacks are more a nuisance than a threat.

Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Bethesda Game Studios Bethesda Softworks Simulation 12+ iOS, Android (played) June 14, 2015 (iOS)
August 13, 2015 (Android)

For more information on Fallout Shelter, visit www.falloutshelter.com.

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.

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