We Happy Few is a game that resembles BioShock, Dishonored, and a bit of Stanley Parable and Californium all mixed together. It’s set in a 1960’s dystopia of England or a town in England called Wellington Wells. Citizens of Wellington Wells need to take Joy to forget what happened to England or what happened in their lives, the game takes serious influence from BioShock and wears it’s pride on it’s sleeve but in it’s current form, things are a far cry from the trailers and the brain thoughts that you got from watching the trailers and thinking about it.
I’ve spent a few minutes playing around in the Early Access phase which is the current available form, and I think the game needs a bit more time in the oven and a bit more time to evolve into something quite special if done right and if they did away with some things. The game isn’t quite there yet or it isn’t anything like BioShock at all or anything meaningful to me yet and that’s a given since Compulsion Games said that the Early Access version of the game will be available for between six and twelve months.
The game begins with a small intro that speaks BioShock language, extremely good story beats and something that can form into something special. After the intro, you wake up in a town of downers, folks who haven’t taken their joy and their minds are far from normal. They wander the streets, asking you to “Fuck off.” time and time again and spitting out nonsense.
At the moment in it’s phase, there’s nothing to do and there’s nothing that resembles the trailers and the often BioShock-esque comparison that it gets often except in tone and look and feel. There’s nothing to do except to wander and survive and check out the game which is disappointing because it is like most Early Access games where you just survive and also there’s a handful of quests. The quests aren’t really that good, just the generic side quests that you often see in Far Cry, Dying Light, Fallout, etc. The go pick up this thing for this lady or go do this and see what you can find, the generic side quests. On top of that, is a clunky map system and a clunky system in general doesn’t really help. If you played a survival game before, then you know what you’re getting into.
It all works fine as there is a main questline but I won’t spoil that but to be quite honest, the game feels extremely boring and “samey” and as it stands, We Happy Few could be something quite powerful and quite rich like BioShock because the world, the lore, and the characters feel and look interesting but there’s nothing to keep me interested except for the lore and the overall “BioShock” vibes I keep getting which is a good thing but I just wish there was something more to it.
I’m not sold on the Survival aspects and the random-generated maps that you get from dying, I wish all of that was done away with and I wish they would do a tight narrative like story that resembles BioShock with open gameplay that you find in open world games. Having to stop and sleep, having to eat or go off to pump water for you to drink is just all distracting and rarely does it feel exciting, it just feels like a chore to do and the crafting is just something that you would make in other games.
That being said however, We Happy Few looks promising and feels promising. The world in part is procedurally generated—which does make it pretty confusing to walk around after you died and is something that I don’t really want although I do like changes in the world but it’s something that I can’t necessarily get behind. Stealth is your best bet but Combat however, it just doesn’t stick ( WHOAA.) but yeah, it doesn’t stick to me. You use a pointy stick, and the ol’ trusty fisticuffs but the combat feels off, to me. To me, combat doesn’t feel enjoyable although it’s interesting but it isn’t like the tight FPS combat that most games have today.
Interacting with characters is honestly the best part of the game and have potential to be something amazing. Your fellow downers are not violent unless you provoke them or bother them but there’s tension with each encounter. Joy stand to make it even more tense as the whole world is built around Joy, as you strut down the street people can tell that you’re on it and act suspicious or filled with jealousy but as you enter Wellington Wells proper, if you’re without it, you basically become a problem. It’s something that can be turned into something quite interesting, I like that mechanic alot.
In short, I really like We Happy Few but I wish I liked even more but the game isn’t coming together for me, just yet. I feel very mediocre with this version, I’ve played the game for a solid 3-4 hours and it’s starting to get tedious. I can see something excellent coming together, let’s hope We Happy Few is something special once it’s fully done and seasoned.
We Happy Few is in Early Access now.