Now it’s been a few months since we last explored the strange world of We Happy Few. The indie title still in development has finally found a home with publisher Gearbox, great news as it’s now been confirmed for a release date of March next year.

In the meantime, there have been quite a few updates to expand the world of We Happy Few, including new difficulties, gameplay mechanics and features to improve on the original design. The new update otherwise known as Life in Technicolour which adds the following features -

• 7 islands (previously 5) with 4 now playable
• 3 different playable characters / 1 now available
• Dozens of encounters / 40% now available
• Three game modes (Story, sandbox, Wellie) – Only Sandbox mode now available (story mode at 1.0 and Wellie mode at 1.0)

So these are the main aspects of the update but there are plenty of finer details to speak of. Playing We Happy Few once again, we can definitely tell you that Compulsion Games are creating one of the most engaging and thought provoking survival games on the market. There are plenty of aspects of horror, survival and adventure, centred on a surrealistic concept of drugs, paranoia and depression which work beautifully into the gameplay.

Those smaller changes do add up to a big improvement on how well the game flows and the manner new players can accustom to the survival nature. The three difficulties are the biggest change, adding in a chance for players to explore and engage with the main story at their own pacing. Survival elements are reduced down to a minimum, relieving players from finding water, food and shelter in order to survive. Now players will be a relentless adventure whose main attribute to maintain is health. This works well as an introduction, as players can become accustom to the world, its mechanics and to explore the various processes of survival from crafting, fighting and exploring.

The best thing is that every time you enter a new game, the world’s layout completely changes. So you won’t fully know where certain encounters will end up or the location of vital supplies won’t always be in the same place.

For those who partake in the Bird Watching difficulty, just remember there’s only the introduction of the main story only. But the introduction will help you find your feet and introduce you to the main mechanics. This is a great feature considering the previous version didn’t include. This mode is very straight forward and for those who’ve played the game on the normal difficulty might find this a little too easy after a few hours. But there’s always the perma-death feature which can be turned on or off for any of the game modes.
Then there’s the Downer difficulty, normal mode in other words. Allowing players the same experience but with the standard survival elements in play. Finding food and water become a necessity while combat is much tougher. The last mode on offer is Vigilante, the hardest mode on offer. This will truly test your skills and a wise word of warning for those trying this mode for the first time, turn off Perma-death unless you consider yourself the ultra-veteran of We Happy Few.

There has been a revamp in the game’s interfaces and menus which allow for easier access through your inventory and to certain mechanics such as crafting. The previous builds of We Happy Few felt a little unorganised, with some difficulty in navigating certain menus or to actually use various mechanics with ease or success. There have not been any advancement on controls which is fine, but refining the movement of the character might be something the developers could look into. The more frantic chases and chaotic segments of the game require the best possible movement, reflexes and speed to overcome these obstacles. Plus, chases never seem to amount to a great deal of tension and usually end before things gets compelling. You can out run most NPCs or hide as long as you’re aware of your surroundings.

Overall, We Happy Few is still shaping up to be an amazing survival game with interesting themes and elements to create a compelling and immersive piece of art house gaming. Stay tuned for more updates before the game releases next April.

An early access code for Xbox One was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this preview.