The best way to watch the Fallout TV show is to play this building and management sim alongside it

People queuing up to enter a vault
(Image credit: Bethesda)

So far, I've enjoyed watching Lucy, Maximus, and The Ghoul explore the Wasteland and slowly uncover the truth behind this lawless land. The only problem is that I can't help but feel a little left out. 

We can't control the characters in this TV show like we can in the games, so obviously, this loss of agency leaves something to be desired. And while the show does use three archetypal main characters to try and make up for this lack of control, it's just not the same as exploring the Wasteland for yourself. But I think I've found the solution. After the first episode, when I was debating downloading Fallout 4 again, I remembered that I already had the best Fallout game on my phone—it's time to start a new vault in Fallout Shelter. 

Fallout Shelter was released in 2015, but in a way, I feel like it's always been with me. And while it may not be a fancy RPG like the rest of the Fallout games it provides the control that I crave. This free-to-play building and management simulation game has been something I have consistently dropped in and out of since I first downloaded it nine years ago. It follows the same life cycle that Minecraft does in that every so often, I remember it exists again, and then all I do for the span of two weeks is play this game. 

Vault dwellers working in a water treatment station

(Image credit: Bethesda)

I began my new Fallout Shelter Vault 33 (original, I know) three days ago when I started watching the TV series. Since then, I have amassed 30 dwellers, unlocked 14/24 rooms, and am slowly collecting all the pets available, although so far I only have a Pallas cat and a German Pointer. You can also grab a Vault 33 jumpsuit for one of your dwellers to wear right now. 

It never ceases to amaze me how fun this small game is. Caring for every single dweller isn't tough work, but you still need to keep on top of things. I try to assign them to jobs which they can excel at by going off their strongest perk, as well as trying to mix work and leisure, giving them time off or ways to relax. That could be assigning them to one of the training rooms or just letting them chill out in the residence. 

But it's not all about keeping smiles on everyone's faces—there's also a fair bit of action. You can send individual dwellers to explore the Wasteland in hopes of finding supplies and maybe even some friends, or you can send a group out on specific missions to either get goods or follow small storylines like uncovering what the new Boston Bugle is up to by tracking down the Bugle Boy who's holed up in a Super-Duper Mart. 

It's no Battle for Boston Airport, but fighting your way through various derelict rooms and taking on raiders, radroaches, and mole rats isn't easy. I've nearly lost my favourite exploring dweller, Philip Frosts, a few times now, and if it weren't for my piles of stimpacks he'd probably already be dead. But it's always worth it just for the bits of junk or new weapons you can bring back from adventures. 

Taking part in the life-or-death missions and customising my vault while watching the series has been a nice way to pass the time. I can enjoy watching Walton Goggins be the coolest ghoul in the Wasteland, and Lucy venturing forth into unknown locations without becoming agitated every time someone forgets to forage for loot or pick up a lockpick because now I can do it all for myself in Fallout Shelter, or get my dwellers to do it for me. 

News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.