It can be daunting when first starting We Happy Few. Dropped into a terrifying alternate version of Britain in the 1960s, all you have at the start is the clothes on your back and a dream of freedom. Exactly where do you go from there?
Even though We Happy Few doesn’t rely on its survival mechanics to quite as an extent as it did during the Early Access release, it can still be very important to ensure you’re gathering enough resources from the world around you in order to stay alive and make progress right from the go.
So, let us be your guide in your opening moments in this intimidating new land. Keep these tips in mind in order to survive the psychedelic nightmare that is Wellington Wells.
Fill your pockets with loot
Sure, We Happy Few isn’t the intense survival game it started out to be, but you’ll still need to do a fair bit of scavenging throughout the game. Pretty much everything you gather — whether it’s from sneaking into someone’s house or rooting in the nearest — has a use to you. Food? Water? Bits of old metal? You want it all.
If you do rummage through everything in sight, it won’t be long before you’re inventory is full to the brim with all sorts of components for crafting materials, but there are definitely a few things you should prioritize. One of the absolute essentials is Gilead Petals, which can be picked from the red-flowered bushes dotting the countryside and mushed together to make Healing Balm. It’s always useful to have some of these on you to heal in a pinch.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for Bobby Pins, which are needed to create lockpicks. Security is pretty tight in many of the game’s areas, so being able to break in through a back door to avoid the Bobbies is always a bonus. They can also be used to open sealed chests and lockers to yield even more loot, though we would recommend keeping some saved for their main purpose.
Speaking of Bobbies, one other item to loot whenever you see it is Scotch. You can use this as an intoxicating bribe to get past a pesky guard blocking your path, so it’s always worth having a bottle or two with you.
Choose the right skills
In the first act of We Happy Few, you’ll play as Arthur. He’s a pretty terrible fighter, but he’s stealthy and quick on his feet. And while many of the choices on offer aren’t all that exciting, there are a few options that take best advantage of Arthur’s proficiencies.
Sensibly, the game’s tutorial encourages you to take “Sweet Dreams” first, which allows you to choke enemies unconscious from behind or suffocate them while they’re sleeping. It’s an incredibly powerful ability that’ll have you clearing out rooms or entire buildings without making a peep.
Further down in the stealth category, both “Ear to the Ground” and “Tech Friendly” are nice pickups. The former allows you to see an enemy’s footsteps from further away, while the latter means many of the game’s high-tech surveillance options won’t be able to see you. Both make the whole sneaking approach so much easier. In the same branch, “Oh You” is a useful timesaver as it stops people from being suspicious of you if they see you running or jumping about. That’s just what you’re like!
Elsewhere, “Herbalist” is worth consideration if you keep finding yourself getting into scrapes. The bonus healing will significantly lessen the demand on some of your resources. As of the others, they can be avoided unless they really suit your own playstyle. Outside of the handful of standout options, the choices you make on the skill tree aren’t massively impactful.
Don’t be afraid to run
Often you’ll find the stealthy approach is optimal in We Happy Few, given how easy it is to knock out enemies from behind and how clunky the combat can be if a mob of Joy-guzzling citizens descends upon your Downer. And while it may be tempting to wildly swing back at them with a cricket bat, fleeing is often the more sensible approach.
The tactical retreat is especially effective when playing as Arthur in act one. He’s not exactly the greatest fighter, but he does have the ability to sprint away very quickly from his pursuers. Fortunately, anyone who becomes hostile to you doesn’t give chase for too long either. Call it a fault of awkward AI — or maybe all the citizens are tripping so hard that they suffer from rapid memory loss.
Essentially, if you put enough distance between you or duck out of sight for long enough, they’ll return to their seemingly pleasant routines in no time. You can even go back to talk to them and they’ll have forgotten all about you!
Benches can also be very useful blending-in spots if you think you might get caught. If your dose of Joy is about to expire or you think a local is getting suspicious, just take a seat and whip out the daily paper for a quick browse until the moment passes. Or duck into one of the many hideouts across the world for instant safety.
Expand your wardrobe
If you want to make it a lot less stressful to blend into the various regions of Wellington Wells, then it’s important to have a diverse wardrobe. Wherever you go on the island, the locals can be incredibly judgemental folk, deciding whether they want to give you a pleasant hello in return or chase you down with a frying pan with one quick look at your clothing.
The less fortunate souls on the outskirts will want to see you in a Torn Suit, something effortlessly made if you find a rock to scuff the hell out of it. Be sure to save a Proper Suit and Shoes for when you return to the fancier regions, though, or they’ll look down on you as a Wastrel.
We Happy Few offers a number of other more specialized outfits, too. It can be handy to have a Boiler Suit on you when entering municipal or construction areas — no one will think twice about someone fiddling around with electronics wearing that. Fisticuff fans might want to consider the Padded Suit for some extra damage reduction, though it doesn’t seem necessary. On the other hand, a Gas Mask is definitely essential when heading into some locations to avoid damage from toxic fumes.
As for the Rubber Cat Suit? Well, we’ll let you discover all about that one for yourself!
And there you have it: a few words of wisdom for your new life in Wellington Wells. Remember, if it all goes wrong, you can always just pop a Joy and live in blissful ignorance forever!
We Happy Few is now available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.