We Happy Few is a survival game developed by Compulsion Games and will be available on Xbox One and PC. At the time of writing this first look, you can buy the early access on Steam here.
I didn’t know much about this game prior to playing it other than it seemed very easy to piss off an entire town full of people. What drew me to We Happy Few was just how the game looked in the trailers and I of course bought into the hype that came with it. I had no idea it was a survival game either, which made my first few days in the game rather frantic. I didn’t actually advance much in the story…okay so I didn’t advance the story at all. I played for a few hours and all I really did was go around choking people to death, pillaging their homes, and stockpiling supplies that I would probably not need for a long time. I even made some sneakers to be extra sneaky.
I completed a few side quests but man they are super encrypted as to what you need to do and navigating the menus took a while to get used to. The main story reveals that you, Arthur, live in a place called Wellington Wells and everyone is super drugged up on something called “Joy” which comes in pill form. You work at a company that censors newspaper articles but it seems that chaos has ensued. When the effects of “Joy” wears off, memories of the past come flooding back and deciding to stay off of “Joy” permanently labels you as a Downer which is a huge no-no. Following the opening cinematics, you wake up in your brand new home (which seemed to be previously occupied) and start your quest to escape the city while searching for answers. Well, the actual game just tells you to escape but I had questions I wanted answers to and the townsfolk were of no help – so I killed them.
I really love the concept, look, and feel of We Happy Few but it still leaves a lot to be desired. Keep in mind though, that this is still under development and although I haven’t been with the game from the start to see how it has progressed, more is on the way. The fighting system is simple and intuitive – you have the fight or flight response available to you and if you choose to fight, you’d better get good at timing your blocks to allow counter-attacks. Losing a brawl doesn’t necessarily kill you. You could just get knocked out and come-to in a bit, depending on who your attackers were.
The crafting is fine: unlock recipes as you progress and navigating the crafting menu is easy. Just choose the item you want to craft and hit a button to create it! The downside is that your inventory space is so limited and sometimes items don’t stack properly which means there’s no point in stockpiling. In that sense, it is a great survival game where it forces you to carry only what you need and perhaps a bit more for emergencies. Travel light, pack smart, and be aware of your surroundings in case you need to grab some supplies on your way back for the night.
The biggest obstacle I had was food. I couldn’t figure out if there was a way to plant some of the things I found as the item description implied and once I had dug it up, it never grew back so it seemed like food was an extremely limited resource. Your alternative was to hunt people and pillage their bodies to see if they happened to be carrying any food on them. When they actually do, chances are it was rotten and you’ll get food sickness which causes your screen to blur every few seconds (this may actually cause nausea) until it either wears off or if you have a pill to cure it. I suggest always carrying the pill.
The npcs in town just spout jibberish and are just there for you to mess with. Quest givers, on the other hand, do have a bit more personality. However, considering the situation everyone is in, it is always sprinkled with a bit of insanity. The area is huge and it does take time to get from Point A to Point B while deciphering hints for quests as you go but it is quite enjoyable as long as you are topped off on sleep, water, and food. Oh, there is one quest that actually gives you the plague and you will eventually die from it. Took me a while to figure out what was happening but it was rather cool to actually experience that.
We Happy Few has a very strong Bioshock vibe to it and combined with the elements of a survival game makes for a very fun experience. Don’t be a downer and try it out now! Once again, it is currently still in early access the time of this post so you can opt for that or wait for the full release.
See you next game! -DecoyEC has logged off.