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"When the bombs fall, most shelters will provide minimal protection against the horrors of nuclear war. Thankfully, Vault-Tec has manufactured a top-of the line underground shelter, to protect our friends and neighbors!"
Launch Trailer

Fallout Shelter is a vault management Life Simulation Game set in the Fallout franchise, designed for mobile platforms, developed by Behaviour Interactive and Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game was released after Bethesda's first E3 showcase, on June 14, 2015. The game is free to play, with in-app purchases. The game is available for the iOS, and beginning August 12th, 2015, also for Android devices with Google Play Store access (the release coincides with the 1.1.0 update for iOS). Unfortunately, the game isn't available on the Amazon App Store, thus denying folks with uncertified Android devices access to the game. The game was later ported to PC, Xbox One, Play Station 4, and Nintendo Switch.

In the game, you are put in the role of the Overseer of a Vault of your choosing (the number is selected by you), and the goal is to successfully lead generations of Vault Dwellers to survive and thrive in post-nuclear America — which means, at the bare minimum, making it an okay place to live. Your duties will include the acquisition and distribution of resources, development of the Vault complex, multiplying the population, prevention of crises (such as fires and raider attacks), and other similar activities.

The game is focused on balancing the needs of your Dwellers while providing them with the best quality of life (and defending it from threats). There is no end goal in the game, save building the biggest, best Vault you can. Managing resources and dwellers is essential - as is keeping them happy.

Has a sequel in Asia called Fallout Shelter Online where the game shifted genre into an actionized auto-battler akin to Princess Connect! Re:Dive.

Fantasy Flight Games released a worker placement game called Fallout Shelter The Board Game in 2020.

Tropes Related to Fallout Shelter:

  • 100% Completion: The game records all the weapons, armor, pets, and legendary vault dwellers you find in the game. Most legendary vault dwellers contain a unique outfit and weapon, which may be impossible to obtain by searching the wastelands. Players who want to obtain everything may find themselves buying hundreds of lunchboxes from the market just to improve their chances. The quest update now allows you to find the weapon and outfit recipes for the legendary dwellers, but the blueprints are rare and in some of the more difficult quests. While filling out every weapon and armor in the game is possible through doing all the quests and building them with blueprints, obtaining all of the legendary dwellers and especially the pets comes down purely to luck of the draw in the lunchboxes.
  • Actionized Sequel: Fallout Shelter Online is no longer a vault management life simulation game, but a story-driven auto-battler akin to Princess Connect! Re:Dive with more emphasis on character building and combat. Vault building is still there, but resources are even no longer perishables, but treated as currency to further build the vault, upgrade your dweller, and upgrade your combat teams.
  • Adaptational Badass: Mole Rats are considered The Goomba in the main Fallout games, but are significantly tougher and can actually be threatening here, especially early game.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • One of the possible random encounters while sending dwellers into the wasteland involves them befriending a group of Talon Company mercs. This is in contrast to their status as Villain by Default in Fallout 3.
    • Some Legendary Dwellers are like this, since they basically are working and helping the Vault, yet they have Evil Karma in their respective games. The most glaring examples are Eulogy Jones, Mr. Burke, and Colonel Autumn.
    • The Vault itself, as, in the main series, they were in general designed to fail by the US Government to see how mankind would face (or more accurately, fail to face) all hell breaking loose. In this game, the Vault you're in charge of really does live up to its promise of offering shelter for the Vault Dwellers from the Wasteland, without any of the life-and-limb threatening "social experiments" used by the Vaults in the main Fallout series. In other words, it's more like one of the 17 control vaults that were designed to actually work (such as Vault 8/Vault City,) rather than the majority that met in disaster, like Vault 11 or 34.
    • The story of Fallout Shelter Online is an almost total rewrite of Fallout 4, by making a lot of characters more heroic than the source material should be.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The price of building a particular type of room goes up when you build more of that room type. However thankfully it does also go the other way when you demolish rooms. Also, as you dig your vault deeper, boulders become more expensive to demolish.
  • After the End: Whenever a Dweller comes across an old football field, they comment that a touchdown hasn't been made in 200 years. Similar commentary happens with other discoveries. Lots of dialogue that just point out what things used to be like.
  • The AI Is A Cheating Bastard: An example that curiously inverts the usual Conservation of Ninjutsu habits: Dwellers equipped with melee weapons can't attack the same target simultaneously, which means they can't focus their damage output, and some will inevitably stand around doing nothing if they outnumber the hostiles in the room. Enemies don't have that restriction and will pummel your fighters in packs no problem. Gets especially annoying on a particular baseball-themed quest that restricts your dwellers to using baseball bats instead of actual weapons. It's set up as a Beat Them at Their Own Game scenario but manages to make the AI cheating even worse by giving half of the opposing raiders firearms.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Averted. Everything doable in the game can be done without spending a dime, meaning you can max out your Vault population and build area, unlock all production facilities, obtain all theme and equipment recipes, and get all weapons and armor. The items you can purchase with real money — Lunchboxes, pet carriers, Nuka-Cola Quantum, and Mr. Handies — can be acquired in game on an infrequent basis by doing quests and meeting objectives, but even then those are just perks that improve the efficiency of your Vault and its dwellers, they're not a requirement for anything. The only thing you can't easily obtain through normal play are the Legendary Dwellers, which are acquired through Lunchboxes or specific quests, but Legendary Dwellers are a Bragging Rights Reward anyway only needed if you're going for 100% Completion of the catalog. In short, Bribing Your Way to Victory is possible, but entirely unneccessary.
  • All Deaths Final: The Survival mode, where resources are consumed faster and if your Dweller ever dies, that's it for them. Not for the weak of heart.
  • Amazon Brigade: The "Groom For Doubt" quest involves your party fighting off against a whole band of female raiders and their male boss.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: If you send someone to explore the wasteland, they tend to bring back more outfits than weapons.
  • Anti-Climax: Zigzagged and Played for Laughs with the "Horsemen of the Post-Apocalypse" questline. The penultimate quest ends with a battle with Death, said to be the most dangerous of the Four Horsemen. He turns out to be a Mole rat. Even your Dwellers comment on the absurdity of this when the fight begins. Where the zigzagging comes in is that before you face Death, you fight a Deathclaw, a much more appropriate embodiment of Death and a more dangerous foe than him, so you still get a challenging boss fight out of things.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • When you start your Vault, you get seven Dwellers ready to enter and among them at least one of them will each have Strength, Perception, and Agility at a decent amount like 4 or higher, ensuring you have at least one person who can efficiently work your three core production rooms. For the first while as you play, new Dwellers will arrive at the Vault over time (they cease doing this as your population grows) so you don't feel like you have to immediately start producing babies to grow. Early objectives also tend to be easy to meet the requirements for and reward Lunchboxes disproportionately often compared to later objectives, giving you more chances to get rare items to further help your growing Vault.
    • After an incident is resolved (like, say, a raider attack that got beyond the front door room), any responders you pulled from other rooms (say, sending in pursuit the door guards who already gunned some down in the door room) will return to their original room automatically, and anyone they displaced out of the room will return. This prevents you from having to manually move everyone back.
    • If you put a dweller in a full room and it's a stat-operated room (like a Power room), the game will tell you the net gain or loss in that room's operant stat (like Strength) the displacement will cause, and the displaced dweller will swap spots with the dweller who displaced them. This is useful when rotating workers between their workspace and the training room that buffs that workspace's operant stat.
    • Incidents such as radroach invasions will eventually play themselves out in case your dwellers are too weak to survive them. The 1.1.0 patch introduced a Game-Breaking Bug where a radroach would be invincible. All you could do was keep your dwellers away from the infestation and it'd eventually end on its own.
    • The v1.6 patch made it so dwellers needing a Stimpak or RadAway for healing now have the icon for the item appear over their heads, and tapping the icon automatically uses that item, greatly reducing the need to micromanage dwellers in combat.
