Nobody really expected that a long-awaited survival sim We Happy Few will become of the 2018’s largest disappointments of the game industry. The earlier comparisons with BioShock made all players catch their breath and wait for a release. Unfortunately, if you are counting on some kind of a BioShock itch, chances are that you will rather feel chagrined by We Happy Few, which ingratiates with attractive notions, without fulfilling any of them.
In 2016, Compulsion Games published a teaser-video that demonstrated a retro-futuristic English society. People take Joy drug to get rid of the memories about some ugly deeds from their past and wear creepy masks on their faces. The appetizing trailer promised a narrative-driven game with an original setting and some strange philosophical reflections. Experienced gamers concluded: the associations with BioShock are unavoidable. Initially planned as 1-hour repeatable game with some minor narrative elements, We Happy Few went progressed a lot. This project was polished and rebalanced significantly, but the question remained: can someone create another BioShock having a small purse?
We Happy Few is a classical survival, however, this doesn’t have too much impact on the gameplay. You will hardly ever encounter a situation when your stamina level will make any difference. The only exponent you have to control for sure is joy. If you are not feeling happy, your chances to survive decrease because this is how things at Wellington Wells work – those who are off their pills make other citizens hostile. Despite the fact that it is a pretty irritating thing, especially when you are trying to investigate the truly interesting quests, the joy factor adds pressure to the process and this is the only element that have real survival roots.
Playing We Happy Few, you will make the best of it for sure – amazing aesthetics, interesting puzzles, and crumbs of information about the city’s past won’t let you feel bored. We believe that the main issue is that We Happy Few is trying to be the other game it’s not. To become as good as BioShock, one has to pay more attention to animating, building, and inventing.