Review: Fallout Shelter and the 2D Experience

Fallout is one of the most engaging game franchises for lovers of the post-apocalyptic world genre. It has spanned throughout the decades bringing new elements to play while staying true to its original concept. Fallout Shelter is just another excellent adaptation to this post-nuclear action role play game.

What is Fallout Shelter?

Bethesda is perhaps one of my favorite game development companies. They’ve hand a hand in developing some of the most engaging digital entertainment for quite some time. Today, it’s all about the Fallout universe.





Unlike other Fallout games in the past, you are in control of a vault as the overseer. The game centers around your ability to grow the population of the vault while trying to keep people happy. It’s a real-time strategy game that keeps you on your toes.

Fallout Shelter Side View

Fallout Shelter is a two-dimensional platform where you view it from a crosscut of an underground facility. Your population uses their abilities to grow food, produce power, clean the water supply and much more. Each room has a purpose and placing the right person in the ideal job improves productivity as well as happiness.

As the population of the vault increases, so does the list of available rooms you can build. If you put a man and woman together in a living quarters, you can boost the population over time as babies are soon created. However, a pregnant woman will run from dangers that happen within the vault to protect her child.

As you progress, you can begin to accept quests from the Overseer’s office. These quests range in a myriad of ways and add more intrigue to a game instead of merely maintaining the population.

Users have goals that give boosts in caps, reward items and even pets that can be used in the vault or while exploring. Personally, I have a dog that increases bringing back junk by 28%. By the way, junk can be used to make items when you have the right rooms built onto the vault.

Fallout Shelter Goals

It reminds me a lot of the reward-based games that are prominent on sites like Facebook. Think of Farmville on steroids after a nuclear war. However, I think this title is far more addicting.

Why Would You Want to Play Fallout Shelter?

This is easily one of those games you would play over long periods of time while waiting for someone or just something to do on the side while watching a movie or listening to music. Although it’s a little more fast-paced than 2D games on Facebook, it has potential to run on its own in the background.

Fallout Shelter Power Ready

Perhaps the biggest reason why you would want to give it a try is that it’s free to play. It’s another one of those time-wasters that can be played on its own while giving you the option to make real purchases for bonuses. Except this one isn’t governed by Zynga.

One of the beautiful aspects about Fallout Shelter is that you don’t necessarily have to know the entire plot of the universe to enjoy it. It has an excellent how-to tutorial when you start your first vault and easy access to tips in case you need more information from the help guide.

Bunch of Bugs So Far

As I’ve been playing Fallout Shelter, I’ve come across a series of bugs that are quite annoying. As I continue, I’ll try to help those on PC get past these issues and continue playing.

Overseer’s Office Bug

Once you build the Overseer’s Office, the game forces you to send dwellers out on your first quest. This is unavoidable even if you try to disable tips within the game. After which, the game remains zoomed into the screen and you have no options available to continue playing normally. You can’t even close out and I had to force it to shut down through Task Manager in Windows 7.

The Fix: Click on the dirt mound that is at the far left hand side of the screen. There’s no arrow or button, but clicking in that area will open the quest screen and allow you to continue normally.

Fallout Shelter Overseer Quest Fix

Unable to Build the Weapon Workshop

This one really isn’t a glitch per se, more of a lack of understanding. Most buildings in the beginning of Fallout Shelter require one open space, save for the Overseer’s Office which needs two. The Weapon Workshop requires three total…and next to a point of access, such as an elevator. Imagine how stupid I felt when I finally got to build the damn thing.

Where Can You Get Fallout Shelter?

I downloaded my copy of Fallout Shelter from Steam. However, it’s also available for Android, iOS, Xbox One and PC from the official website. While I haven’t tried it on any of my mobile devices, I do enjoy the PC version from Steam and look forward to unlocking the 35 achievements that come with it.

Pros and Cons

And now for the moment of truth. What kind of good and bad things can you expect from Fallout Shelter?

Pros of the Game

  • It’s free to play.
  • Immersive as you work to keep building onto the vault.
  • Uses the traditional Fallout Boy design of the 1950s for character models of all vault dwellers.
  • Parallax three-dimensional view of background objects and graphics are great for a 2D game.
  • You don’t need to feed real money into the game as most things are available through regular advancement.
  • It’s Fallout…’nough said.
  • Questing is a nice change outside of the vault itself.

Cons of the Game

  • A few bugs that prevent from actually enjoying the game fully.
  • Growing your population takes a long time.
  • Takes a long time to bring stuff back from exploring the wasteland.
  • Runs in windowed-mode on PCs by default. However, this can be changed in the game settings.

Fallout Shelter Returning

The Bottom Line…

Even if you’re not a fan of the classic of the series, Fallout Shelter is a great game to play if you like the micromanagement layout of so many other titles. If you are, you’ll recognize the elements of this game and geek out over some of the things you come across. Although it’s not a first-person shooter or rife with action points as you stomp out a rad roach, it’s still quite the addicting game.

If you can get past the bugs that are currently in the game, then it’s pretty fun and can easily eat up your time.

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Michael Brockbank

I have been playing games for more than 30 years. I wouldn't consider myself a hard-core gamer, but I have brought the pain in my day. Now that I am rounding the horn at 40, I still enjoy everything from booting up the old Commodore 64 to exploring new titles in Steam. You're never too old to enjoy a good plot and mind-numbing graphics.

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