    • Mr. Handy will patrol a vault floor and automatically collect any power, food, or water resources that complete, preventing the player from having to tap those rooms every couple of minutes to keep their vault running.
    • The v1.3 patch finally added the ability to sell items en mass instead of one at a time.
    • If your dweller is exploring and finds gear that is better than what they currently have equipped, they will use it instead, putting their previous gear in their inventory, so that the player won’t have to wait until the dweller is back home to upgrade, and makes the dwellers outing easier.
      • On the other hand this can lead to some questionable equipment choices on their part since they only look at total stat bonuses on hear. So you might send your dweller out wearing Endurance-boosting Wasteland Gear and get them back wearing Charisma-boosting Naughty Nightwear. While the latter has a higher stat bonus (+5 instead of +3) Charisma is a less useful stat for surviving the Wasteland.
    • If a dweller has a pet with them and dies on an exploration, the pet can bring both the loot, and the dweller’s gear back to the vault by itself.
    • Dwellers will not have any encounters on their way back from exploration, ensuring they will not be killed off while bringing back any loot they collected.
    • Unlike the Dwellers, Mr. Handys cannot be healed and must be revived in order to restore them. Therefore their destruction during incidents are not counted as casualties, so making "no casualties" objectives easier to achieve.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: Some quests force you to tackle them with only a single dweller for oftentimes ill-specified reasons. Others mandate the use of specific outfits or weapons, though these are usually somewhat justified by the quest's background, like allowing only baseball bats on a baseball-themed quest. Both of these restrictions can show up together on the same quest, often resulting in one of the toughest quests in the roster.
  • Armor Is Useless: Unlike other Fallout games, armor offers no damage reduction and are treated like any other piece of clothing, just giving stat boosts. This means that stuff like combat armor and battle armor are no better than a set of football pads or a radiation suit beyond what stat boosts you want. Even power armor is outshone by the likes of soldier fatigues and armored vault suits, in terms of Min-Maxing the efficiency of your production rooms.
  • Armor of Invincibility
    • The Legendary-tier Wasteland Gear gives +7 Endurance. As Endurance affects resistance to radiation and how much HP dwellers gain when they level up, suiting up someone in this gear will make them a Stone Wall.
    • Among the Legendary outfits otherwise, the Detective Outfit, Jobinson's Jersey, and the outfits of the Four Horsemen, give cumulative bonuses of +16, +4 in four different stats, making them extremely useful general purpose outfits.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In general, Dwellers are very, very, very stupid:
    • Dwellers will react to threats in their rooms, but won't actively seek out threats in other rooms. This is particularly egrigious when dealing with infestations; when the pest leaves the current room and spreads to an adjacent one, the Dwellers in the first room do nothing.
    • When moving Dwellers between rooms, unless there is a change to the total SPECIAL stat used by the production room, they will swap places pretty much at random. This can create annoyances when trying to Min Max your production rooms and your Dwellers don't switch intelligently. For example, say your Water Purifier (Perception) is being worked with a Dweller with 4 Agility, and you move them into a Diner where everyone has 2 Agility; the Dweller that swaps into the Purifier will not necessarily be the one with the highest Perception, even though that makes the most sense. And if you're moving multiple Dwellers between rooms, it's possible they may swap with other Dwellers you just assigned there. Keeping track of them suddenly becomes far more work than you'd think as Dwellers zigzag back and forth between rooms. This escalates into Too Dumb to Live when trying to move wounded Dwellers out of a room when an incident occurs — they're too stupid to uniformly swap places with healthy Dwellers and will keep sending each other back to the dangerous room you just moved them out of, and probably get themselves killed for it.
    • Dwellers assigned to rooms during an emergency will go back to their original task when the emergency ends. While this helps if you were just moving them to the room to help with the emergency, if you actually wanted them to work in that room, you'll have to drag them back into it. Dwellers that die during an emergency and are revived during it also lose their assigned task, and will wander off when the emergency ends.
    • Dwellers in combat will move around the room, stack up, and generally make it harder for you to apply stimpaks to the right dweller, especially in larger rooms. This can be really bad when you have underleveled dwellers and need constant healing.
    • Your Dwellers seem to suffer from Forgetful Jones syndrome while out in the wastelands. They only learn how to appropriately react to enemies as they level up, not in accordance with how many encounter they've had, so they'll keep underestimating the same type of enemy, try to fight them, and end up fleeing, over and over until they level enough to know better.
    • Sometimes a dweller will move across the room rather than the shortest route when switching rooms, which is particularly annoying when dealing with incidents.
    • "So there is an incident occurring on the right room? I guess I won't deal with it until I move to the rightest side, regardless of the fire/infestation that will spread to the next room!"
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Sending a Mister Handy out into the wastes to collect caps. They can't be harmed or killed, which is awesome, but they only end up finding around 5 caps at a time, cannot collect weapons or outfits, can only collect 5000 caps before reaching the carrying limit, and it still takes them just as long as anyone else to return (half the time of however long they're out there.) You'll find significantly larger quantities of caps by sending dwellers out instead.
    • Explosive weapons, like the Fat Man and the missile launcher. They have very high damage ratings and hit every target in the room simultaneously, but this high damage rating is not applied to each target in full - it's split between them. So a nuke with 25 damage shot at five raiders means every raider loses 5 hitpoints. This may be bearable during attacks on your vault, but is completely useless for Wasteland exploration as you can't focus your damage on one target at a time in order to gradually reduce the damage your dweller is taking in return. All your opponents continue to attack at full capacity until the whole bunch suffers Critical Existence Failure at once. Miniguns and Gatling Lasers are far better suited for the task, for this reason and a couple more.
    • The Barber Shop. It only unlocks after the player has acquired a large number of dwellers and costs a whopping 10,000 caps to build, which is more than most other rooms cost to FULLY UPGRADE. All it does is allow you to change the hair of your dwellers (which can be somewhat useful for sorting or keeping track of them) and nothing else. It has a further upgrade that can be bough for 50,000 caps, which allows you to also modify your residents facial features. Needless to say, this is a MASSIVE drain on resources unless the player is very far into the game and needs a Money Sink because s/he has hit the 999,999 cap and has nothing better to spend the caps on.
    • Mister Handy is great support in any Vault fight! Just a pity any damage it takes cannot be repaired, so you'll have to wait until it gets broken completely and then have to shell out thousands of caps to have it restored. Ironically, Mister Handy will sometimes mock its masters for having to rely on stimpaks for healing, even though they are by far a cheaper solution.
  • Badass Normal: Every single dweller. None of them have any genetic augmentation, cybernetic implants, or other oddities. They're just normal everyday people that, with enough training, can get perfect SPECIAL stats, wear Powered Armor, wield BFGs, and go on quests rivalling anything the main series player characters have done.
  • Beam Spam: Laser weapons, plasma weapons and even Gauss rifles shoot various amounts of differently colored beams, so this trope is bound to come into play whenever a bunch of people carry such gear into battle, but nothing does it better than Gatling Lasers and Institute Rifles. The former fires in long burst of about two dozen shots, the latter in two successive three-shot salvoes. Equip your three-man exploration team with nothing but these (very powerful) guns and watch them incinerate the opposition with a merciless hail of Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • BFG: Certain weapons, such as the MIRV, Gatling Laser, and more. Fittingly, they're very powerful and are among the most powerful weapons in the game. The hands-down strongest weapon in the game is the Dragon's Maw.
  • Big Brother Is Watching:
    • Your Vault Dwellers will tend to say this, when you inspect a room.
      Dweller 1: Stay Sharp! The Overseer is watching us!
      Dweller 2: You mean now? RIGHT now?
      Mr. Handy: Yes, I know you're watching me, Overseer. I'm working as hard as I bloody can!
