NEED TO KNOW
Release Date: 26 July, 2016.
Genre: Survival, adventure.
Developer: Compulsion Games.
Publisher: Gearbox Games.
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Windows.
Game Size: 6 GB.
Average Duration: 20 Hours.
Official Site: Official site.
We Happy Few is an indie game title, focused on survival & adventure, as well as having a well-defined plot and plenty of interesting things to uncover along the way. It’s hard to put the game into any one genre, as it’s multi-faceted and includes an awful lot of different elements that you’ll recognize from many different types of game.
The game itself is a bizarre drug-fuelled dystopian-retrofuturist experience, with a unique style that just adds to the feeling that you’re tripping some major balls rn. It’s a top game, and in this review of We Happy Few, we’re going to give you the lowdown!
We Happy Few Trailer
We Happy Few is set in the mid 1960s Britain, in the town of Wellington Wells, a fictional town. After the events of WW2 in this alternative timeline, where Britain was invaded and during the occupation the British resistance did something drastic. The result, huge guilt and mental anguish about the chemical warfare they utilized to end the occupation.
The result of all of this was the invention of a new mandatory drug called ‘Joy’. This drug was administered to the masses, with the punishment for not taking Joy, being shipped away. Downers were not allowed to interact with Jollies as a point of principle, and to maintain the status-quo.
The fear being that the guilt would return, sending everyone insane and destroy society entirely.
Playing one of three different protagonists throughout the game, in the initial stages of the game you are caught out to be questioning reality. You haven’t been taking your Joy, and you get caught out. Forcing you into a game of cat and mouse to try and escape the authorities.
Ultimately you’re caught, and then forced out to live with the rest of the Downers. Here you need to fight, steal and scheme your way just to survive. Not only are you dealing with the harrowing effects of withdrawal, but also the re-emergence of the guilt and general malaise that those not on Joy experience.
The gameplay overall is set in the first-person, with some roguelike elements and the combat is pretty cool. In terms of how the gameplay feels, it’s plenty smooth enough and feels more like a top game than a lower-budget indie effort. Generally I can’t say anything negative about the gameplay, because here at the office we all really loved it when we got together to play it.
As the game progresses, you’ll be tasked with various different quests that you need to complete. Everything from helping others to convince them to help you, to sneaking around and even flat-out fights. If we were to compare the overall gameplay to another game in terms of what you need to do, we’d probably compare it to the Fallout games.
The main downside to the game right now is it just doesn’t feel complete, while they’ve added new islands recently, there’s still a feeling that there’s no great payoff and that there are certain elements to the game that are lacking. This being said the game is still in active-development and by no means is it meant to be the ‘finished article’ at this point. This has been seen as a negative for some, but for us it’s just exciting that the game is already this good while not even being complete.
The visuals of the game are a big draw for most new players wanting to find out more about the game. The style is rather unique and it focuses on the dystopian society effect, as well as embracing the retrofuturist vibe that you’d expect in an alternate timeline (again like Fallout). The difference is that with We Happy Few the style focuses heavily on being more artistic than other games in this genre.
The use of changing appearances of things is just flat out clever too, while on Joy everything looks so much brighter and happier. Even a little psychedelic at times. However when you’re no longer under the effects of the mind-altering substance. Everything looks grim, dank and anxiety-inducing. This is when it becomes evident that you’re living in a true dystopian society.
You can tell that the artistic vision for the game was heavily inspired by popular literature, and in a sense the game is almost as satirical as it is political. It makes for a very interesting, unique experience and we love that about this game.
Is It Worth It?
Is We Happy Few worth it? When people ask if it’s any good we pretty much always say the same thing…
The game is solid, and immensely enjoyable. It’s just a helluva lot different to most games you’re going to play anytime soon, or games you’ve ever played before. We can’t really say much more without spoiling it for you, but the game is just an amazing experience and one you won’t regret becoming a part of.
The main downsides are obviously that the game’s price has been increased on Steam even though not much in terms of development releases has happened since the initial release.
That being said, hopefully, development will stay on track and the game will feel like it’s really ‘complete’ sooner rather than later. We don’t mind playing games that are still in development, but you’ll definitely want to shop around for prices at this point.