We Happy Few was one of the standout indie games at this year’s E3 2016. The game paints a grim drug-fueled dystopia where to the society living there self-medicating yourself with ‘Joy’ is the norm and any that are not drugged up are a danger or in their words a ‘Downer’. Developed by Compulsion Games the studio behind Contrast, has created a dark and creepy masterpiece.
We Happy Few is a survival sim takes place in a procedurally-generated world where you’ll play one of three characters, which as of now have yet to be revealed. The game will have the usual survival game mechanics i.e. hunger, sleep etc. as well as a crafting mechanic. In order to not get caught by the police and survive long enough to figure out how to escape you’ll need to manage yourself as well as conform to your surroundings to avoid getting thrown back into the system.
Let’s have a look at the basics before you start playing.
Permadeath vs Second Wind
You can choose two options when you start a new game, Second Wind or Permadeath.
- – Second Wind: Puts you dying state when your health reaches zero.
- – Permadeath: Means your character is gone forever if you die.
Permadeath can be frustrating when you’re first playing the game, especially in its current Early Access state. Before starting a new game, we suggest that you enable Second Wind and disable Permadeath.
There are four main stats: health, hunger, thirst and fatigue. There are also infection, nausea, plague and joy indicators when applicable. Maintaining the four main stats is crucial to survival, and you can perish from both dehydration and hunger. Exhaustion is more of a detriment than a death sentence and decreases the amount of max stamina you can exert.
Water is one of the most important resources, but it’s also fairly easy to find. There will be water pumps that provide an unlimited supply near your safe house in the Garden District, and canteens are readily available while looting your way through Wellington Wells. We recommend that you keep two stacks of canteens and always fill them at a water pump when available. You will need about two canteens every 24 hours.
Food and Hunger
Food is a bit trickier, especially at the beginning of the game. Most of the food that you find when taking down a Wastrel or searching items like mailboxes will be rotten. Eating rotten food has a chance of giving you nausea — or worse, food poisoning. There are two ways to cure nausea: Neximide Pills and sleep. Neximide Pills tend to be found in containers or on Wastrels in the Garden District. Food poisoning can only be cured with the pills and a formula you won’t have access to until later in the game.
While in the starting zone, forage for Blue Currants to eat. They will fill your hunger without giving you food poisoning and are readily available. If you must eat rotten food, wait until your hunger meter is quite low before eating, and quickly chase it with a Neximide Pill to eliminate any debuffs.
Later on, you will come across a butcher shop where you can purchase V-Meat, or Victory Meat, which will satisfy hunger and provide Joy.
Being too tired will place a limit on the amount of stamina you can use. Running, jumping and attacking all require stamina. Fatigue won’t kill you, but it is the only status that directly affects your gameplay. If you’re not rested, you risk losing a fight or being unable to run away from danger. Sleep in a safe house or find an unoccupied bed to replenish this stat.
Health will decrease from damage and will regenerate with sleep and when you use medical supplies. The most important medical supply — especially early in the game — is Healing Balm. You can craft Healing Balm from the beginning of the game, and it requires only Gilded Petals, which are very common in the Garden District. Be sure to always have several in your inventory.
Joy will decrease your need for food and water while active, but the withdrawals will increase hunger and thirst. You’ll be twice as suspicious as the pill leaves your system.
Contracting the plague at the beginning of the game can mean a quick death. The plague causes a rapid increase in fatigue until you die. Unlike other ailments, it can’t be treated with sleep or a basic medical item. The plague‘s only cure is the Phenocycline Syringe, which you find later in the game.
Stay clear of plagued Wastrels, indicated with orange around their heads, and try not to spend too much time in toxic sludge.
We Happy Few uses a grid-style inventory system, so size matters. You will have to rearrange your inventory to accommodate different items which all take up a specific number of blocks, arranged in a specific way. Move objects around your inventory grid to maximize the space available. Like a game of Tetris, move smaller items to fill in gaps between larger items to free up openings on the grid for more items.
- – Items with a green background are usable, and those with a white background are crafting components.
- – Take advantage of your quick slots/pocket slots to free up space in your inventory. You can also equip a weapon and an item of clothing.
- – Inventory and pocket expansions are available around the world like regular items. You can also get them as rewards from Encounters. They will increase the carrying capacity of your primary inventory and secondary slots.
- – Keep in mind that bringing up the inventory screen will not pause gameplay.
Safe Houses & Safes
There are currently three safe houses available. You begin your journey in the Garden District, where you’ll find one. You’ll find one each in Lud’s Hollow and Hamlyn Village. Look for the Wellington Underground sign, as the safe houses are often behind it.
Every safe house is equipped with a personal safe to store excess items. The safes are all linked, so you can access your safe inventory from every safe house. It is also important to note that you can use items in your personal safe for crafting, and they don’t need to be to be on your person.
Map & Exploration
We Happy Few‘s world is randomly generated each playthrough, so encounters and locations will be different every time. Explore to reveal the map, which consists of outlined squares.
Spend your first few days exploring and revealing every part of the map. Squares (usually grassy clearings) are areas between streets and very often where encounters take place. Systematically make your way up and down the square areas for the best chance to discover all encounters.
Your behavior matters in We Happy Few, and there can be nasty repercussions for a faux pas. Wear a Torn Suit and avoid taking joy when in the Garden District. Wear a Proper Suit and pop Joy often to avoid suspicion in Hamlyn Village.
There are currently a few areas to explore during We Happy Few‘s Early Access phase:
- – The Garden District: Your starting zone where the Wastrels live
- – Lud’s Holm: A second part of The Garden District connected by Lud’s Bridge or the Honey Toll.
- – Hamlyn Village: Where the Wellies live
- – George’s Holm: The area shortly after crossing the St. Georges Holm Bridge that connects The Garden District and Hamlyn Village.
- – Apple Holm: The area you’re attempting to escape to
How To Begin
Spend your time exploring and revealing every part of the map. Spend your first few days familiarizing yourself with the environment and stocking up on supplies. Check all containers and houses for useful items. Taking down an unsuspecting Wastrel is worthwhile, as they often will have rotten food and a Neximide Pill on them. Be sure to do so away from the view of others. Investigate the squares on your map between streets for the best chance at unlocking encounters.
If you’ve disabled Permadeath, taking severe damage will send you back to the closest safe house. You might lose a few items and some time will have passed, but you will be able to continue your game.
The game progresses through a normal cycle of day and night. Certain encounters and interactions are time specific. Nighttime in the Garden District is safe, while nighttime in Hamlyn Village can be dangerous because of patrolling bobbies. You can sleep to progress time, and the time will momentarily show on your screen when waking and sleeping. Currently, there is no clock in the HUD.
So there we have it the basics good luck and let us know how you fare!