General game information
Game name: We Happy Few
Release date: 26 Jul, 2016 (Early Access)
Genre: Procedurally generated narrative action survival game
Developer: Compulsion Games
We Happy Few is a procedurally generated survival action game that just got released on Steam’s Early Access Program. Normally, most people would look away right after reading that sentence, but in this case, we are looking at a different thing.
Instead of having to scavenge for food and supplies in a dinosaur infested island, or fight for their lives in a barbaric battle royale, players find themselves in a dystopian world straight out of the excellent Brazil, or 1984. As citizens of the quiet British town of Wellington Wells, they must choose whether to obey the all powerful figure of Uncle Jack, who gently compels everyone to take the easy route and forget the horrors of the past through generous helpings of the Joy drug, or to abandon the life they knew, and venture outside as a Downer, a non drugged outcast, feared and rejected by society.
The Early Access version features a narrative heavy prologue, which manages to convey the game’s atmosphere brilliantly, and then the player is free to explore the various systems that hold the adventure together. Melee combat, hunger and inventory management, crafting and quest solving are featured front and center, and constitute the meat of the experience.
All of these systems function well enough, but without the narrative parts, the game isn’t quite the masterpiece that it could be once everything is in place. People looking for the next Bioshock will certainly love the opening segments of the game, which were featured heavily in the promotional material, but they may be left wanting once that section is over, as the following hours of gameplay will cater to exploration and survival enthusiasts.
My impressions are highly positive nonetheless, and I can’t wait for this game to grow beyond the Early Access stage.