    • This is Lampshaded when you send dwellers on a quest. They get the suspicious feeling that someone is watching them, but they can't quite put their finger on it.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Attacks by radroaches and radscorpions are a regular occurence both in the Wasteland and inside of the vault. The former are the weakest type of vermin and mostly harmless. The latter... not so much.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Played straight as this game uses the art style of Vault-Tec's Vault-Boy mascot.
  • Black Comedy: Even though it's Lighter and Softer than the main Fallout series, Fallout Shelter has this in spades. Stand-out examples include the flavor text for unlocked weapons (mostly of the "look how awesome it is to mutilate your enemies with this!" variety), and some observations made by a Dweller exploring the Wasteland (such as snarking about how the devastation "totally isn't depressing at all", or suffering Amusing Injuries, usually from being footsore from walking everywhere).
  • Bloodless Carnage: In full effect. Your dwellers and explorers will quickly rack up an enormous body count especially during late-game quests when almost every room throws 2-7 enemies at them, but there's no blood whatsoever. The worst you can do is blow feral ghouls' heads clean off, but even that doesn't draw blood.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Dwellers occasionally find maps during quests that unlock one of these. The locations revealed are usually inhabitated by a lot of dangerous boss creatures and have a powerful Final Boss that tends to drop legendary equipment (if it's a human, they'll drop what they were using against your dwellers). You'll also find many rare and legendary loot items in the local containers (including lunch boxes and pet containers) on top of that but beware: these dungeons can turn out much more difficult than their level and firepower requirements suggest.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Endurance. The only production room that makes use of it is the Nuka-Cola Bottler (which takes a lot of time and effort to unlock), but making sure every dweller has at least 3-4 endurance will help them survive the various flavors of disaster that can strike at any time, saving you stimpaks and caps for revival. Also, equipping a dweller with an outfit that raises endurance beyond 10 will make them immune to radiation while wandering the wastelands, but everyone will still take radiation damage from ghouls and radscorpion attacks.
    • Mr. Handy. Set him to patrol a floor and he'll go back and forth automatically collecting power, food, water, stimpacks, and radaway. He'll also move between rooms automatically to fight off incidents, not counting towards the dweller limit in the room as he helps out. Overall he's nothing flashy, but having several Mr. Handys in your vault will drastically improve its efficiency, and save you a lot of micromanagement.
  • Boring Return Journey: When exploring the wasteland, a dweller will have hostile encounters every couple of minutes, as well as other encounters and finding loot/caps. When you call them back, nothing happens at all on the way. This is to ensure that they actually get back to the vault alive, since they're most likely to be out of stimpaks and low on health by the time you call them back (and may have even been revived from death).
  • Boyish Short Hair: You can acquire female dwellers with short hair. And once you've built a barbershop, you can even request tomboy cuts.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Lunchboxes contain a selection of random goodies. You can get them for free by completing in-game challenges, or just buy them from the store for Real Life money.
    • The design theme fragments are an in-game example. Each theme consists of nine fragments you randomly find on quests, and since the game doesn't check which ones you already have, you tend to scrounge up increasingly more duplicates instead of that one fragment you're missing. Tired of rummaging through every damn container in the whole Wasteland? Just spend three Nuka-Cola Quantum bottles per fragment to unlock them right away.
  • Cap: You can never exceed more than 999,999 caps - no pun intended - with the exception of the overflow that happens when you collect caps from lunchboxes. Dwellers' stats can't be trained past 10 (but buffed up to 17 with legendary clothing), their level is currently capped at 50, they can pick up a maximum of 100 items during exploration and can never be given more than 25 stimpaks and RadAways each before setting out. The amount of items you can store in your vault is capped by your storage rooms' capacity and can be increased by building new ones or upgrading what you already have. Finally, your vault can house a maximum of 200 dwellers, after which no additional personnel can be admitted (not even the ones female dwellers might be pregnant with).
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: If you set two dwellers to guard the vault entrance during an invasion, they may still converse with each other like they would anywhere else while the raiders break down the door.
  • The Cameo: The Legendary Dwellers are all NPCs from Fallout 3, with the two exceptions being the Early-Bird Cameo of Preston Garvey and Piper Wright from Fallout 4 as well as Old Longfellow from the Far Harbor DLC.
  • CCG Importance Dissonance: Some of the stats of equipment don't properly line up with how they compare to each other in the main games.
    • The Gauss Rifle and the Alien Blaster are some of the top-tier weapons in most any Fallout title they appear in. Here they're more mid-powered weapons, on-par with Plasma Rifles, Flamers, and Junk Jets.
    • Institute Rifles and Pistols in Fallout 4 have the lowest damage-per-shot of any Energy Weapon in the game. Here, the Institute Pistol is the strongest pistol-type Energy Weapon, and the Insitute Rifle is as good as a Gatling Laser.
    • Power Armor tends to be the Armor of Invincibility in each game. While this game has multiple suits of Power Armor, their stats are mostly even with other Legendary rarity armors, and since armor just boosts stats in this game and offers no protection from damage, a suit of Combat Armor, a set of football pads, or a bowling shirt, are only slightly less effective than Power Armor. In fact, if you want pure efficiency in your Vault, you'll want everyone with armor that gives +7 to the stat used by their production room, which means they'll be ignoring Power Armor in favor of combat fatiques, mechanic jumpsuits, and lab coats.
  • Character Level: When Dwellers complete various tasks (like producing resources, completing quests, or killing enemies) they will gain experience and individually level up.
    • This, in turn, will increase the amount of Hit Points they will have.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Training rooms let characters train to boost their stats. With a sum total training time of a week or two, a Dweller with 1s across the board can get a perfect SPECIAL score.
  • The Chessmaster: The Horsemen of the Apocalypse questlines involve your dwellers venturing out and fighting against four hostile cults. Along the way, you meet up with Drusilla, a friendly ghoul who's keeping track on the whole thing. Once you finally defeat all four groups, you find out that Drusilla organized the whole thing. The wastelands were already hostile enough, so she sends the four groups against each other and asks you to clean up the mess. She apologizes for using you in such manner, but the end result was a much safer wasteland for everybody.
  • Christmas Episode: A literal nuclear winter wonderland. With the v1.3 update, it was snowing in the wasteland, the dead trees were decorated with strings of christmas lights, and your dwellers celebrated the holidays in fully upgraded diners and barracks.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: Basic items have a green background, offer mild damage ratings on weapons and cumulative bonuses of +3 in case of most outfits; a few give +4. Rare items are blue, boast medium damage and a sum of +5 SPECIAL points. Finally, legendary items are golden, usually inflict massive damage and provide a nice +7 points across the board, with a small handful of very powerful outfits even going beyond that (Piper's Outfit, the Minutemen Uniform and Old Longfellow's Tattered Longcoat increase four stats by +2 each, the unique Detective's Outfit and Jobinson's Jersey even by +4 each).
  • Commonplace Rare: There's a handful of Common and Rare outfits, like the Motorcycle Jacket or the Swing Dress, that cannot be crafted and can only be acquired as loot or from lunchboxes. While there is a slight justification for this (the Common ones give +4 in a single stat and the Rare ones give +6; most other outfits of the same rarity give a total of +3 or +5), the outfits aren't that useful and outclassed by Legendary outfits. But since the pool of Legendary outfits is much smaller than Common or Rare, these outfits are actually hard to come by.
  • Crossover: Fallout Shelter Online had one with Doom Eternal.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: You can inevitably have dwellers trained in just one of the SPECIAL stats for a specific job. Likewise some outfits (ie Wastelander outfit, handyman outfit and formal wear) only boosts one particular SPECIAL stat, but boosts said stat very well. This is the most efficient way to gather resources. A power plant with 6 dwellers all wearing a +5 strength outfit will take less time to ready than if they all wear +3.
