Video Game Review: Fallout Shelter (IOS, Android)

Fallout Shelter is a free to play mobile game you can download for free and play if you have an Android or IOS platform (i.e. a smartphone or tablet).

Fallout Shelter is also the first mobile game I have ever played. I’ve glanced at Words With Friends, Angry Birds, and the like, but mobile games just seem kind of crappy. The pay to win or freemium model is also distasteful as someone who enjoys purchasing a game and knowing they have the complete version and can win without giving over more money. With that said, I have been playing this game obsessively over the last week on my Ipod and have finally played enough of the game to put it down and write this review.

Gameplay is simple; you build a Fallout Shelter consisting of different rooms that provide different functions (living space, resource production) while trying to defend against raids from enemies, incidents (e.g. fires), and running out of resources. If anything gets out of hand, dwellers die.

Dwellers are the main purpose/resource in the game. Your goal is to ensure they live and proliferate. That means breeding. You can send them to work in the various rooms you have constructed or into the wasteland to look for equipment/loot. Each dweller can be equipped with a weapon and an outfit and can level up.

There are also an endless number of objectives that can be met which yield one of two rewards: Caps or lunch boxes. Caps are the currency of the game and can be used to build rooms, resurrect dead dwellers, etc. Lunch boxes are random loot drops which hold four randomly selected things.

This is where real money comes into play. The only way to spend real money in the game is buy buying lunch boxes, which are randomly generated and may not necessarily drop useful items. It’s not really a great interference from real money considering that you can get lunch boxes just by doing objectives.

As for my personal experience with the game, at first I spent most of time trying to create some sort of equilibrium. I tried a number of vaults, testing out various strategies. When I finally came upon one that I liked, I built up my vault from there. I ended up with a layout that has elevators on both sides, thus blocking mole rat attacks from everywhere but the bottom level. I armed the bottom floor and the top floor to the teeth and placed my strongest dwellers there to fend off attacks. I currently have around 100 dwellers, which I plan on keeping for a while. I doubt I will play the game as frequently since my game now consists of sending dwellers into the wasteland in hopes of finding cool loot instead of base planning and construction.

Score: 7.3/10 An arguably shallow game… except for the fact that IT’S FREE! Real money is not all that useful given the random nature of the lunch boxes, which I appreciate greatly. Makes the game look less like a money grab. I recommend everyone give the game a spin. It’s a fun, free game that’s perfect to play during your commute, waiting for takeout, or on a break at work.