The Best Games Like Fallout Shelter


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The Best Games Like Fallout Shelter

An assortment of building and survival sims to keep you micromanaging in style.

Fallout Shelter is Bethesda Game Studios’s most played game, far surpassing even their legendary hit Skyrim. The game is free to play and available on everything from phones to consoles to computers, which no doubt contributes to its popularity. But it’s also just a really fun, well-made little building/survival sim.

If you’ve had your fill of Fallout Shelter but have an itch to play something similar, I’ve collected some of my favorite play-alikes in this list!

I’ve listed them in alphabetical order since I feel they’re all too different to rank effectively.

Cities: Skylines

If what you like about Fallout Shelter is the building and planning, there’s no better game for that than Cities: Skylines. This is the ultimate city building simulator, the spiritual successor to the classic Sim City games. You won’t get as up-close-and-personal with your residents as you do in Fallout Shelter, but you’ll be able to manage a living, breathing cityscape, from utilities to traffic to political policies.

Cities: Skylines can be played on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, OS X, Linux, and Windows. A sequel, Cities: Skylines II, was released in October, but I recommend sticking with the original for now.

Factorio

Factorio is a building simulator, but it’s a very different kind of building sim than Cities: Skylines. Instead of raising a sprawling cityscape, you’re constructing a complex series of machines designed for mining, research, production, and combat. It’s a bit like Warcraft I and II, but without the peons – your workforce is entirely automated.

Factorio can be played on Nintendo Switch as well as macOS, Linux, and Windows.

Fallout 4

This wouldn’t be a list of games that are like Fallout Shelter without mentioning at least one of the other games in the Fallout series. Technically the most recent game in the franchise is Fallout 76, but the single-player RPGs are classics, and Fallout 4 is the most recent of those. While it’s a very different type of game than Fallout Shelter, it features the same alternate history Cold War setting and offbeat, cartoonish humor. There’s also a settlement building feature that may appeal to you if you enjoy the building aspect of Fallout Shelter.

You can play Fallout 4 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, or Windows.

Oxygen Not Included

Here’s another one of my favorite base building/survival sims, very similar to Fallout Shelter in both gameplay and style. It’s from Klei Entertainment, a small studio best known for the Don’t Starve games, and features their characteristic quirky hand-drawn art style. The 2D side view of your base will feel familiar to Fallout Shelter players, and there’s a similar approach to construction and personnel management, but a lot more complexity in terms of what you can build and how it all works together to keep your colony running smoothly.

You can play Oxygen Not Included on macOS, Linux, and Windows.

Project Highrise

If you’re old enough to remember the game Sim Tower, then Project Highrise may feel very familiar to you. It’s essentially an updated version of that classic building sim. The result looks very similar to Fallout Shelter as well, with its vertical 2D building style – the big difference being that you’re building mostly above ground. You don’t have as much control over the people who come and go from your building, but you’ll have plenty of freedom to construct the building of your dreams, from businesses to living spaces to the utilities that help them function.

Project Highrise is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, OS X, and Windows.

Rimworld

Up next is one of my most played games of the last several years, another fantastic base building/survival sim. If colony management appeals to you – which I imagine is the case if you’re looking for games like Fallout Shelter – then you’ll love Rimworld. You crash-land on a strange planet with three colonists and a plethora of resources at your disposal to build whatever sort of colony you choose. You can build a high-tech civilization of cyborgs, a sweet little tribe of vegetarians, or cartel of drug-dealing cannibals – the sky is the limit. Like in Fallout Shelter, you’ll have control over construction as well as the people in your colony – although they have a bit more independence here, with their own quirks, wants, and needs.

Rimworld can be played on Playstation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux, and Windows. There are three fantastic DLC available for the game, but you can have plenty of fun in the base game as well.

Sheltered

Of all the games on this list, Sheltered is probably the most similar to Fallout Shelter. The basic mechanics are the same: you manage the construction of a shelter following a global apocalypse, as well as the people inside. But Sheltered is a little more personal and poignant, with a family of survivors at its center and a few more RPG elements to get you invested in the story.

You can find Sheltered on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, OS X, Linux, and Windows. There’s a sequel to the game, Sheltered 2, that was released in 2021, but I recommend sticking with the original.

This War of Mine

The final game on my list is one that plays somewhat like Fallout Shelter, but has a very different atmosphere and mood. This War of Mine is a serious game, taking you into the everyday struggle of civilians trying to survive in a war zone. I won’t lie to you: the game can be extremely bleak, and you will have to make impossible choices at times, but you’ll come away from the experience with a new appreciation for the hardships that are brought on by war, even beyond direct combat. In terms of gameplay, there is less building involved and more scavenging and crafting.

This War of Mine can be played on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows.

 

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