  • Critical Existence Failure: All opponents dwellers may encounter during quests will fight at full capacity until their hitpoints reach zero and they keel over. The same is true for vault dwellers themselves under any circumstances. What averts it to some degree are raiders that attack the vault directly - sometimes they'll drop dead right away when defeated, but more often than not they'll stagger around for some seconds with a miserable look on their face before they finally bite the dust.
  • Critical Hit: An important combat feature that takes the form of a reaction-based minigame. Once your dwellers have landed a couple of regular hits on enemies (the required amount depends on their Luck stat), a yellow crosshairs appears over their target. Tapping that pauses combat and brings up four oscillating chevrons that need to be hit when they're as close to the center as possible. How quickly they move is determined by the dweller's Perception. A perfect hit results in a x5 damage multiplier; the outermost position still inflicts x1.25 the base damage. Either way, you win. Critical hits are best kept in reserve for especially tough enemies like radscorpions, deathclaws, and, of course, bosses of all stripes.
  • Crutch Character: Legendary dwellers. They join at a very high level already, and most of them come with an extremely powerful armor and/or weapon equipped, which lets them steamroll any early game quests or wasteland exploration handily. However, in the late game their high starting level hurts them, as it limits their HP growth (which is based on Endurance); by contrast, your normal dwellers can grind to 10/10 Endurance and equip Endurance-boosting armor for good measure, giving them significantly more HP as they level up. Add in that all the equipment legendary dwellers come with can be crafted in workshops, and they will become completely eclipsed by the rest of your populace with equivalent-or-better equipment and much better stats.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Is almost guaranteed to ensue whenever you send well-equipped level 50 dwellers on significantly lower-ranked quests. They'll usually wipe out the entire opposition in any given room without suffering a single hit in return, and even bosses tend to go down in two attack cycles at most. Well-trained Wasteland explorers get one Offscreen Moment of Awesome after the other while they fight through legions of the Wasteland's most lethal monstrosities all on their lonesome before their triumphant return with a backpack filled to the brim with valuable loot.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: High-level Glowing Ones, Glowing Radscorpions and Alpha Deathclaws can soak up ridiculous amounts of firepower, but Glowing Ones are arguably the worst offenders due to their ability to heal themselves and their allies by a significant percentage while simultaneously inflicting massive rad damage on your dwellers. It can become so bad that they heal faster than you can damage them even with top-tier legendary gear and level 50 Master of All dwellers. You better make sure to have three Critical Hits on standby or else.
  • Deadly Game: One of the repeatable quests that cycles up every now and then sends your vault dwellers to a gameshow of "Lose Your Head", where you're required to answer questions relating to Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. If you answer correctly, you earn caps. If you answer wrong, the raiders asking you the questions start attacking you.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You can revive dead dwellers with caps, but higher level dwellers can become rather pricey. A level 1 costs 100 to start, and 1000 caps at level 50. You can leave them dead for as long as you want (or as long as it takes to earn up the caps), but the happiness of other dwellers quickly goes down to around 20% when they have to work in the vicinity of a corpse. The best part is that the Dwellers will constantly remind you of this, with such lines as "My productivity is suffering because of that body," and "What smells like a corpse? Oh, yeah." Averted in Survival Mode, though.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The game's early missions give you a few easy Lunchboxes, and it's possible to pull a Legendary outfit or weapon from them. If you're lucky enough to pull a Legendary Dweller, you just got a high-level Dweller with great stats that comes with a powerful weapon and outfit already equipped, allowing for easy and lengthy wasteland exploration to get more supplies, and they can probably single-handedly fend off early game infestations and attacks.
    • Once you get 22 dwellers (very easy to do quickly and early), you can craft the Weapon Workshop and start crafting. Presuming decent SPECIAL stats, it's possible to churn out a weapon every hour or two, letting you suit up the Vault with shotguns and laser pistols. With 45 dwellers you can upgrade the workship to be able to craft Rare weapons, and if you're lucky enough to find a good weapon recipe, you can start making Rare weapons like plasma rifles and flamethrowers.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: At the end of the Four Horsemen questline, the kindly, unassuming Ghoul librarian Drusilla is revealed to have created the Horsemen as part of an ill-fated attempt to create guardians of the wasteland.
  • Dump Stat: Charisma. Every other stat is needed to run production rooms and/or is useful for general gameplay. Charisma is used to determine how long it takes two Dwellers to have a baby, how well they run the Radio Studio, and the time it takes to customize a Dweller's appearance in the Barbershop; babies are unnecessary once your population is maxed out, the Radio Studio's benefits are negligible, and Dweller customization is optional. And in all three cases, your Dwellers can just throw on some Charisma-boosting armor to help them out. Even with the addition of item crafting, Charisma is not needed for any weapons and the only armor that uses Charisma for determining crafting time are, naturally, pieces that primarily boost Charisma and don't offer any appreciable stat bonus that other outfits don't.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In this case, it's a game mechanic. When Dwellers are exposed to radiation, it effectively decreases their maximum HP. It's an innovative mechanic for this game, because radiation didn't have any immediate consequences in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Players quickly discovered in Fallout 4 that the same mechanic is used: Radiation decreases your max HP.
  • Early Game Hell: For the first while in the game, your vault will teeter on the edge of collapse from any pest infestation or raider or ghoul attack. You have a handful of dwellers with terrible stats who can't efficiently work your production rooms, you'll scrape and pinch to get caps to expand and upgrade the vault, supplies are limited to whatever equipment slain raiders drop and the random spoils of lunchboxes, and crafting or training rooms are a long ways away. As your population begins to grow and you start sending dwellers into the wasteland to scavenge supplies, all of these problems are gradually alleviated and the game becomes considerably gentler.
  • Easy Level Trick: If you see a radscorpion attacking your vault in a remote, unoccupied room, reset the entire game so it will no longer drain your power resources. It will not stop its attack, but it eliminates the greatest frustration caused by this attack.
  • Elite Mook: Dwellers you send out on quests may encounter Glowing versions of Radroaches, Radscorpions, Molerats and Feral Ghouls which serve as bosses. Same goes for giant Deathclaws. It is also possible to come across Raider Bosses in certain missions and encounters. They behave more or less similarly to their underlings, but have better stats along with heavier armor, face paint and a skull next to their health bar. What really sets them apart are their special abilities - raider bosses liberally throw devastating Nuka Grenades, Glowing Ghouls emit radiation pulses that heal other ghouls and inflict heavy rad damage on all dwellers in the room, Deathclaw bosses almost literally turn red, and so on.
  • Enemy Mine: Quest locations have a strange habit of hosting creatures that would kill each other on sight in Fallout's main installments, yet somehow manage to coexist peacefully here. Don't be surprised to encounter feral ghouls in one room, raiders in the next and deathclaws in the one after that, all ready and more than willing to Gang Up on the Human.
  • Equippable Ally: The v1.3 patch introduced pets that you can "equip" to your vault dwellers. Each pet gives bonuses, such as twice the healing rate from radiation exposure.
  • Everybody Knew Already: You discover in "The Secret of [REDACTED]" quest that Vault-Tec has been performing experiments on the vaults for years. Your dwellers point out that it's pretty much common knowledge.
  • Fandom Rivalry: In-Universe, the "War of the Nerds" quest has you trying to bring peace between the fandoms of Space Trip and Cosmic Clash. Follow the Principle Regulation and may the Cosmic Energy guide your way.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: So you want to Time Skip? Tweak your phone or tablet clock in option, crank it forward and load the game. Even if you revert afterward, no one would discover you tweaking the clock. Although if you overdid it, you would no longer receive evaluation rewards if you stopped cranking the time. What's even worse: dwellers sent out to explore the wastelands will find virtually no loot anymore, thus reducing this mechanic to little more than a power-levelling tool. Better use the game's official fast-forward mechanic: Nuka-Cola Quantum bottles, each of which shaves off two realtime hours from whatever you use them on, from SPECIAL training to the time it takes to reach (or return from) a quest.
