In an alternate reality, where wars were lost and evils won, a small town like Wellington Wells had to deal with some unsavory things through troublesome times. That’s when Joy was invented, to take away the memories of war and loss. Problem was… some people didn’t play ball.
Welcome to the intense world of We Happy Few by Compulsion Games and Gearbox Software. This game has been in early access for a couple of years now and even has a movie being teased in the works, because even without a full release of the title, the concept was so fascinating with an aesthetic charm that people wanted to see, not just in games, but in a film. I figured we could break down the synopsis of We Happy Few and discuss some of the interesting bits and pieces and help you better understand the hype!
In Wellington Wells, a mysterious quarantine from the rest of the country was put in place during post-war that had been the impetus to encourage the befallen people to be forget all they had gone through. Whatever it was that had occurred, well, it sent them into a despondent, depressed state that meant nothing was getting accomplished to take the city out of their troubles. How could they? Whatever it was was simply a tragedy they couldn’t see past. Because of this, a drug was invented with the capabilities to act as a complete hallucinogenic and enhance the user’s mind to see happiness, bright beautiful colors with clean air, beautiful green grass and the best in everyone. Well, anyone who took it. Should you not take it, you’re seen as a Wastrel, a person who isn’t even trying to be happy. You’re then seen as an outlier and every single person in the city is terrified of you ruining their Joy-filled experience and remind them of what had been done. To them, why would you not want to take it? Do you want to crash from the drug? Withdrawal? See the things you’ve done? That THEY have done?
So, within the game, you play three people who now realize just how different life truly is on the other side of Joy. Because of that, they must figure out how this started, what to make of all of this and just how to stop it and find an organic way to get through the trauma. They say there is better living through science but sometimes, well, scientists may take it too far.
The game is absolutely beautiful with wild visuals straight from the mid 1960’s, there are wild colors and vintage looks to everything within Wellington Wells. The colors look straight ripped from The Beatles tour films with some enchanting Doctor Who thrown in via some Dalek-similar rubbish bins. Even the menus look like a pamphlet from the youth of your parents, television advertisements and such all doing a wonderful job of putting you deep into the setting. This isn’t a wild fantasy atmosphere and it’s no hyper realistic one either. We Happy Few is ready to sit in its own genre of absurdity and commentary that can’t wait to burrow into your brain.