We Happy Few had a messy journey through early access and a rough launch, but today’s “Arcade mode” update feels like a great excuse for me give its psychedelic alt-history dystopia a second look. The patch sells itself short with its title, as it goes far beyond ‘arcade’, adding three new play-modes to the game. Odder still that only one of them could be considered arcade-styled, while the other two offer more open-ended sandbox experiences. Developers Compulsion Games also mention that this patch prepares the game for its upcoming DLC.
Today’s free update for the game adds three new modes: Night’s Watch, Survival and Sandbox. The first of those was formerly announced as ‘Wellie mode’, and is the titular arcade experience. Playing as the grinning, masked copper Constable Constable (a brilliant bit of naming), your goal is to aggressively patrol the streets, brutalise Downers and keep yourself pumped full of Joy. It’s a wave-based horde/survival mode, basically. Perhaps an odd fit for We Happy Few, but it’s nice that they included it, as it’s a free bonus.
More interesting is Survival, apparently inspired by the game’s early access days. Before the game grew a mostly-linear story, it was purely a survival challenge. The new Survival mode removes the story entirely, and increases the focus on hunting for food, water and shelter, as well as crafting gear to survive. There is an end goal to work towards (escaping the island), some new areas of its own and even a scoring system. Last up is Sandbox mode, which lets you tweak the variables used in world generation, and then play around your strange new land with cheats enabled.
Today’s update – version 1.7 – is just the latest in a long string of patches since launch, and includes a bunch of fixes and performance improvements. It all adds up to a more polished game, and one that Compulsion aren’t close to being done with. They’ve still got an entire season pass worth of DLC episodes to add, each of them adding another playable character on top of the three currently available. Once everything is released and the dust has settled, I’m very interested to see how the ‘final’ version of the game stacks up against the initial release.