I’ve said for some time now that indie games are quickly becoming more prominent in the gaming world then AAA games. Indies focus more on making good games players will enjoy instead of redesigning the same game countless times to guarantee a profit. The most intriguing indie game at E3 had to be We Happy Few. Taking place in a Bioshock setting and drawing from stories like 1984 and Brave New World. A dystopian post WWII setting, players find themselves in a big brother situation, forced to take the hallucinogen Joy so they won’t see the world for what it is. Dark, gritty and mind jarring We Happy Few embodies everything that makes up a dystopia and really forces players to question the world around them. It also comes with its own difficult questions. Do you conform and hide the past or seek your freedom?
Gameplay functions more like Dishonored where the player sneaks around killing or subduing enemies and then hiding the evidence. It is possible to steal supplies and find hiding spots during your escape. There are also steam punk looking mechanisms that players will have to find ways around. The most interesting aspect is using Joy in order to hide in plain sight because no one likes a downer. Joy can also be used to bypass mechanisms undetected and see the world from a different perspective. Although too much Joy will turn the player back into a mindless drone. The game is primarily survival but it also includes rogue elements, such as the town changing from game to game. Not only is the game dark but genuinely creepy with everyone wearing smiling mask. Guards also wear mask that look more like a cruel smirks than a smile. Frankly, I would prefer to see things for the ruins they are than be too doped up to tell a pinnate from a rat.
It also features wonderfully designed live action scenes that really bring the creepy big brother feeling to a boil. While funded on Kickstarter the biggest surprise is that We Happy Few was developed by Compulsion Games. Compulsion Games previous title was Contrast, a fun and well implemented concept using shadows that received mainly mixed reviews for lacking overall. Contrast definitely did not feature half the features of We Happy Few. A must play, it is unfortunate the game will not be on PS4 as of yet. However, for those on PC and Steam the game will be available later in July.