Fallout Shelter

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For shelters to protect against radioactive fallout, see Fallout shelter.
Fallout Shelter
Fallout Shelter Icon.jpeg
App icon
Developer(s) Bethesda Game Studios
Behaviour Interactive
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks
Series Fallout
Engine Unity
Platform(s) iOS, Android
Release date(s) iOS
June 14, 2015
August 13, 2015
Genre(s) Simulation
Mode(s) Single-player

Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play mobile simulation video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios, with assistance by Behaviour Interactive, and published by Bethesda Softworks. Part of the Fallout series, it was released for iOS devices on June 14, 2015, and for Android devices on August 13, 2015.


Ant farm view. Vault resources are shown along the top of the screen. A notification appears when a room produces resources.

In Fallout Shelter, players build and manage their own Vault as an overseer. Players control the people in the Vault and need to keep them happy.[1][2] They rescue dwellers from the wasteland and assign them to different resource-generating buildings in the vault, using the seven statistics from the SPECIAL set of stats from the other Fallout games: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Each character's SPECIAL affects their skill at generating different forms of resources.[3] The statistics of a dweller can be increased by training.[4] The dwellers can level up and can be given new items and weapons, which is required when they are sent out into the wasteland to scout or when defending the vault from attacks by raiders or creatures.[1] Selecting a dweller displays their statistics and inventory. The number of dwellers can be increased by waiting for new dwellers from the wasteland to arrive, or by pairing a man and woman dweller in living quarters to produce babies, which players can name.[2][3]

Balancing resources such as food, water and power is an important aspect of the game.[2] Many different rooms can be built in the vault, providing different items or stat bonuses. Unlike many free-to-play games, players are not required to spend money in order to accelerate long timers or processes.[2][5] Instead, players can instantly accelerate processes at the risk of catastrophic failures, such as fires or radroach infestations.[6][5] Players can assign dwellers to clean up these disasters.[5] Players are sometimes rewarded with lunchboxes that contain rewards, such as items or resources. Lunchboxes can also be purchased separately through microtransactions.[2][5][7][8]

Development and release[edit]

In a 2009 interview while talking about a possible Fallout game for iOS, Bethesda's Todd Howard said that the world of Fallout was unique enough that it could translate to any platform and revealed that several designs of an iOS Fallout game were pitched and rejected.[9] On November 5, 2009 John Carmack, who at that time worked for id Software, said that while it's nothing official yet, he had an internal proof of concept made for a Fallout iPhone game. Both Carmack and Howard are fans of the platform. Carmack said that he will likely be personally involved in making the game, although at that time he was too overloaded with work on other projects. "At the very least I'm going to be providing code," he said.[10]

Fallout Shelter was announced by Bethesda during its press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 14, 2015. It was announced that the game would be a free-to-play title that will be released during the night on the same day as the conference. The game is inspired by other video games like Little Computer People, Progress Quest, XCOM, SimCity, and FTL: Faster Than Light.[11][12] The game was released for iOS on the same day.[1] It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios in partnership with Behaviour Interactive[13] and was built using the Unity game engine.[14] Pete Hines, Bethesda's Vice President of PR & Marketing, announced on June 15 that the Android version was in development and will be released at a later date.[2] On July 2, Hines announced that the Android version would be released in August 2015.[15] At QuakeCon 2015, the release date for the Android version was revealed to be August 13.[16] The game was released for Android devices on August 13, 2015.[17]

On June 30, 2015, the game added a character from Fallout 4 as a dweller for the first time. Preston Garvey, the leader of Commonwealth Minutemen, was added as a reward available from lunchboxes, along with his Laser Musket weapon, which can be equipped by other vault dwellers.[18][19] On July 10, 2015, the game received its first update which along with fixing some issues also added a new "Photo Mode" feature that allows players to capture and share images of their Vault.[20] On August 13, a major update was launched alongside the release of the Android version. The update added mole rats and deathclaws as new enemies. The update also added a new feature where raiders who only stole resources like water and food, started stealing caps as well. A robot butler named Mister Handy was added available only through the lunchboxes.[21][22]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (iOS) 71.29%[23]
Metacritic (iOS) 71/100[24]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 7/10[25]
Game Informer 7/10[26]
Game Revolution 3.5/5 stars[27]
GamesTM 6/10[28]
IGN 6.8/10[29]
New York Daily News 3/5 stars[5]
Financial Post 7.5/10[30]
Gamezebo 4/5 stars[31]
Pocket Gamer 7/10[32]
VentureBeat 95/100[33]

