I don’t know why, but Fallout is one of the series that I fanboy hardest over. Fallout 3 was probably the first game that I followed the development of from the outset in around 2006. It was exciting and frightening at the same time, watching a game I had loved be squeezed and pushed into the engine of a different game I loved only slightly less.

If anything, the way fans have stuck with the series across genres really speaks to how a powerful setting can trump personal tastes with regard to the stuff we usually understand as game genres. From a top-down cRPG, to a FPS RPG-lite, to an unnecessarily needy Dungeon-Keeper-Mobile-like, people just love this setting.

Perhaps that’s because, as with the Elder Scrolls, the Fallout universe is very good at supporting the fantasies of players who want to be doing Something of Great Portent, while simultaneously catering to the (probably much larger) demographic who just want to watch the world burn.

The first couple of times you send dwellers out to explore and gather equipment is exciting, especially when you load them up with enough life-supporting stimpacks for them to get quite far and gather a bunch of neat stuff.

The excitement begins to wane around day two or three when you realize the need to check on your explorers – to see if they need to begin heading home lest a mutant bear munch their last few hit-points – is just the game’s way of bringing you back two or three times a day.

I never played Dungeon Keeper Mobile, but I remember the fuss – a pretty good example of the backlash that happens when you take a well-loved hardcore series and monetize the bejeezus out of it. Fallout Shelter seems to have learnt some of Dungeon Keeper’s lessons; it’s quite playable without spending silly amounts of money, for example. And it establishes a new mini-game set in the same universe, rather than bastardizing an existing game and watering it down.

But even though Fallout Shelter is arguably less of a dodgy FTP mobile game than Dungeon Keeper, it still feels like a time sink, in a bad way. I don’t feel like I’m having many ‘aha!” moments. It’s hard on the old pocket-watch and tappy-tappy finger and easy on the noggin.

It’s a fuzzy feeling to pan through my tiny underground bunker, with all my stupidly-named sycophants in their fancy outfits, like a tiny ant-farm in my Tesco Hudl. Those brief moments in a sim game where there is nothing to do and everything is stable and you can behold your work. But recently I’ve become more and more drawn to the idea that a lot of what games do is just shortcut some intrinsic human need for success or novelty, and Fallout Shelter feels much more like its providing the kind of low-level opiatic buzz I might get from completing the washing-up, rather than the big feelings that accompany other Fallout games – feelings that are meant to quiet my unmet drive to do Something of Great Portent in the real world.

Good job I have a dishwasher, so I have more time to play Fallout Shelter.

If you haven’t played the game yet, don’t worry, dorkly have already made a slideshow of interesting things that might happen in the game, so you don’t even have to play it yourself.