  • Flunky Boss: All bosses have lesser goons backing them up when dwellers fight them. Quest-boss Molerat Broodmothers even take it one step further by spawning a second wave of rats anytime they feel like it, something nothing and nobody else can do.
  • Forced Tutorial: The game forces you to complete a tutorial quest once you have built an Overseer Center. Say, you will be required to start the quest immediately even if you are unprepared, where stimpacks and weapons are quite lacking at this stage. Should you prepare the quest insufficiently and fails it, it takes about twenty hours to reach the quest destination without Quantums, if you are going to retry the quest.
  • Fog of War: Only the very first room of any given quest location is visible upon arrival, and this one's always empty. Everything past that is covered by black rectangles that dissipate as soon as your dwellers enter the respective room and discover what goodies (and usually nasties) it has in store for them. Paying close attention to your dwellers' banter can often tipp you off about potential trouble though, and they'll also comment on whether or not they're on the right track to the quest target despite not having any way of knowing that.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Your SPECIALnote  attributes.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Legendary Dwellers represent specific named NPCs of importance in the Fallout franchise, but you can have multiple copies of them in your Vault. Not only that, but some of those Legendary Dwellers also act as NPCs in quests and random encounters, which can lead to logical oddities like Star-Paladin Cross providing support fire for her doppelganger, or meeting up with Three Dog with a party that could consist up to three Three Dogs.
  • Gatling Good: Miniguns and Gatling Lasers play the trope straight and are among the most powerful and most versatile weapons in the game.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Radscorpion infestations. Molerats and radroaches have restrictions to how they move through the vault that make it fairly easy to curb their threat by following some basic vault building rules. Radscorpions have none of that. They often pop up in unoccupied rooms far away from the occupied ones (like in your storage halls at the very bottom), and once you've finally managed to send some exterminators down there, the critters will most likely have relocated to literally anywhere else. Have fun chasing the damn things down while trying to keep your low-level dwellers alive and your vault running as the scorpions drain your power supplies like there's no tomorrow. Oh, and unlike roaches and rats, scorpions don't eventually leave on their own. The only way to get rid of them is to kill them dead.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Outfits continue to boost stats beyond 10. There's no indication of this in the game aside from tapping each dweller's SPECIAL bars (which you probably didn't even knew that it does something), but the feature has several very important effects:
      • Sending a dweller into the wasteland with 10 Endurance will have them only getting 1 point of radiation damage at a time. 11 or higher makes them completely immune except from radiation attacks by ghouls and radscorpions.
      • Endurance determines how many hitpoints a dweller gains by leveling up. They start with 105 HP and gain roughly 2.5 + (Endurance * 0.5) HP per level as a rule of thumb. By training a dweller's END to ten, then equipping them with Heavy Wasteland Gear (END +7) before sending them out into the Wasteland, you eventually get the Fallout Shelter equivalent of a tank that boasts almost three times as much health as your basic, untrained couch potato. It's a real pain to pull off, but it makes the many high-risk quests and random encounters in the late game a lot easier.
      • Equipping dwellers in crafting rooms with outfits to boost the current stat used in crafting past 10 will continue to lower the crafting time by a huge margin. We're talking a couple hours instead of one real-time week here.
    • Some dwellers have a certain SPECIAL stat that stands out above the rest, so they will excel and remain happy in the rooms that use that stat. Dwellers regain happiness by being in these rooms (Provided there isn't a dead body making everyone in the room unhappy.) For those dwellers that don't stand out, the only way to find out which rooms will make them happy again is to manually move them and see. However, once you start training stats, they'll become happy if you place them in whatever matches their highest stat.
  • Guile Hero: You - and by extension your dwellers - can act like one during story quests. Most of those get your team into at least one multiple-choice conversation with other people on site. Choose the wrong answer and violence ensues, but the correct one (which usually involves some variation of Bavarian Fire Drill or similar acts of Refuge in Audacity) can often get your team past these obstacles without a fight. Depending on the situation, they might even be rewarded with a neat item instead before being sent on their way once more. Works especially well on raiders.
    • The Weekly quest "Vault-Tec Experiment Review" allows this extensively. The Vaults you're sent to each have certain themes (they're medieval knights, or wrestlers, or sexy super-spies, or Gary), and humoring them will not only avoid fights, but gain you a bounty of Quantum from each group - fighting them just gets you caps. Likewise, "Game Show Gauntlet" expects you to actually answer the questions correctly and rewards you accordingly.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Averted. There is nothing to compensate the Nintendo Hard difficulty of Survival Mode.
  • Halloween Episode: Full sized level 3 Barracks and Cafeterias were decorated with Halloween themes with the October 22nd patch. Vault Dwellers could be equipped with Skeleton and Ghost costumes as well.
  • Hero Unit: Legendary Vault Dwellers, who generally have much better stats than even the rare vault dwellers one can get out of lunch boxes, not to mention your average vault guy/gal. They also come pre-equipped with legendary gear (both outfit and weapon), the type of which depends on the character. Some are little more than glorified items, others are extremely powerful.
  • Holiday Mode: The first was introduced in the October 22nd (2.2.1) patch. The 2nd came for Thanksgiving, and the 3rd is Christmas. For all three holidays, full-sized fully upgraded diners and barracks had special decorative themes and music.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Explorers can carry up to 100 items, ranging from puny .32 pistols over light clothing to full sets of plate armor, huge guns and robotic toy horses that are too heavy to lift in Fallout 4. They'll merrily lug that stuff around for days on end while constantly being accosted by the post-nuclear Wasteland's very hostile fauna. Even the main installments' player characters can't compete with that.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the "Little Miss Wasteland" quest, your vault dweller has this to say during the pageant:
    Dweller: I wish for world peace, and death to anyone who disagrees.
  • Improbable Infant Survival:
    • Children will automatically run and hide when entering a room where a fire, Radroach, or Raider is, thereby not getting themselves killed by it - pregnant women also run and hide, to prevent the Convenient Miscarriage trope from coming into play either.
    • What happens when a pregnant dweller trains her Charisma at the bar? She drinks Nuka-Cola instead of beer
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Sometimes said by dwellers sent out into the wasteland.
    "To heck with Nuka Cola! I need a stiff whiskey!"
  • Item Crafting: As of v1.4 patch, you can craft weapons and gears using junks and recipes collected from the wasteland or from lunchbox.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The Dragon's Maw has a damage of 22-29. It is the most powerful weapon in the game, beating out the MIRV and its variants in pure stats.
    • The Fire Hydrant Bat for melee weapons. It can deal up to a whopping 31 damage with the drawback being that it can deal 19 minimum damage; 3 less than the two weapons stated directly above. Also, being a melee weapon, it can only hit one target per attack cycle, further detracting from its actual usefulness in most combat encounters.
    • Outfit-wise, the unique Detective's Outfit and Jobinson's Jersey - both hard-to-acquire quest rewards - offer cumulative bonuses of +16 points (+4 to four stats each), which is way beyond anything else you can acquire. The later added outfits for the Four Horsemen, won from a very long and difficult questline, also have stat totals of 16 in different spreads
  • An Interior Decorator Is You: By collecting all nine blueprint pieces for each them, you can decorate diners and barracks with themes for the four factions of Fallout 4: the Minutemen, Brotherhood of Steel, the Railroad, or the Institute. You can even turn off holiday themes if you don't want them.
  • Ironic Echo: One major slogan of the game is "Building a better future...underground." If you evict a dweller from your dream vault, there's a chance they might remind you about the slogan and follow that with a challenging "Yeah, right."
