Fallout Shelter for Xbox Play Anywhere (Mini Review)

Fallout Shelter was a big surprise coming from Bethesda back in E3 of 2015 and a fun accompaniment to the hype they were building for the soon to arrive Fallout 4. The free to play iOS and Android game was a fun time waster that certainly kept me distracted for a while. Just recently the game made the jump to Microsoft platforms in the form of an Xbox Play Anywhere title so I decided to give it another shot and see how well it works.

The beginnings of a mighty vault...

The beginnings of a mighty vault…

Keeping the explanation as brief as possible, the game is about managing your own little fallout shelter through building new facilities, increasing the number of dwellers and protecting it from random encounters and disasters. By sending vault dwellers out into the wasteland or on quests you can accumulate loot and blueprints to better equip your people and improve their chances of survival.

The game itself is up to date with its mobile counterparts including the quest features that arrived a few months after the original release but also adds Xbox Live cross saving which means players can happily swap between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC and continue where they left off. I’ve been jumping between both and it works exactly as advertised.

What might be interesting to note is that the game appears to be a Universal Windows Platform app which I only noticed when jumping between it and Halo Wars 2. It does make it a little easier this way to switch between games when you are waiting for your dwellers to accomplish tasks.

The game itself is still fun and addictive while you are building things up and the visual/audio are exactly what you want from a Fallout game. When I first played the game I did find that once I filled my vault up to its maximum there wasn’t as much incentive to play on but it did take some time to get there which was pretty good. Microtransactions are there but are all conveniences – if you are willing to wait you can potentially get by without them.

If there’s a single gripe I have with Fallout Shelter though it boils down to the controls. The controller support is fine enough and usable but gameplay is still tied very much to its mobile origins making for a very tap happy experience which can get a fiddly at times when you are trying to move around quickly. Using the mouse on a PC is definitely the way to go here.

Sometimes you need to balance how many children you have in the vault as it takes time for them grow and  be able to work for you.

Sometimes you need to balance how many children you have in the vault as it takes time for them grow and be able to work for you.

My biggest disappointment though was with the touchscreen controls which felt a little lacking compared to mobile – to me they didn’t feel consistent. Playing it on a Surface Pro should have been much the same as it is on an iPad or Android tablet but the lack of touch zoom makes it frustrating.

It’s by no means perfect but considering you might just sink a lot of time into it without paying a cent you can’t really complain too much. And it has achievements so I’m already working on seeing just how many I can accrue before my Vault is full. 😉

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