We Happy Few offered all the promise in the world but ultimately fell a bit flat upon release last year.
However, with a surge of new modes added to the game just recently and the first of three DLC packs available from today, its future is definitely looking a bit more cheerful.
They Came From Below reunites us with Roger Bacon and James Maxwell, this time plunging them into an adventure all of their own. And the good news is, these guys can carry a story pretty well.
How to Play
You can access the episode from the Main Menu by selecting DLC. You don’t need to have progressed in the base game to play.
There’s a robot uprising which Roger is right at the centre of. Seemingly, he’s also the only one who can stop it. And that’s partly because, well, he’s sort of responsible for it.
I suppose that’s what happens when you touch a Ray Gun you probably shouldn’t have touched. James did warn him, after all.
And that’s one of the things I loved about this DLC. James constantly reprimanding Roger for being reckless – he’s usually right – and Roger bull-headedly saying ‘nah mate, it’s all under control.’
Spoiler alert – it’s really, really not!
You’re thrust right into action as Wellington Wells is seen burning to the ground. Stolen Ray Gun in hand, you have to fight back, saving citizens – who probably don’t deserve it – while blasting this metallic army into smithereens.
Of course, Roger is going to need some help and in addition to seeking out his boyfriend James for both moral support and backup, he also needs to find Dr Faraday who will almost certainly know how to stop all this. At least, you’d think so.
They Came From Below is a narrative driven adventure with each quest paying homage to classic Sci-Fi films, like War of the Worlds and Blade Runner. With its distinctly classical themes, it fits the bill really well and while you’ll spend some time exploring Wellington Wells, you’ll also need to venture deep underground in a hidden laboratory to learn more about the origins of the robots.
There’s a real emphasis on puzzle solving in this episode, with Roger often having to shoot switches in order to progress, whether he’s turning the power on, lights out, or rotating fans. But while none of these are particularly taxing challenges, the progressive nature of the level flows really well.
Despite familiar settings, there’s a real spark of creativity in the levels. Later on, you’ll acquire a device which lets you push and pull platforms and pieces of the environment which can be used as ledges to jump between. You’ll also be able to use a spark rod to beat back robots and a pulse grenade to blow up marauding hordes in one blast.
The difficulty is definitely brutal, though. Even on the easiest difficulty, the robots are more than a match for you, often requiring you to keep distance and shoot from range due to the recharge times of the Ray Gun. It’s got a vicious difficulty curve and I had more than a few frustrations contending against the masses.
Ultimately, though, this is a decent start to the We Happy Few Season Pass. There’s a pretty decent story, compelling character interactions between James and Roger, and some interesting gameplay mechanics and tweaks. Put it this way, I had more fun this time around than I did with the base game and got quite caught up in the game’s romantic subplot.
Rough difficulty and gameplay monotony hold it back from its full potential, but They Came From Below is a mostly enjoyable piece of DLC that works well in context of the quirky world that’s been created. I look forward to what comes next.
+ Interesting character development
+ Some decent puzzle solving
+ Nice new mechanical twists
– Overly harsh difficulty curve even on the easiest settings
– Repetition in puzzle solving wears out its welcome
We Happy Few – They Came From Below Review
7 out of 10
Tested on PC
Code kindly received from Gearbox