  • It Was His Sled: Invoked and Played for Laughs in the quest "The Secret of [REDACTED]". Your dwellers infiltrate a conspiracy which has learned some shocking secret, and eventually their leader lets you in on what they discovered: Vault-Tec was using the Vaults to conduct social experiments on their inhabitants! Your dwellers immediately lampshade that everyone has known that for years.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As snotty as the Dwellers may be towards each other, they are shown to always have each other's backs in the face of danger.
  • Joke Item: BB guns all have a base damage of zero. A rare Armor Piercing BB Gun has a damage range of 0-5, which isn't terrible, but it's still zero. Red Rocket, a legendary BB Gun has a damage range of 0-6. A Rusty BB Gun, the worst weapon in the game, has a damage of 0-1. That means that in a pinch, your dwellers are better off with their fists, as it will guarantee 1 damage. Even the description for the weapon points out how bad it is.
    After 20 shots, you just might knock a tin can off a fence.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Many of the quests you send your dwellers on will involve them venturing into other inhabited vaults in order to help out the dwellers with their problems (usually helping survivors from raiders and the like). Nobody cares that you go through each room one at a time and loot the place clean.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: If you send your Dwellers on a quest and find out that they can't survive the enemies there, you may want to consider giving up on the quest and calling them back to base whenever they are safe. You won't get anything if you abandon a quest, but at least you will have your dwellers back safe and sound in one piece. If you keep going, they could get killed and if you don't have the caps on hand to revive them, they are gone for good.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Quite literally at the start of "Beat Reporting". The editor in chief of a local newspaper addresses you by hanging up a lampshade before continuing her conversation.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Dwellers occasionally lampshade various aspects of the game in their banter.
    Dweller: [while on a quest] Sometimes it feels like one room follows the other.
    Dweller: [while on a quest] Go on quest. Find treasure. Repeat.

    Dweller: Ever feel like life is just an illusion?
    Dweller: Yeah, like we're all just pawns in some game?
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Because leveling up increases the max health of Dwellers, it will fully replenish their health as well.
  • Lighter and Softer: A combination of the artwork, plus how the entire game point is expanding the Vault and keeping your Dwellers happy, creates a great contrast to the other Fallout games.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: On older and lower-end devices, this can be the case. It takes one whole minute from tapping on the icon to getting into the game on an old iPad 4 assuming the app was killed prior (to make room for memory to run other apps), which is only two generations behind at time of writing. One can imagine that it's worse on an iPad 3 (the very minimum that is officially supported by the game) where the device has even less CPU power. And apparently the Android version is just as bad for owners of older/lower-end Android devices.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • A lot of the objectives follow Exact Words that follow this trope. For instance, say you get the objective "craft five rare weapons." The objective does not state you must keep those weapons, thus you can craft a rare weapon, immediately break it down to get most of the components back, and re-craft it four times to meet the objective. The same rule applies to objectives like "collect so many of this item," where if you use or sell the items afterwards you still have credit for the objective for collecting them in the first place.
    • Any quests that demand your Dwellers have a specific kind of weapon or armor only has to have them sent out with that stuff, any gear they find at their destination can be swapped in freely.
    • Radroaches, Molerats, and Fire disasters can only move to other rooms directly adjacent to them, so you can isolate them entirely by leaving dirt around them while only connected to an elevator.
  • MacGyvering: Your dwellers do that when they craft items since the choice of components they require tends to be... odd. Like, building the game's most powerful flamethrower out of four cameras, two robotic toy horses and two chemistry flasks. Or a full set of combat armor out of a baseball glove and a toy car.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Averted. Vault Dwellers of different skin colors have no problems having children with each other, which is mildly surprising when you remember that Fallout society is like 1950s USA, only more so. The developers probably decided that dealing with MMM wouldn't fit in a Lighter and Softer mobile game. Then again, if you're stuck in a vault with only a small number of other people and the general consensus is that the world outside is destroyed and who-knows-how-many-people-survived, you wouldn't be so picky too. And especially if it's on the orders of the overseer.
    • The aversion of this trope is actually carried over from the larger Fallout universe whose 1950s-style America was an insanely depressing Crapsaccharine World in most aspects, but surprisingly progressive in some others. Homosexuality for instance was nothing anyone raised an eyebrow at, and neither were interracial relationships - unless you were unfortunate enough to look even vaguely Chinese when the Resource Wars began to turn hot...
  • Mating Dance: After becoming interested in each other, two dwellers in the living quarters start bouncing and waving their arms to jazzy music, before they decide to breed.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: This is how radiation damage works - it subtracts from your dwellers' health and prevents healing until it has been healed itself with RadAway. If you see ghouls or read anything about them in a quest objective (especially Glowing Ones), grab as many RadAways as you can before setting out.
  • Medium Awareness: Bethesda posts it's update notes and the game's blurb on the App Store and Play Store in-character as a Vault Tec representative, but had admitted to the game being a vault simulator several times despite still being in-character.
  • Metal Slime: The Mysterious Stranger; he sometimes appears at random in one of your rooms, but if you're able to click him he coughs up some caps, whose value can be between tens or 5000.
  • Money for Nothing: One of the most common complaints among players. The caps do nothing other than building and upgrading new rooms, vault expansion, crafting and reviving dead dwellers.note  Even if you spent a lot of caps on renovating the vault, the caps are extremely easy to come by and you will hit the cap mentioned above in a few weeks when you are at end-game level. Also, the lunchboxes award you 500 caps most of the time.
  • Mook Chivalry: Raiders, Radscorpions, Deathclaws, it doesn't matter. If there are enemies in a quest room, they will never attack until all of your dwellers have made it inside. Instead, they and the dwellers wait patiently until everyone is present. THEN they start fighting.
  • Musical Episode: In the quest "Wasteland: The Musical" most of the dialogue is in verse.
  • Mythology Gag: The quest "Powered Up" has you sending vault dwellers to an old nuclear power plant, only to find a friendly ghoul inside. This is a reference to Fallout 2, where the Chosen One comes across an entire town of ghouls who are operating a nuclear power plant.
  • Nerf: Wasteland exploration was massively nerfed over the course of several updates, with the most notable instance being the National Guard Depot that dwellers nearly always happen upon after 60 hours of exploration. Where the encounter used to have a very high chance of netting a legendary item, now it only gives a minor amount of experience points. What's even worse: it's now impossible to find legendary gear in the Wasteland at all; the best you can hope for is the occasional legendary blueprint or crafting component. Many a player has gone on record stating that exploration lost almost its entire appeal because of this, and that the game's long-term fun suffered a heavy blow in the process.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rackie Jobinson.
  • No Kill like Overkill: A whodunit mystery quest called "Death and Denial" has your dwellers investigating a murder at a rich manor. The body was apparently stabbed 64 times with a dagger.
  • Notice This: Almost every room of any given quest location contains between one and three loot items, depending on the size of the room in question. Fixed containers like crates or cupboards give off a highly visible sparkle whereas the bodies of slain enemies have some sort of shimmering aura instead, both of which serve the same purpose: making sure you don't leave anything valuable behind.
  • Nuke 'em: The Fat Man weapon, obviously. The animation shows your dweller taking time to line up a proper arc, firing the mini-nuke, and then the room is engulfed in a blue and white flash followed by an orange mushroom cloud.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Upon conception, women blow up to delivery-size and stay that way until they give birth. It even weighs down their walking pace as they walk away from the bedroom where they and their partner just did the deed.
  • Offer Void in Nebraska: The Android version is not available on any alternate Android app stores outside of Google Play, locking out an even larger number of uncertified Android and "Android-compatible" phones and tablets that do not have the Google Play access simply for not meeting Google's strict system or even businessnote  requirements. But given how the game is buggy on any Android device that isn't mid-high end, it may be for the best note 
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Any Wasteland explorer's text log consists almost entirely of these. They encounter several hostile creatures per minute and - assuming their stats and equipment are up to par - will usually massacre them in short order. It starts out pretty tame with Goomba-level critters but escalates quickly once the explorer has been out for a day or longer. Anyone familiar with Fallout 3 and/or Fallout 4 will probably feel a measure of respect for those dwellers that run across one Super Mutant Behemoth after the other and emerge victorious every time.
