In need of some guidance to survive the weird world of Wellington Wells? We got this, let’s start with some general, basic tips…
We Happy Few, from indie studio Compulsion Games, is a survival sim set in an alt-1960s where British subjects – desperate to forget their past – are high on a happy pill called Joy. Except you, Arthur Hastings. The game hit Early Access on 26th July, so expect a lot of updates and changes between its preview and final release, which according to the devs could be anything from 6 months to a year from now. So expect a ton of tweaks to this guide, too.
Read More: Part 2 – Crafting
If you were one of those looking for a hard narrative action adventure (i.e. Bioshock), no problem – while We Happy Few is all about surviving as an outsider in a hostile world, it’s just challenging enough to be an interesting introduction to the genre. And the slowly drip-fed story is intriguing (all pieced together from snatches of conversation and collected texts, since no storyline quests appear in the alpha).
When you first start the game, you’ll wake up in an abandoned Tube station in the Garden District. This is your training ground. Make use of it. Night-time is pretty safe here – the Wastrels and Downers who live there will only attack if provoked, like you’re stealing from their house or bludgeoning their husband to death with a cricket bat.
This is the ideal time to bod around the map, stocking up on everything you’ll need to survive. Because the threats are minimal in this location, it’s a good time to practice your stealth takedowns and combat too.
This is your training ground – use it.
Hunt the Blue Currants
At present, your hunger decreases to zero after about 35 minutes (though Compulsion has said they’ll be tweaking this). That means you’re going to want to maintain a strong supply of food to see you through your adventure.
Sure, you could scoff down all that mouldy food and then neck a Neximide pill – or you could go on the hunt for the Blue Currant. That’s what we did.
These little beauties are almost as prevalent as Gilead leaves, which can be found in the grassy squares between houses and are used to craft healing balms. You can fit up 12 in a single slot, and eating 5 or 6 should fill your hunger-o-meter.
Manage Your Inventory
Speaking of slots, managing your inventory is absolutely crucial. You have severely limited space to begin with, and even with the addition of quick-slots, inventory expansions and safes, you’ll still find yourself dropping, storing, or plain ignoring items to maximise what you can carry.
After a few hours playing the game, you’ll have a fair idea of what to keep (Gilead leaves) and what to ignore (empty pill bottles). A lot of what appears to be junk, like duct tape, is used to craft items – and thankfully safes act like storage boxes in Resident Evil – what you place in one you can pick up in another; you can even craft items on the fly in the game-world, even if the items you need are stored in a faraway safe.
Be brutal with your inventory – no hording.
At the moment, m oving items around your inventory on Xbox One can be a real pain. You need to first hit Y to equip an item, which places it into one of your quick-slots. Select the item again, and unequip. Your object will now move back to the inventory, in the highest possible slot available. In the latest update, Compulsion Games has fixed this. Now, to move an item, select it from the inventory by hitting A, choose the space you want to move it to, and press A again.
Unlike actual British towns, with the exception of the exciting and desirable Milton Keynes, We Happy Few’s world is laid out in grids. Hey, that’s procedural generation for you. It’s super-easy to get lost in the game, since every other house looks identical, so to make the most of your time, think logically when it comes to exploring.
Most side-quests (or Secondary Encounters, as they’re called) are found in the green patches of land between houses, so rather than miss anything, move up and down each street on the map. This will also give you a chance to ransack illuminated houses in turn.
If You Have It, Use It
It took us a while to get into this mindset. We were playing like hamsters, stashing what we could, letting our hunger and thirst run right down before using items. Bad call.
If you’ve got what you need in your inventory, use it.
Fresh food might not be readily available, but a blue currant run every couple of days should keep you topped up with enough grub to survive a night. Water, on the other hand, is plentiful, and you can drink from fountains dotted about the map, as well as filling up canteens with filtered water (3 canteens = one slot) – although beware: The water in Wellington Wells’ Hamlyn Village is dosed with Joy.
Might be obvious, since crafting makes up a massive part of the game, but if you’ve got the blueprints and the items, make a few.
Not only will this keep your inventory stock down, but also ensures you’ll have what you need in a pinch. Healing balms and first aid kits are a given, but make what you can when you can. Lock-picks and Jimmy bars grant you access to locations and items, while phenocyline and psychotropic syringes are handy for a cure once you’ve contracted the plague or find yourself addicted to Joy-laced food and drink.
Clothing, on the other hand, takes up way too much space in your inventory, so limit yourself to a torn suit, proper suit, and save the defensive padded suit for as and when you need it.
Play a Shakespearean Drinking Game
The title of the game comes from a line in Shakespeare’s Henry V – ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…’
Treat yourself to a shot of whatever your poison is, every time you hear one of the characters quote a line from one of the Bard’s plays. It’ll make you feel smarter, until you pass out.
Accept the Glitches
It’s a game in Preview, and that means being ok with it in its often terrible, game-breaking state. OK, I know you accept the bugs and glitches because you’re a smart gamer, but a whole lot of others out there are expecting this polished alpha version to reflect the final release already.
Go with it, have fun with it.
After all, how many times are you going to see this…?
Note: We’d already koshed this fella over the head with a shovel and disposed of his body to complete a side-quest by this point, so we’re kinda freaked out by this.
What are your top survival tips for getting started? We’d genuinely love to know. Drop a comment below or join us on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll try to include them in part two of our We Happy Few guide. Got something you want to know, just ask us.