For those who have experienced the Fallout and the Wasteland series from the beginning of their existence, a game the likes of Fallout Shelter on the Nintendo Switch is so much more than a mobile game. With a focus on gameplay objectives and story and simple graphics, it’s as close an experience to the original games, but still within the fines of a mobile game.

While nothing has changed to the formula of the game since it was released in 2015, the 2018 Switch version is a great way to kill some time on the bus or train. Although it doesn’t redefine the sim experience either, being able to play it on the Switch screen makes it an upgrade over the iOS version.

The game’s premise, for those who have been stuck in a vault for the last three years, is all about setting up a dwelling for a community of people to survive the consequences of a nuclear wasteland. Food, water, entertainment, weapons, electricity, everything you can think of must be provided for your vault dwellers. It’s an intense experience at times, but it becomes one that you’ll connect to after a while. Seeing your dwellers have children and even passing away will induce smiles and frowns. This experience alone is cool enough to at least try the game, but seeing your tiny vault become a massive society is far cooler.

While there are far deeper experiences to be had on the Nintendo Switch, the simplicity of Fallout Shelter, combined with massive replay value takes us back to the days of retro games that could be played over and over and create new experiences. While there is the microtransaction element at play it, it must be said that this game was played for over 10 hours for the purpose of this review and not a single dime was spent. Instead, rather than pa to progress, you just wait. It’s ultimately like watching flowers bloom.

Because of that Fallout Shelter creates a nifty little niche for itself on the Switch as a sim that you play for a few minutes a day for a few weeks until it becomes either a massive undertaking you’re obsessed with or still a passing fancy worthy of indulging some of your spare time in. Either way, it’s a delight.

The Good:

Fun: Setting up your vault is fun from the beginning. Seeing your characters grow, build families and complete quests are always satisfying. Although it’s a glorified mobile game, it still delivers in a way that a classic CRPG does, challenging your mind, wits and using a simple interface to do it all.

Bite-Sized Gameplay: This is one of the best games to play on the Nintendo Switch on the go. No fuss, just get some things done, save and then close before doing it all again. A nice distraction from West of Loathing, Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey.

The Bad:

No Changes From Original: If you’ve played this on any other console or mobile, you know exactly what to expect. Although it’s sexier on the bigger screen, nothing has changed.

Patience Required: You won’t see the fruits of your labor for a few hours and for some, that novelty just isn’t going to cut it.

Final Thoughts:

Although it’s the same exact game that was released years ago, Fallout Shelter on the Nintendo Switch is a delight and the type of game perfect for the get-up and go type of gameplay experience the system is trying to create. For hardcore Fallout fans who have never experienced it, the Switch version is easily one of the most accommodating and perfect to kill time on the bus, train or before bed.


Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.

Patrick Hickey Jr. Patrick Hickey Jr. (326 Posts)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by top publishers the likes of Nintendo, Deep Silver, Disney and EA Sports. His book series, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Game Developers," from McFarland and Company, has earned praise from Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Daily News and MSG Networks. He is also a former editor at NBC and National Video Games Writer at the