  • Off with His Head!: Feral ghouls will often lose their head upon death, a quite jarring exception to the game's otherwise very mild depiction of violence.
  • Oh, Crap!: One of the possible messages in a dweller's exploration journal is, "Huh. What's that flashing thing? How is OH MY GOD I'M IN A MINEFIELD. Sloowwwlly now..."
  • One-Hit Polykill: Easily done with explosive weapons since their shots hit every target in the room simultaneously (but fortunately not the shooter). It's especially noticeable when an explorer equipped with a missile launcher or a Fat Man encounters a random quest to investigate a location in the wasteland. Often there are up to six or seven targets (usually raiders) in one of the rooms, all of which will drop dead in unison once they hit Critical Existence Failure.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Certain quests have you send out a single dweller instead of up to three, with the objective usually being something along the lines of "kill everything". With a flamer. S/he will inevitably massacre their way through dozens of hostiles all on their lonesome.
    • Taken to rather ludicrous extremes with high-level explorers - see Offscreen Moment of Awesome above.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: For metagamers, Luck is generally seen as the most useful SPECIAL stat, followed by Endurance and Perception:
    • Luck affects how likely a dweller is to acquire caps, both in production rooms and when exploring the wasteland. A high luck also reduces the chance of a rush attempt failing.
    • Endurance increases the amount of health a dweller gains from leveling up. When exploring, a high endurance will reduce the amount of rads a dweller gains. Outfits continue to boost your stats beyond 10 (even though it doesn't show,) so having an endurance of 11 makes you immune to radiation.
    • Perception increases the chance of finding higher quality loot while exploring and slows down the critical hit crosshair to make it easier to hit for maximum damage.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. When you open lunchboxes, the game doesn't check to see if you have already unlocked a legendary dweller and if said dweller is in your vault and alive when granting you legendaries. Cue some players getting several Amatas, several Lucas Simms, several Preston Garveys, etc. You can get the same effect with basic dwellers as well due to the random name generation for babies. If your vault is housing 100+ inhabitants, chances are good that several groups of dwellers share the same forename among them, which can make it difficult to quickly find the one with the big gun when heavy firepower is needed.
  • Only Six Faces: As per You all look familiar below, the game has a limited number of faces and bodies that it mixes and matches to form each dweller.
  • Pac Man Fever: For a game set in an AU 50s with holograms and fully sentient AI, the Pip-Ball/Wasteland machine only plays beepy electronic music like the kiddie rides of the 60s instead of the basic pinging noises pinball machines of the 50s are known for, or even full wave audio playback from pinball machines of the 80s onwards which is not so farfetched in the Fallout universe. The machine is also visibly lacking a DMD.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Dwellers, if carrying a gun, will sometimes pistol-whip the enemy with it if they're too close.
  • Play Every Day:
    • Log in for 7 days and you get a free Lunchbox full of neat goodies. If you miss a day, it just picks up right where you left off, instead of resetting back to day one.
    • The game offers daily and weekly quests with potentially quite decent rewards to further incentivize regular play.
  • Power Glows: Glowing versions of hostile creatures, well, glow, and they're much more powerful than their lesser buddies.
  • Power Up Letdown:
    • You can upgrade the Vault door to increase its HP, which makes it take longer for attackers to break through it and you have more time to move your dwellers into place to fight them off. However, Raiders and Ghouls are such pathetic opponents that it already takes them a fair bit of time to break through an un-upgraded door, and the higher HP means it takes them even longer, except you'll want them to break in so you can kill them and get the attack over. As for the third type of attacker, Deathclaws, the higher HP will do very little to keep them out and maybe only buy you a couple of seconds. Overall, upgrading the Vault door is just a waste of caps.
    • You can upgrade training rooms to increase the speed at which the dwellers improve, but the improvement is a few minutes, and at higher levels, an hour or so. It takes around three full days to fully train a dweller to a 10/10 in a stat, and a fully upgraded room will shave off about six hours, which isn't really a noticeable improvement for the fair sum of caps it costs to do the upgrade.
  • Pregnant Badass: Averted. They always flee whenever an incident occurs in the room they're in, even when equipped with weapons, even when they're one of the super-stat legendary dwellers (like Moira or Sarah Lyons). You also can't send them on wasteland forays, though given their condition, the aversion is justified. However, you can still get them to lift weights and do sit-ups, or operate a nuclear super-reactor...
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The flavor text for the Lucky Nightwear outfit.
    Go to bed grinning and wake up smiling. Every. Single. Time.
  • Random Drop: Raiders attacking your Vault drop one item (an outfit, a weapon, or a crafting recipe, and Dwellers exploring the wastelands are subject to this for the loot pickups.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Sometimes a dweller(s) will have their happiness dropped to 10% after they are revived after quests.
  • Retcon: of the Rewrite category: Fallout lore dictates that the vaults can carry 1000 (and on occasion, 2000) people, but your vault can only carry 200. The game blames it on "Vault-Tec rules" in a loading screen message, which contradicts franchise's lore. note  Also, there are officially only 113 Vaults. This game lets you go to Vault 999, and in all likelihood will suggest a random number higher than 113 when you create a new Vault.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The pets, but most of all the cats. Go ahead, take them along on quests and don't go "D'awww!" when those cuddly smiling fur balls make the most adorable meows while they (ineffectually) claw away at their masters' enemies. Dogs on the other hand are prone to sitting up and begging when attached to someone working in the vault, along with doing other tricks and idle animations.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Whenever you plonk down a new room, it appears instantly in its full glory (although the lights need a few seconds longer to activate). The same happens when two rooms of the same type connect, as well as when rooms are upgraded.
  • Running Gag: One of the Game Show quests involves questions involving the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 3 and 4. The fourth answer option you can give for each of the multiple choice questions involves donkeys.
  • Scary Scorpions: Radscorpions rank a solid second among the game's four non-humanoid enemy types in terms of lethality, just shy of the dreaded deathclaws. The ones encountered on quests are the size of a car, hit like one, never come alone, and their glowing boss version has a pounce attack that can potentially One-Hit Kill even a level 50 dweller. Those are the lesser problem. The radscorpions that occasionally invade your vault are the really scary ones. They're the top tier infestation players have to contend with, and even a single scorpion can wipe out entire rooms full of armed dwellers in seconds with massive amounts of physical and radiation damage before reinforcements can be called in. Not helping at all is their ability to pop up anywhere when they relocate, which may result in a tier-3 scorpion reappearing in a fully occupied room that doesn't level up its inhabitants, like a radio station for instance. Hope you have the funds ready to revive a dozen dwellers after every attack. Did we mention they also drain the vault's power reserves like crazy just by being there?
  • Scenery Gorn: The game somehow manages to make the Wasteland's ruined cities look even more devastated than the main installments do when you get to see them during quests, despite of the much less detailed graphics.
  • Servile Snarker: Mr. Handy will make make comments in the vault and out in the wasteland, delivering sarcasm even when they claim to be emotionless.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Once two dwellers have finished dancing in the living quarters, they will kiss and hug, walk into the bedroom, and do something offscreen, with you only seeing happy faces popping out. Then they will come out with the wife being obviously pregnant.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Comes into play when fighting Glowing Ghouls. Their radiation burst attack deals severe damage to your dwellers, but simultaneously heals the Glowing One and its minions by a substantial amount - two reasons at once to concentrate fire on the boss first.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
      • It's either this or a Call-Back to the Lone Wanderer's birthday party in Fallout 3, introduced with the 1.2 patch:
        Dweller: Somebody stole my sweetroll!
