‘Fallout Shelter’ falls short of franchise quality standards

“Fallout Shelter” was simultaneously announced and released last month at Bethesda’s Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference, the video game industry’s biggest press event.

This is a mobile game played on iOS platforms and developed by Bethesda Game Studios, the fabled makers of “Fallout 3” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”


“Fallout Shelter” is a simulation game taking place in the Fallout universe, which is a post-apocalyptic America hundreds of years into the future. The world’s leaders destroyed the planet by nuclear warfare, but before the bombs were dropped, a company called Vault-Tec created a series of underground vaults serving as safe havens from the nuclear blasts and radiation. As the player, you are the overseer of your own vault.

As overseer, you are in charge of building and expanding your vault, generating resources and managing the people, called dwellers.

A myriad of rooms can be built for different uses and purposes. The three resources you manage, power, food and water, are developed from three different types of rooms. Other rooms can be used to upgrade the statistics of your dwellers, store items or produce more dwellers.

The rooms built are pointless unless dwellers are in them.

Each person has a name, item slots and statistics. The statistics your dwellers have determine what room they are most productive in. If they are high in strength, they are better at working in a power plant. If they are best at perception, they are most useful in a water treatment plant.

This is important to manage properly because if dwellers are assigned to the wrong rooms, they are not as efficient at generating the resources needed to keep the vault running smoothly. If you fail at this, consequences such as poor dweller health and loss of power to vital rooms can arise.

Resource production can be sped up by using the rush feature, which has dwellers quickly generate more resources per room. But, this can backfire and if it does, the room will be set on fire or invaded by radioactive giant insects.


Dwellers can also be sent to the surface to explore the wasteland. This is risky because they can be killed while doing so. But, the reward is worth it because as they explore, they gather caps, the game’s currency, as well as items dwellers can be equipped with to boost their statistics.

The ultimate objective is to keep the vault running efficiently while working toward personal long-term goals such as unlocking more rooms and leveling up dwellers’ statistics.

“Fallout Shelter” is free to download and everything can be accessed in the game without charge. But, you can pay to unlock lunch boxes with four random items inside, one of them guaranteed to be a valuable. This is a quicker way to progress and upgrade the vault and dwellers but is not necessary to enjoy the game.

Another plus is the visual style of the game. All the dwellers in the vault are different versions of the classic Vault Boy mascot of the franchise, which is a very nice touch to the artistic design of the game.

While the game is a great idea, you realize fairly quick it is lacking after diving into the gameplay. It was a blast to play the first few days. However, by the third or fourth day I realized there was not much else to do than what I had done already.

The gameplay they have already is fun, with very few flaws, but it has no depth. The long-term goals have you repeatedly doing the same thing with little to no variation.

Unfortunately, this is pretty damning to the product’s quality. Having such shallow depth ruins the overall enjoyment and motivation to keep playing despite how fun it is at first.

Overall, if you have an iPhone you have no reason to not check it out. It is completely free and a fun little distraction.

3 out of 5 stars