It's disturbing in its subject matter, but this well-made, mature tale engages with its action and its world full of off-kilter madness. To paraphrase the classic Beatles song, the plot of We Happy Few highlights that "Happiness Is a Warm Drug." That seems to be the mantra for the residents of Wellington Wells. This dystopian "paradise" is a character itself, with a disturbing blend of charm and horror. It's both frightening and fascinating, where you watch people gleefully tear each other apart, cheerfully oblivious to the grim reality of their actions. One of the most stressful things about playing We Happy Few is simply learning to survive in this world. Unlike other games, it's not a matter of killing anything that moves. You've got to fight through some frenzied moments, but most times, you're just trying to blend in and hope no one notices that you're off your dose of Joy. Even when no one's around, you've still got to worry about survival basics like food and water. The game does a phenomenal job of drawing you into the experience and making you feel like your story is the same as the one the characters go through.
Gameplay can feel overwhelming at first, requiring a lot of attention and patience. But We Happy Few strikes a good balance of never quite feeling impossible, but also never giving you an overpowered sense of security either. At the start, any minor misstep can be frustrating, considering your character's lack of skills. Combat in particular is rough around the edges, which feels fitting since your first two heroes aren't trained to fight. This also encourages you to find ways to avoid fights wherever possible. Eventually though, as you begin to get used to the world, things become second nature. You settle into a groove of knowing when to eat, how to slip by unnoticed, and how to defend yourself when things go wrong. While it might be a bit disturbing and intense, you won't need a dose of Joy for We Happy Few to leave a smile on your face.