      • Another one any long-time player will be intimately familiar with. Dwellers occasionally say it upon picking up items during quests.
        Dweller: Some may call this junk. Me, I call it treasure.
      • One timed quest chain that's offered around Valentine's Day is called "The Book of Love" and revolves around bringing people together.
      • The Cat Burglar from the quest of the same name calls you out on this.
        Cat Burglar: If you have four legs, you live. Two legs, you die.
        Dweller: What if you lost one leg after taking an arrow to the knee?
        Cat Burglar: You'll die for making that crossover joke!
    • One of the quests is called "There's no Crying in Baseball!"
    • The description for the Ocicat goes as follows:
      The closest you'll get to an ocelot. Revolver not included.
    • Fallout Shelter itself gets a shout-out in the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC for Fallout 4. Instead of the normal dialogue your settlers drop, the residents of Vault 88 will use lines from Fallout Shelter.
    • One of your dwellers may shout out "FNORD!" during "The Secret of [REDACTED]" quest.
    • There's a legendary Greyhound pet named "Little Helper".
  • Sidequest: With the 1.6 update, optional quests were introduced to the game in which the player could send Dwellers into the Wasteland to complete various objectives.
  • Sting: A three-note piano sting plays whenever the Mysterious Stranger appears. The louder the music, the closer he is in one of the surrounding rooms from where you are looking.
  • Story Arc: The various questlines all form together their own storylines, but the largest in the whole game is the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, a large encompassing questline that took numerous updates to fully flesh out.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Missile launchers and especially the man-portable nuclear catapults nicknamed "Fat Man" create some pretty impressive explosions. Mr. Handy robots also detonate in a bright nuclear mushroom cloud upon death, although that doesn't appear to deal damage.
  • Take That!: In early May 2018, the game temporarily had its icon changed to an imagine of Vault Boy screaming to the right, clearly taking a jab at the typical mobile game icon of "face screaming to the right". The update notes had this to say.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Dwellers engage in a lot of banter during quests, with half of it being inner monologues (which you can partake in regardless) and the other half being directed at their team mates. While some of their lines are friendly and supportive, a surprising amount consists of snappy, ill-tempered retorts to whatever another dweller just said, giving off the impression that your squads aren't exactly big on cooperation and really just want to get away from those deadbeats they're forced to work with. Fortunately, it has no impact on their combat effectiveness.
  • Timed Mission: The game offers daily and weekly quests that need to be started (not finished) within their allotted time frame lest they get replaced by another one. Certain quest chains are also labelled as timed, but it's not stated exactly how long you have to tackle them. It appears to be a quite generous amount of time though.
  • Throw Down The Bomblette: Certain raider bosses can use Nuka Grenades. They hold the weapon above their heads to show it off before rolling it across the floor, where it then explodes into a mushroom cloud and deals heavy damage to every dweller in the room.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Dwellers equipped with Institute Rifles do this every time they attack. They fire two shots, perform a smooth backward roll and shoot another three times. Not even wearing Powered Armor prevents them from performing these acrobatics.
  • Understatement: In-Universe, the flavor text for the Fat Man describes it as this.
    A portable nuclear bomb catapult. "Deadly" is an understatement.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Initially played straight up until the 1.2 patch went live. The Raiders who break into your vault are always armed, but you couldn't scavenge the weapons off their corpses after you defeated them. Now, you can loot raiders who have been killed in your vault: One of them will always have an item on them, and the rest will yield caps.
    • Sadly this is still played straight, as, even though you can obtain an item, it won't necessarily be one the raiders had on them. Meaning even if you just got attacked by four Raiders wearing Raider armor and carrying plasma weapons, somehow you can still get a .32 pistol or an armored vault suit from the corpses.
  • Uriah Gambit: Whenever you receive a rare dweller and yet you reached the 200 Dweller cap, up until the December patch, the only way to add them into the vault was to send unwanted dwellers to the wasteland and let them die. Now, you can just kick them out instead.
  • Victory Is Boring: A downside of the game is that it only takes a month or so of steady play to get to this point. You'll end up with a vault with a large population of dwellers with 10/10 in all stats, who can easily produce more than enough resources to keep the vault running forever, and you'll probably swimming in caps and rare junk for crafting. But at this point there's not much left to do but send the dwellers on quests to get even more caps and junk, and eventually you'll do all the major quest chains and only have rotating quests to do. This also means you don't have any real way to farm rare junk other than wasteland exploration, so even if you hang in for the sake of crafting to Min Max your dwellers or establish a theme to everyone's outfit and weapon, it'll take time to make it happen and there's not much you can do to hasten it.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Because this is a game where you manage the life of a bunch of Vault Boy look-a-likes (the so-called Dwellers), it's not hard to get somewhat attached to them. Much like The Sims, one of the reasons for it is how quirky the game can be. The game also plays on stroking your ego by having your dwellers sing praises at you in idle conversation if you're doing a good job running the Vault.
    • As in the main games, most encounters with Raiders end with a shoot-out one way or the other. The Christmas-themed seasonal quests instead allow you to engage in diplomacy with them and get what you want without violence. How? Why, by appealing to their sense of Christmas spirit and convincing them to be good, of course! The New Year's seasonal quests take it a step further: the entire questline starts off with your dwellers going out with a wild night of partying with a group of Raiders, and in the chaos they lost track of the Overseer's son Jack. Most of the Raiders you meet in the questline are perfectly friendly and willing to give you information to help find him, and the only hostile Raiders you talk to are slavers and cannibals.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Since you are taking care of a Vault, you can experiment on your people, and by that it means you can basically torture your Dwellers through the game mechanics. The easiest way would be to send a dweller out to explore the wasteland and then leave them out to die. Another way to kill them is rushing a production room repetitively until they're all dead due to the resulting disasters.
    • You can assign Dwellers specific names according to their stats and purpose. This eases Dweller organization and ensures you always know each Dweller's purpose in your Vault, but then you realize you have just implemented a Fantastic Caste System. Congratulations, Vault-Tec would be so proud of you.
    • One of the possible quests is 'Stop x incidents'. If you don't like waiting, especially when the number reaches as high as 75, the quickest way to complete it is of course, to create your own incidents. Which involves working your Dwellers to near-death to continually rush rooms.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can, of course, dress up your Dwellers using various apparel that you craft or find in the Wasteland.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: If you don't have enough food to go around, your Dwellers will lose health from hunger pangs.
  • World of Snark: You could consider it a defensive coping mechanism for the nuclear apocalypse. Many many characters are snarky. All Dwellers are this at some point or another. Mr. Handy makes commentary based exactly on what type of room it's in, and loves to snark about the Nuclear Reactor rooms in particular. Snarky responses to raider questions tend to really rile them up before they attack you.
    • For example:
      Dweller 1: My birthday's coming up. What are you going to get me?
      Dweller 2: A dictionary, so you can look up the definition of "selfish." / Hand-knitted socks, of course. They're my specialty.
    • Another example:
      Dweller 1: What's up?
      Dweller 2: Oh, you know. A ceiling made of steel. With a copious amount of asbestos, by the looks of it.
  • You All Look Familiar: There are only a few head designs, and the game reuses the same body type with all the different head types. Having some actually looking like identical twins when actually unrelated is inevitable.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: You have the option to kick dwellers you don't want/need out of the vault for good. Useful if your vault is at capacity and you just got a rare or even legendary dweller out of a lunchbox - just give one of your low-stat noobs the boot and welcome the much more capable replacement. Oh, and good luck trying not to feel like a complete dick about what you just did, especially when you see the poor fella's happiness take a very steep dive as he trudges to the door without armor, weapons or supplies to even give him a chance at survival in the Death World outside.
  • Zerg Rush: Feral Ghouls attack your vault in a horde of up to six. They're very fast and will demolish a fully upgraded vault door in seconds, but they have almost no HP, so they die just as quickly.