Compulsion Games’ We Happy Few launched in early access yesterday, and when you don’t know what’s going on it can be incredibly difficult. Its procedural open world, a constant fight for survival, and fitting in with the Wastrels and Wellies of Wellington Wells might be too much to deal with at first.
With that in mind, here are some beginner’s tips to give you the best start possible. While this isn’t a conclusive guide on We Happy Few, it is some of the things that took me a while to learn for myself.
Note that the story isn’t yet included in the game, but this may still include some spoilers for how to proceed through certain missions.
Perimeters first. Wellington Wells is built on a series of fairly small islands, and so the best way to get your main objective and map out the area is to walk all the way around the island you’re on. It’s good to get into the habit of doing this whenever you reach a new area before you swan off into the town itself and get lost, as you’ll also sometimes find water pumps or houses along the way.
On the map and compass, filled-in houses are occupied, while outlines of houses aren’t. You can sleep in either, but should a Wellie (the people on Joy wearing white masks) or Wastrel (the ones who aren’t who you meet in the first area of the game) find you in their bed, waking up will be a bit less peaceful than what you might’ve liked. In the empty houses the beds can sometimes be hidden behind rubble or on floors that are difficult to climb too, but in return, there’s generally some supplies and a safe bed to sleep in for the night.
Get as many suits as you can. Torn suits help you fit in with the Wastrels, Proper Suits are better for Wellies, and Padded Suits are essential for one of the randomly-selected bridge questlines. While they take up a lot of inventory space, having both a Torn and Proper Suit at least can be incredibly helpful for Wastrel areas that also have Bobbies, which are classed as Wellies.
Bandages aren’t as useful as you might think. In the seven or so hours I’ve played We Happy Few, I have never once bled. I’ve fallen out of buildings, been beaten to a pulp, and even had a nasty encounter with a landmine, and I have never once needed a bandage. They take up valuable inventory space, and so while keeping a full stack in one slot is useful just in case, any more than that isn’t worth it.
Follow the quests. It’s tempting to just go off and try to find the items you need by yourself, but often the side-quests you stumble across are at least indirectly related to you getting across the bridges. Sometimes they give you a handy blueprint, others will flat-out give you what you need. If you’re struggling with where to go, the side-quests are a good place to look.
Say hello to everybody. This isn’t particularly useful with the Wastrels, as they don’t care if you’re not on your Joy, but for the Wellies saying hello will temporarily reduce all their suspicion of you to zero. It’s a great way of getting into areas you normally couldn’t without taking Joy, such as the houses of Hamlyn or to an area normally guarded by the Bobbies.
You can overdose on Joy. I found this out the hard way while trying to escape through a Joy detector. Be careful what you take, especially in the Wellie areas where water and food give you a small top-up of Joy, as taking too much of it (as signified by how many pills there are in the needs bar) can prove fatal.
Verging on the spoilers with this one, but one quest suggests that there is something hidden “nearby”. The guy is lying, as the thing they’re talking about is found two whole islands later. Don’t waste your equipment looking for something that isn’t there.
Hopefully, this makes your time with We Happy Few a bit more pleasant, as dying over and over again can be an utter nightmare.
For those who’re currently playing it, what tips do you suggest?