Fallout Shelter received mixed to positive reviews on release, with an aggregate score of 71.29% on GameRankings based on 24 reviews and a score of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 38 reviews.[23][24]

Destructoid gave it a review score of 7/10, calling it a likable game and praising its visual features like the 3D zoom feature, screen responsiveness and ability to speed up processes at the cost of risks instead of spending money on micro-transactions. At the same time they criticized the game for its sometimes broken objectives. The reviewer Chris Carter stated about the game "We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line."[25] Justin Davis of IGN gave it a review score of 6.8/10 praising it for its accessible gameplay, reasonable in-app purchases and amusing writing while criticizing it for its gameplay being too shallow and having no endgame.[29]

Ebenezer Samuel of New York Daily News gave it 3 out 5 stars, praising it for its gameplay, visual features, being designed for both long and short play session, and being friendly to both newcomers and fans of the Fallout series. He also criticized the game for its load screens and tiny visuals on smaller non-iPad devices.[5] Chad Sapieha of Financial Post gave it a review score of 7.5/10 praising it for its gameplay calling it fun, its visuals and being designed perfectly for mobile play. He also criticized it for clunky controls when giving commands to dwellers and draining battery of the device quickly.[30] Pocket Gamer gave it a review score of 7/10 saying "It's not exactly the most exciting post-apocalyptic game out there, but if casual is your bag there's a lot to like here."[32]

Evan Killham of VentureBeat gave it a review score of 95/100, praising it for its challenging and deep gameplay, graphics and being free along with allowing players to speed up processes at the cost of risks instead of spending money. Meanwhile he criticized the game for its frequent notifications.[33] Jason Faulkner of Gamezebo gave it 4 out of 5 stars praising it for its graphics, being faithful to the Fallout series and being truly free-to-play. He criticized it for its visuals being too small on some older devices and for being too slow on some devices.[31] Daniel Tack of Game Informer gave the game a review score of 7/10, praising it for its challenging gameplay early in the game and unobtrusive microtransactions. He criticized it for becoming automated once a player's vault is well established, and having no real goal beyond reaching the 200-dweller population limit.[26]

Game Revolution gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars, praising it for its Vault Boy visual, overseer gameplay and portraying a different aspect of the Fallout series. He criticized it for its micro-transactions giving too much advantage, and for its gameplay being slow without having much variety. He felt that the game wasted its potential.[27]

Reviewers of New York Daily News, Destructoid, Financial Post and Game Revolution criticized the game for enticing players to spend money on its micro-transactions in order to purchase additional lunchboxes for the bonus items and in-game money they reward. Although lunchboxes can be acquired without spending money, reviewers noted that this occurred too infrequently with Game Revolution noting that the micro-transactions give too much advantage.[5][25][30][27] In contrast, IGN called the game's in-app purchases reasonable in its review of the game, while Game Informer called the microtransactions completely unobtrusive, saying that the player never feels the need to spend money on them to get ahead.[26][29]


