We Happy Few  welcomes gamers into an alternative world where happiness is distributed by the use of a Joy pill, and those on the outskirts of society are Downers.

We Happy Few welcomes gamers into an alternative world where happiness is distributed by the use of a Joy pill, and those on the outskirts of society are Downers.

Indigo Halverson

You climb up a hill late at night, torches are burning all around you, “Keep Out” and warning signs are stationed at every turn until it’s too late to go back. You stumble upon chanting, where the words, “I yam who I yam,” are clear and loud; you have found your way to the “Mass of the Sacred Yam.” Do you have what it takes to infiltrate the service and steal the floating God?

 The up-and-coming indie game company Compulsion Games, new adventure, We Happy Few, will ask you this. Beginning on Kickstarter in June of 2015, the company raised $334,754 Canadian dollars, ($251,865.17 US dollars) by the beginning of July of that same year. The game was released in alpha test version on July 26, 2016 and will be compatible with Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. Today the game is set to have an update based of the feedback the developers received from players who downloaded the preview and bought the alpha test version.  

According to Compulsion Games, We Happy Few is set, “in a drug-fuelled, retro-futuristic city in an alternative 1960s England.” The game certainly has the mod aesthetic commonly associated with England during that time period and gameplay feels similar to the Bioshock first person shooter games. 

The game is still in its alpha test version, meaning that the game is still being developed and will ideally be updating every so often with more added to the game, such as characters, story lines, and objects. At the moment, there is only a partial story and character line up for We Happy Few, and the game is still working out kinks and bugs players experience during game play. 

The game does have a lot to clean up; it still has a few glitches that won’t allow players to complete certain missions, and sometimes characters/objects get stuck in a loop that require players to save and quit and open the game again. 

Part of the game requires the character to eat and drink in order to stay healthy and depletion in these categories results in the character being unable to run or even stay awake. Initially, when the game was released, these food and drink levels would run out extremely quick, leaving the character unable to find such sources to replenish. Luckily, this was fixed in one of the updates, making the character able to survive longer in between meals. 

We Happy Few is definitely a survival tactics game, fighting for edible food and clean water whilst navigating the streets of a dystopian society full of beggars, thieves and people who want to fight you. 

The game throws many curveballs to make it difficult for you to succeed, such as rotten food that gives you food poisoning, un-clean drinking water that also makes you sick, and difficulty finding supplies to make bandages or healing balms when you get attacked. Prepare to get knocked unconscious a few times within the first five minutes of the game. 

The game has many positive aspects, too. Visually, the animation and graphics are stunning. The design and feel of the game is captured quite nicely. It really feels like you are in the 60s in England and something really bad has happened that causes all the citizens to act a certain way. 

While you are trying to survive, you are also slowly uncovering the history of the city — what catastrophic event sent everyone into a frenzy, finding alternative ways to cope with the pain?

Enter the Joy pill, a required drug; everyone who can afford it takes to make all their problems magically disappear, and everyone who can’t afford it is labeled a “Downer.” 

Through this thrilling ride of suspense, murder, and dark imagery, players are thrust into a world full of chaos that they have to navigate if they want to survive. The game is full of surprises, and if you like challenges and dystopian societies, this game is for you. The game is rated M for blood, sexual themes, strong language and violence, and can be purchased in alpha test version on Microsoft Games, Steam, GOG.com, Humble store, and directly on Xbox One for $29.99.