We Happy Few Early Access review
We Happy Few is… what I would call a heavy survival first-person indie. Otherwise, who would want to eat or drink within five minutes to survive in this crazy yet happy world? Developer Compulsion Games released We Happy Few preview two days back and during the 45-minutes trial, I got to try the first few missions and some exploring.
Have you had your Joy?
We Happy Few puts you in the middle of 1960s-esque England where the rich depends on the ‘Joy’ pills to forget their past and live the happiest. The game works around our decisions mostly. You take the role of a clerk, Arthur, who took a chance to try out what would happen if someone forgets to take their Joy pills. When the game starts, you will be treated in front of your approval machine, which brings back Arthur’s old memories, that means real sadness. Next, you can decide if you want to take the Joy pills and forget the past, live a happy life or you can try throwing it away. Not taking the pills for a long time will let you remember your old memories and if the happy ones find out about this, you will be marked as a Downer. And you can’t stay for too long until the game forces you not to take the pills and makes you the sole witness of a pinata turning into a dead rat and eventually getting caught as the aforementioned ‘Downer’.
So what about being a Downer?
The citizens of Wellington Wells doesn’t want sadistic characters in their city. They want everyone to be happy or else they would be sent to the other half of the map ,which is separated by a bridge, where they live as Downers in squalor and madness. But once we get there, we will understand what survival really means.
Crafting is the main business here. You can collect or loot items from the dust bins, closets and from plants which can be crafted later into useful items. But it really is hard and you won’t actually get time for this. What’s so about time, you might think. Nothing so bad other than Arthur getting hungry or thirsty or even sleepy in five minutes. Once through the game, I died of thirst even after I drank a bottle of water just five minutes ago. You will be ravaging through the same streets again and again to find anything to eat or a place to sleep which makes the game somewhat irritating.
The game splits its survival into four phases: Hunger, Thirst, Sleep, and Health. You can’t sprint or jump continuously if any of these four is in a low mode which actually will get low after two or three minutes. When you start sprinting, a stamina meter will appear which will decrease somewhat rapidly reducing your energy.
Wellington Wells and its citizens
The setting is wonderful, especially the rich part of the country where everyone is ‘happy’! The 1960s England feels great. Although I couldn’t explore it completely, I did encounter some side missions. One of them made me help a man who was vomiting so bad, then he made me clean his mess too. Another one made me catch a running man because he was late to attend his date (I really wonder why the game wanted me to stop him). The NPCs act wisely as well. I accidentally entered into an old gran’s house where she was conducting a party to two or three fellows. When she noticed me, she got suspicious of me saying that she doesn’t remember inviting me. I did explore her house a little bit until she yelled at me to get out.
As I said before, we can continue our life eating Joy pills rather than going through all the mess. But don’t get addicted to Joy, the game says but I couldn’t really experience it. If you’re going the other way as a Downer, you need to make it look as a happy person in order to wander the happy streets. You may want to change your outfits too for that. But entering into the Downer streets will make you encounter some fist fights with the other Downers. The game warns us to spend the night sleeping or to get ready if you want to rule the night. But before anything beware your hunger.. and thirst too.
We Happy Few delivers an excellent experience as a survivor and I was afraid too. In my 45-minutes of gameplay, I played through the storyline for a few minutes before started wandering through the streets. The crafting is difficult mostly in finding its requirements. The hunger system is also not appreciated but it could be solved before the game releases as a final product. There will also be other playable characters who will be linked to the story line. The game has some tiny bugs like collectibles circling in midair, but noticing it as a preview, it is doing well now. Anyway, We Happy Few’s dystopian setting doesn’t disappoint.