Have You Heard? Fallout Shelter Reviewed

Fallout Shelter

For fans of the outstanding Fallout video game series, there’s a nifty app out there that you may not have heard about. First released on the iOS platform in June 2015, Fallout Shelter is also available on Android and MS Windows. The latter has been available since July of this year.

Fallout Shelter is a different kind of gaming experience; you won’t find a vast, open world with seemingly no boundaries here. The game is essentially one-dimensional (although when zoomed in the graphics have a satisfyingly rich, 3D quality .) The horizontal game orientation gives the vault an ant colony quality. At first glance, the layout might pretty simplistic may appear mildly unappealing.Fallout Shelter Layout

From the teasing glimpse of the world outside the front entrance to the fluorescent glow of the inner chambers, Fallout Shelter looks like an arcade game at first. While it might look simplistic, however, there is a lot going on inside each one of those cells. Fallout Shelter offers depth where a lot of other app-oriented games fall short.

Various Levels of Character Happiness

Players can zoom in close to their vault inhabitants to see and hear what’s going on. Playing the role of “overseer,” the game player watches as various characters go about their duties expressing either joy or sadness. A percentage meter indicates not only overall vault morale, but individual employee happiness as well. This is one of the first organizational details of the game. As in the other Fallout games, each character has a series of attributes identified as S.P.E.C.I.A.L. These letters stand for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Much like role-playing abilities, these attributes help the character succeed in endeavors related to the ability.

Each ability fits the function of a room. When the paired to a room where they have aptitude in that ability, characters improve happiness and morale.


Morale drops for those dwellers at work where their aptitude is low. They no longer smile, and make negative comments in hopes the overseer will hear them.

As with any overseer game, it’s important to keep the people happy. To keep the dwellers satisfied, the overseer must assure that the proper resources exist for the health and well being of everyone. There is still more to the vault than running the day-to-day. Occasionally an emergency occurs inside the vault; Fires break out, production falls below minimums and people get sick, or one of the chambers fills with creatures. Proper layout is important for successfully overcoming these breakouts. A monster invasion of rad rats, or a fire, can quickly spread to other rooms, overtaking the vault and killing the inhabitants. In addition to the internal emergencies, dwellers must also fight raiders and monsters during periodic attacks on the vault.

Raider Attack, Fallout Shelter

Infinite Development in a Finite Structure

There is a limit to how much development your vault can undergo. It takes a while to achieve, but there is a cap on the number of vault dwellers allowed inside the vault. While making babies and inviting in the occasional wanderer helps expand the fledgling vault, after a time the population maxes out, and the overseer must deny newcomers or release existing members of the vault community into the wild. In addition, there are only so many rooms that can be built.

Weapons development takes a long time, and isn’t entirely necessary at the higher levels. Outfit design becomes useless as explorers return with countless uniforms. As the explorers continue to fill the vault to capacity, there’s little beyond the uniqueness of the various missions to keep the game interesting. Eventually everything devolves into a series of daily repetitions with little reward for the gamer.