Take the role of Vault administrator in Fallout Shelter, the franchise’s first mobile game

Believe it or not, Bethesda’s last entry into the Fallout franchise appeared seven years ago, and Obsidian’s alternative take on the same world is now half a decade old. Fans have been itching for something – anything – to quench their thirst for new content. And Bethesda has just served up a new game that could be more refreshing than any Nuka Cola.

Fallout Shelter is a real-time strategy game for iOS. Yes, I know, it’s a mobile game. The horror! But keep reading. The game lets you take complete control of your own vault and oversee its well-being as it grows from a few measly room into a full-blown facility. You’ll be in charge of providing resources, defenses, and convincing the population to, you know, continue the human race.

The game has a two-dimensional side-on aesthetic (though the engine appears to be 3D) and brings immediate comparison to the strategic base-building portion of XCOM:Enemy Unknown. Those less enthusiastic about mobile gaming might instead compare it to Tiny Tower or a million other 2D structure-building titles.

Actual gameplay seems to be a cross between SimCity and 2D strategy side-scrollers like Swords & Soldiers. It’s not clear how important combat will be to the game on the whole, but raiders did appear. Otherwise, it looks like players will be responsible for properly laying out each base, finding resources, and combating disasters.

Best of all, you don’t have to wait. Fallout Shelter is available right now, for free, for iOS. As you might imagine, given the non-existent price tag, Bethesda will be making money from in-game transactions, which were briefly shown as “lunch boxes” that provided various items including weapons when opened. The company says there won’t be any paid timers to hold players back, so transactions will be strictly for boosting the effectiveness of your base and upping the chance of finding rare upgrades.

In theory, at least. We’ve heard that song before, and it’s sometimes misleading. At least you won’t have to wait to find out the truth.