Since the debut of Fallout Shelter at Bethesda’s E3 2015 conference, players all around the world have fallen prey to the addicting, yet highly rewarding iOS game.
Meant to replicate the themes of the original Fallout series, Fallout Shelter encompasses the classic vintage style of its predecessors. In Fallout Shelter, you will control your own vault as Overseerer. Your dwellers will scavenge the wasteland and work vigorously in labs and plants; all the while supplying you with revenue to be spent on upgrades, living spaces and other vault accommodations.
Fallout Shelter is free-to-play, which is where most players jump off the hype train. However, unlike most free-to-play games, you don’t necessarily need to pay to win. Rather than buying bottle caps or other items with your own money, you purchase vault-tech lunch boxes which come with a small set of collectible cards inside, all of which are random. These cards can grant you with extra food, high-level dwellers, water, energy, weapons and armor. The lunchbox system does not focus on only supplying you with in-game currency but rather, items to be utilized in-game.
An interesting component to Fallout Shelter is the depth of its characters. All dwellers possess unique qualities and traits which can be harnessed towards maximum efficiency. If you have an excellent fighter dweller, you may want to focus on equipping him with the best armor and weapons so that you may send him off to the wasteland to scavenge for supplies.
Although the game incorporates a fear factor with randomly intruding raiders, there is no real sense of loss in the game. If you have the bottle caps, you can always revive a dweller or fix something that has been broken. However, replenishing something may prove to be difficult if you lack the proper man power, which can ultimately turn your vault into an ongoing nightmare.
There are many enjoyable attributes to Fallout Shelter which don’t necessarily include combat or resource management. I enjoyed watching my dwellers engage in meaningless conversations. Two of my dwellers decided to have a baby, which made the game feel very Sim-like. Not only was I invested in the present condition of my vault, but I felt invested in the future as well.
Overall, Fallout Shelter gets many things right. The dweller detail, resource management and simulation factors were all a joy to experience. However, the game can feel a bit shallow due to the looming money cloud weighing on your shoulders telling you, “you should just save yourself some time and buy a lunch box.” All positives and negatives aside, Fallout Shelter is still a great game to play on the go and if you’re patient, you won’t have to spend a dime.
This review of Fallout Shelter is based on the iPhone iOS version of the game that is currently free on the app store,