By Tommy Robbins. Wellington Wells — where the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the locals are always cheerful. That’s right, in Wellington Wells there’s not a worry in the world… assuming you’ve taken your Joy. You have taken your Joy, haven’t you?
The creepily up-beat survival game from Compulsion Games (Contrast – 2013) has scrapped the dystopian future template and reshaped the mold. We Happy Few takes place in the procedurally generated, vibrant 1960’s English town of Wellington Wells, where players must navigate through a lifetime of cheerful denial while avoiding the darkness oozing from the cracks. With permadeath looming around every corner, the player must decide whether to take their Joy (the happy-pill keeping everyone so lively) and blend in or rebel, or refuse to self-medicate, and bring on unwanted attention. The latter option will open a new avenue of play choices and discovery but at the expense of potentially outing oneself as a “Downer.” In a town where everyone is always smiling, the man with the frown stands out.
We Happy Few features all the trappings of your standard survival game — crafting, combat, general survival — but with a few new mechanics unique to the world Compulsion has created. Players must manage social conformity vs suspicion as well as Joy intake, allowing them to control their position in society and ultimately toeing the line between ease of survival and discovery.
We Happy Few is now available in Early Access and Compulsion Games make a point to state that while the core mechanics and procedural generation of Wellington Wells is all functional for play, there are still features in development that they plan to roll out later. Expansions to the city, general feature improvements and full character story lines are all planned to be implemented by the game’s final release.