Review – Fallout Shelter

Bethesda’s honeymoon with Nintendo continues. After providing us with excellent ports of DoomSkyrim, and Wolfenstein II, the company has decided to do the obvious and port its successful mobile title Fallout Shelter to Nintendo’s system. I knew the announcement of a port was a matter of “when” and not a matter of “if”; the Switch’s portable nature and touchscreen would be a perfect fit for the game. I had never played the game prior to the Switch version. I had it installed on my Xbox One but never felt motivated to actually start it and I had never downloaded it on my phones either, as I’m not a mobile gamer. I guess I missed out on a good title. Fallout Shelter is pretty fun!


That guy from Super Seducer should learn from the master.

Fallout Shelter‘s gameplay is simple: you’re in charging of building and managing your own vault. It’s up to you to build rooms, assign dwellers to specific rooms according to their skills, produce enough resources in order to keep your population fed and healthy, earn money in order to build new rooms, rinse and repeat. As you increase the size and population of your vault, you can start sending some dwellers out on missions across the wasteland, as well as equip them with newly-researched weaponry in order to defend the vault against mutated beasts and human raiders. The gameplay loop isn’t exactly complex, nor it needs to be: it’s simple and a little bit rewarding.

You may be wondering: what’s the catch, though? This is a F2P title so it must have a catch, a way to make you want to spend money in it. Granted, Fallout Shelter does feature the typical waiting times you can find in any other F2P title out there and as always, you can buy special items (bottles of Nuka Cola, how appropriate) that can speed up these processes, such as instantly finishing a wasteland scavenging or training a dweller in one of the many types of training rooms you can build.


Waynes’ world!

Those moments aren’t exactly essential in order to make you progress through the game however. You can actually earn bottles of Nuka Cola by completing some very easy challenges the game will randomly provide you on a daily basis, such as producing 100 units food or killing a couple of raiders. You can also buy loot boxes that come filled with money and extra items, but once again, you can easily earn them in-game as well. In no moment did I feel forced to spend a few extra bucks in order to further develop my vault.

In terms of presentation, Fallout Shelter does an excellent job… for a mobile game. The mixture between polygonal backgrounds and 2D characters isn’t exactly the most hardware demanding, but the game does win you over due to the adorable art style used to draw every single character. Everyone is so cute and happy, you just can’t resist! The soundtrack isn’t bad as well, but it’s barely played throughout the game: the lo-fi jazz tunes are usually played on certain menu screens, leaving the main game quite silent in fact.


The WATER ROOM is on fire. The irony…

In terms of gameplay, since Fallout Shelter is a mobile title, you can already assume you can use the Switch’s touchscreen in order to play it. Yes, you totally can and it works fine, but I actually found better to play the game with actual buttons and sticks. The analog stick movement in Fallout Shelter is really fast and precise, and the menu interface is well adapted to the game’s button layout. You can either play it as a complete carbon copy of a cellphone game or you can be more conservative and use buttons like a console game should. It’s all up to you.

Is the game worth downloading on the Switch? I’d say so. Granted, this is a title you can easily play on a mobile device, but there are lots of people (myself included) who don’t like to play games on their phone. I found Fallout Shelter to be perfect for the Switch’s portable nature, taking advantage of its larger screen, improved battery life, and the fact you don’t need to play it for many hours in a row. You can stick to it for a few minutes and then go back to Doom or Bayonetta.


They all look so happy despite the fact there’s a dead body next to them.

Fallout Shelter is an excellent companion title for whichever platform you decide to play it on and it fits beautifully with the Switch’s portability. It’s full of cute humor, it provides players with a nice gameplay loop, and most importantly, it allows you to freely play it and progress without the need of wasting extra money on time-saving microtransactions. Fallout Shelter is free-to-play done right, purely and simply.


Graphics: 7.0

Nothing really impressive, but the animated characters are so adorable you can’t stop looking at them.

Gameplay: 8.5

Weirdly enough, the controller inputs work better than the touchscreen controls, even though both methods are pretty good and easy to handle.

Sound: 6.5

The 1950’s-styled jazz tunes are awesome, but they appear very sparsely throughout the game. You’ll barely listen to any music or hear any sound effects throughout most of your playtime.

Fun Factor: 8.5

For a free-to-play game, Fallout Shelter impresses by offering a fun and rewarding experience without trying to suck your wallet dry with near-mandatory microtransactions.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC.