After Compulsion Games’ excellent Contrast took people by surprise with its light shining beauty, follow up We Happy Few is now here. Well, sort of. It’s part of the Xbox Preview Program, and although by its own admission it’s far from finished, it’s still a fascinating exercise to step into the world of a game that has potential to be one of the best ever released on Xbox One.
When you load up We Happy Few, you’re informed that this Alpha version contains around 50% of the procedural world, but it doesn’t contain the stories of the 3 characters. It does however contain the intro, which is incredible – creepy, intriguing…you name it. It will have you dying for more information. Whilst Contrast, was a relatively simple experience, by this preview it becomes pretty obvious that We Happy Few is going to be a much more strategic, trickier, more disturbing ride.
You explore a creepy version of a Dystopian British town in the 60s, where all citizens are required to fit in, abide by the rules and perhaps most disturbingly take a pill called ‘Joy’. What it does is a slight mystery, but it appears to be some kind of mood stabiliser. Everyone here is happy, but delusionally so. And pardon the pill referencing pun, but exploring the world of We Happy Few is a joy itself. It’s truly stunning to look at, in a Black Mirror ‘something doesn’t feel quite right here’ type of way. All is not well in Wellington Wells, no matter what their smiles say. Throughout your journey you’ll interact with people, posters, watch black and white tv’s, craft things…and not forgetting that permadeath is on the menu too. Thankfully, you can actually turn off permadeath, which I did for my playthrough as I wanted to experience as much as I could without worrying about my newbie survival skills.
As I mentioned earlier, scavenging and crafting is a big part. You’ll need to find and combine various items in order to escape certain situations, all the while not drawing attention to yourself. And whilst the game is still only in a preview state, it hints at the amount of ideas that are incoming for We Happy Few – survival, possibly horror aspects, the reason for Joy…the list goes on. One thing’s for sure though – We Happy Few is already shaping up to be pretty magical.
Buy it on Preview now and see the whole game unfold before your very eyes, or hold out for the full game next year. Either way, We Happy Few ensures that whatever your choice – your life will be full of Joy.