  1. ^ a b c Hilliard, Kyle (June 14, 2015). "Fallout Shelter-Management Mobile Game Out Now On iOS". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Yin-Poole, Wesley (June 15, 2015). "Surprise! Fallout Shelter iOS game out now". Eurogamer. Gamer Network Ltd. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Dotson, Carter (June 15, 2015). "'Fallout: Shelter' Hands-on impressions: Tiny Vault". Touch Arcade. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ Koziara, Andrew (June 18, 2015). "'Fallout Shelter' Guide – Strategies, Tips and Tricks for the Industrious Post-Apocalypse Vault Overseer". Touch Arcade. Retrieved June 18, 2015. Vice Versa, people in training rooms only increase stats, and don't level up. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Samuel, Ebenezer (June 16, 2015). "Fallout Shelter is grounded in fun: video game review". New York Daily News. Daily News, L.P. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ Byford, Sam (June 15, 2015). "Watch the first 10 minutes of Fallout Shelter here". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ Karmali, Luke (June 14, 2015). "E3 2015: Fallout mobile game Fallout Shelter available now". IGN. j2 Global. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ Duwell, Ron (June 14, 2015). "Fallout Shelter lets you create your own fallout vault, available tonight". TechnoBuffalo. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ McElroy, Justin (June 5, 2009). "Bethesda has designed iPhone versions of Fallout 3". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ Crecente, Brian (November 5, 2009). "Carmack on iPhone Fallout, Quake Live and Elves and Orcs". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ Plunkett, Luke (June 14, 2015). "Fallout Shelter announced, out tonight". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  12. ^ Starr, Michelle (June 14, 2015). "Surprise! Fallout mobile game arrives for iOS". CNET. CBS Corporation. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ Takahashi, Dean (July 17, 2015). "The DeanBeat: Fallout Shelter is a rare free-to-play mobile gaming hit". GamesBeat. VentureBeat. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  14. ^ Dale, Laura Kate (July 6, 2015). "Unity - does indie gaming's biggest engine have an image problem?". The Guardian. Scott Trust Limited. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (July 2, 2015). "Fallout Shelter Android Version Release Window Revealed". GameSpot. CBS Corporation. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ Newhouse, Alex (July 24, 2015). "Fallout Shelter Finally Coming to Android Next Month, Getting Big Update". GameSpot. CBS Corporation. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Fallout Shelter now available on Android". Gamespot. CBS Corporation. August 13, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  18. ^ Pereira, Chris (June 30, 2015). "First Fallout 4 Character Comes to Fallout Shelter Today". GameSpot. CBS Corporation. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  19. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (June 30, 2015). "Fallout Shelter adds its first Fallout 4 character". IGN. j2 Global. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  20. ^ Sirani, Jordan (July 10, 2015). "First Fallout Shelter Update Adds Photo Mode". IGN. j2 Global. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  21. ^ Grant, Christopher (August 13, 2015). "Fallout Shelter is now available for Android, update available for iOS". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  22. ^ Gurwin, Gabe (August 13, 2015). "Fallout Shelter gets a huge update, hits Android". Digital Trends. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "Fallout Shelter reviews on GameRankings". GameRankings. CBS Corporation. Retrieved August 24, 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Fallout Shelter reviews on Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Corporation. Retrieved August 24, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b c Carter, Chris (June 15, 2015). "Fallout Shelter review on Destructoid". Destructoid. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b c Tack, Daniel (July 1, 2015). "Fallout Shelter review on Game Informer". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved July 2, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b c JebHaught (July 1, 2015). "Fallout Shelter review on Game Revolution". Game Revolution. Net Revolution Inc. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Fallout Shelter review on GamesTM". GamesTM. Imagine Publishing. August 14, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b c Davis, Justin (June 26, 2015). "Fallout Shelter review on IGN". IGN. j2 Global. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b c Sapieha, Chad (June 16, 2015). "Fallout Shelter review: Bethesda’s survival sim is fun, but doesn’t escape free-to-play mechanics as much as they claim". Financial Post. Postmedia Network. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b Faulkner, Jason (June 18, 2015). "Fallout Shelter Review: The Cutest Apocalypse". Gamezebo. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  32. ^ a b Slater, Harry (June 15, 2015). "Fallout Shelter - Probably not the one you wanted". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  33. ^ a b Killham, Evan (June 15, 2015). "Fallout Shelter makes living in a postapocalyptic bunker adorable and totally free". GamesBeat. VentureBeat. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 

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