What do you get when you mix the retro-post WWII world of Bioshock, the observant dystopia of 1984, and a lot of drugs? We Happy Few, of course.
We Happy Few is set in a set of fictional aisles of Wellington Wells, separated from England after WWII, where the denizens bear eerie mime-like makeup and drug-induced smiles. The world is both dark and decrepit, while being colorful and lively at the same time. In this world the citizens are in a perpetual state of drug-induced bliss who are harmless until provoked or notice that you “aren’t as happy as them”.
The world bears striking similarities and homages to George Orwell’s “1984”, and Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”. We Happy Few takes the dystopic elements of these stories and amplifies them, a heavily observant government with complacent citizens and a slew of gratuitous violence rampant throughout the streets. Once the player takes the happy drug, they enter a colorful world of the psychedelic 1960s just as groovy as Austin Powers.
There are three main protagonists throughout the game who have the ability to cross over, each with their own stories. The first character you play as, Arthur Hastings is on a quest to find his brother. His adventure, as introspective as it is, doubles as a mechanics tutorial on how certain elements of the game work. The other two we will leave for you to find out, but one will require more brain than brawn and the other vice-versa, both with their own unique views to the world of We Happy Few.
Unlike the earlier iterations of the game in early-access, the game is more story driven rather than survival based. The old survival mechanics now serve as buffs that players can use to give themselves an advantage, rather than an anxiety-inducing meter. The game bears stealth mechanics and some clunky combat, but still provides a rich, yet blandly immersive world to explore. Each region is unique to their own aesthetics and styles, both vibrant and eerily creepy and unnerving.
The kickstarter-backed game has finally been released from early-access, and can be played on Xbox, PC, and Playstation.