We Happy Few – Quick Game Preview (Alpha/Early Access)

We Happy Few – Quick Game Preview (Alpha/Early Access)
We Happy Few (PC [Reviewed], XBO, PS4)
Developer: Compulsion Games
Publisher: Compulsion Games

We Happy Few is a first person survival game where you must escape from a dystopian city where all the inhabitants are all on a happy-drug called Joy. It’s currently in its Alpha stage in Early Access on Steam.

The story starts off with a really polished prologue where you skipped taking your Joy, and start to remember things. You’re outted as a downer, and you have to run for your life and make your way through town, while conforming, and hiding in plain sight as you work to escape. 

Due to the random nature of the game, you will spend a lot of time scavenging for items, hoping that you get the correct items that you need to craft the components you need. There is also a lot of crafting in the game, which is very quick to do, but I would like to see a craft all button added, instead of having to click to craft for 25 healing balms each time. You can discover crafting recipes in the world, and others are sometimes triggered, but I honestly don’t know what causes them to be learned. I found myself plagued at one point, and had no idea how to get the recipe to cure myself, and I kind of wish there was some sort of indication of what unlocks the recipes.

There is a fair amount of combat in the game, and the combat is alright; it doesn’t feel very satisfying since there isn’t a whole lot of complexity, but it isn’t much of a drag either. The stealth mechanic is good, and I enjoy stealthing around, and subduing characters that way, but a visible indication of whether I’m hidden or not could be helpful.

Pros:
  • excellent survival system, as there are a lot of aspects you will have to manage, with the core of them being hunger, thirst, health, and exhaustion, but there are several other negative effects that you will likely encounter as well – managing these things happens quite often, and may not be for everyone
  • both of the permadeath, and instant death options can be turned on or off, depending on player preference when starting a new game
  • the prologue starts off the story well; the concept is excellent, and very interesting
  • lots of side quests available at this current stage of the game
  • audio is good also; the music feels fitting to the atmosphere, and the voice acting is done very well
  • there are quite a few recipes, and lots of crafting; it’s great that you can craft using the items in the storage safe, and that this storage safe is shared through all of the hideouts
  • the graphics are decent, and the environments look good, and the character animations and design aren’t amazing, but they look good enough
Cons:
  • besides the prologue, there isn’t really any of the core story implemented yet
  • characters use the same model in several locations (the game even acknowledges this fact), and some of the voice lines get repetitive
  • too much time gets spent managing the inventory: 1. items take up space, so rearranging items to pick up new ones happens often, (some inventory sort features, better item colour coating, or something that automatically rearranges items would be great features), and 2. it would also be nice if when one stack of items that’s assigned to a quickslot runs out, it automatically puts the next stack of the same or similar item in, (instead of having to manually add it again)
  • there is quite a bit of texture popping, but it’s alpha, so let’s hope that it gets fixed in the future

The world is procedurally generated each time you start a new game, which is great, but even though it’s different it still feels kind of the same from one game to the next. I’ve started three new games, and so far, a lot of the quests were the same from one game to the next.

Conclusion:

Since the game is currently in alpha, there is barely any story right now, and a lot of content is not available yet. There are also some bugs, and other kinks that need to be worked out. I’ve played over 9 hours so far, and as far as an alpha phase goes, I am impressed. With that being said, I don’t feel that the game is worth the asking price in its current state, but at the same time, I have no regrets about the purchase because I like the game, and I want more of it. So, if you’re interested in experiencing a good amount of side quests, and just want to get a good feel for the game, or you just want to support the developers, then by all means, you’ll probably enjoy the early access as it is right now. If you’re looking for more of an underlying story, then you may want to keep an eye on the game as it develops.