We Happy Few: 5 Steps to Stay Alive – Beginner’s Guide


Survival isn’t easy in the drug-fueled world of We Happy Few. Staying alive is a pretty daunting endeavor if you’re still new to the retro-apocalyptic town of Wellington Wells, so we’ve put together five important tips to help make your escape easier.

We Happy Few is different than most FPS survival titles — there are no zombies or mutants to contend with, and you’ll have to rely on more than stealth to stay alive. While combat is an option, it’s wiser to run or fit in with the crowd. The happy residents of Wellington Wells use the drug Joy, and anyone caught stone-sober gets an instant death sentence. Avoiding suspicious is as important as balancing your daily needs like hunger, thirst, and exhaustion.

There’s a lot to talk about in We Happy Few, and you’ll find all the important stuff covered in the five steps below. For our personal experiences with the game, check out the We Happy Few early access impressions right here.

5 Steps to Stay Alive – Beginner’s Guide

Note: These tips are all specific to the current [8/1] early access version of We Happy Few. If there are significant changes to the full release, we’ll update this article with any new info.

#1: Adjust Your Settings

To get the experience you want in We Happy Few, you can adjust the options to make life just a little easier. Permadeath is a big part of the roguelike experience, but can be frustrating when you’re trying to learn the rules and limitations of Wellington Wells.

Before starting a new game, you can adjust two important settings:

  • Second Wind – On/Off
  • Permadeath – On/Off


Second Wind, when toggled on, puts the player in a dying state when their health reaches zero. This gives you time to heal and escape encounters instead of instantly dying.

Permadeath is just what it says. When toggled on, your character is gone forever upon death, and you’ll have to restart the game completely. Taking damage will still send you back to the closest safehouse, and you’ll wake up with negative impact to your thirst and a bleeding debuff that must be healed.

How you want to play is important, but we recommend keeping Permadeath on to really soak in the experience of We Happy Few.

#2: Your Personal Health – Eating, Drinking & Sleep

We Happy Few might look like a 1960’s Bioshock, but it’s actually much closer to a survival simulation game. You’ll need to craft items, eat food, drink water, and sleep often to stay healthy. In world of We Happy Few is a bleak one, and food / water is actually hard to find.

Finding Water:

Water is one of your most important resources. It’s also fairly easy to find — water pumps provide an unlimited supply of water, but most of it will not be clean. Using water sources is not counted toward stealing, and there are no penalties for using sinks or pumps in the environment.

Keep your canteen filled up and check your map to find renewable water sources. If you can’t find clean water, craft filters often. They are made with the following materials:

  • Metal Tube (1)
  • Charcoal (1)
  • Cloth (1)

Search homes to find other liquids to refill your thirst meter. Juice or alcohol is always fresh and can be found in Wellington Wells homes. Beware — some water sources contain the drug Joy. Taking Joy will help you blend in, but there are serious negative side-effects once the drug wears off. Overdosing is a big problem, too.


Finding Food:

Food is trickier than water. While you can locate food almost anywhere; campfires, fireplaces, containers in abandoned homes or in Joyful kitchens and stoves, the items are often rotten or rancid. Gardens often have plenty of food, but it’s rare that the vegetables aren’t rotten.

To avoid the effects of food poisoning, loot unconscious / dead NPCs often to collect plenty of Neximide Pills. Right after eating bad food, immediately pop a Neximide Pill to remove the negative effects.

  • Neximide Pills can be found in containers or on Wastrel NPCs in the Garden District.

Be on the lookout for mushrooms. Shrooms are edible, fresh, and will remove hunger after eating about three. They’re not see easy to find, but if you spot them, always collect.

  • Negative Food Effects:
    • Food Poisoning: Causes dizziness and nausea. Passes over time. Caused by eating rotten, rancid, or spoiled food. Can be cured immediately with Neximide Pills.
    • Serious Food Poisoning: Causes vomiting until hunger is completely depleted or a Neximide Pill is consumed. Caused by eating too much rotten, rancid or spoiled food.
    • Hunger: Causes -10% Stamina Regeneration. Caused by not eating enough food. Is removed by eating food — rancid, spoiled, or rotten food will refill the hunger meter, but might cause food poisoning.

The drug Joy is laced in certain high-end area water supplies and food. Joy is an important part of We Happy Few — learn a little bit more about this wonder drug in the following section.


#3: Medicated to Perfection – The Positives & Negatives of Joy

Joy is what makes the citizens of Wellington Wells so Joyful. The ubiquitous drug makes even the Plague-infested apocalypse livable, turning the citizens into happy-go-lucky dullards. Anyone that doesn’t take Joy — known as ‘Downers” — are identified and beaten to death by citizens.

Joy is found in most food and water in Hamlyn, but you won’t find Joy laced into the food / water of the Garden District.

Where to Find Joy Pills: Search the dead/ unconscious bodies of Wellies, in Hamlyn homes, or in trash cans. Pills provide the strongest kick of Joy, but you can also feel the effects by drinking water / eating food from the Hamlyn area. Purchase food or water from vendors or drink the public water to get some Joy in your system.


Positive Effects:

  • Joy Euphoria: While on Joy, Wellies will rarely be suspicious of you. Bobbies and citizens will leave you alone, unless you directly attack them. This effect lasts a limited time.

Negative Effects:

  • Joy Withdrawal: After the effects of Joy Euphoria, you’ll enter a period of Withdrawal. Until it wears off, you’ll be twice as suspicious (2x Suspicion) and your hunger / thirst will drain faster than normal.
  • Joy Overdose: Taking too much Joy leads to an overdose. You’ll black out and wake up in the nearest safehouse, with your ┬áhealth, thirst, hunger, and exhaustion meters all significantly depleted.

Taking Joy is a tactical choice! Be prepared for the negative consequences — you don’t want to be caught in a bad spot when withdrawal hits.

#4: Don’t Be So Suspicious

You want to fit into Wellington Wells, don’t you? In We Happy Few, your behavior matters. Here are just a sample of actions you can take that raise suspicions and cause the citizens to report you… or hunt you down.

  • Carrying a weapon in public. Put those weapons away!
  • Stealing / pickpocketing in public. If you want to take food or items, do it when people aren’t looking.
  • Not taking Joy. In the high-end Joyful areas, the Wellies expect you to take Joy. If you don’t, just walking around will raise suspicion.


  • Stepping through yellow lasers will always raise an alarm.
  • Climbing pipes in public.
  • Attacking in public. Anyone nearby will take you down — unless it’s a Downer! Anyone that doesn’t take Joy is fair game.

That’s just a few behaviors that will get you in trouble with the locals and the law. Always be your best in Wellington Wells, or be prepared to run.

#5: Craft Your Way To Success

Crafting is the best way to get ahead in We Happy Few. Recipes are unlocked when you find new materials, and you can use crafting tables in Safe Houses.

  • The Basic Lockpick is one of the first items you’ll craft. It only costs (1) Metal Bits to craft, and can be used to break into homes where you’ll find most of your materials.


Crafting allows you to create new weapons, healing items, filters to clean dirty water, and cures. One important chemistry item you’ll want to create early is the Phenocycline Syringe, which will cure the Plague is used early after contracting the disease.

The Phenocycline Formula is found in the Lud’s Holm Safe House, on the Chemistry Station. Learn more on our plague-fixing guide right here:

Source: [1]