Lovely day for it, Is it not? Well, it could be even more lovely if you decide to give a second look at an overlooked studio. That being Compulsion Games, a once indie studio with a few games under their belt. With one that fell to the obscure side of the gaming world, and one that you would have definitely heard of for better or for worse. The studio, starting with their very first indie title back in 2013 showed an ambitious team aiming to prove themselves. But with their latest title, showing just how much a studio can be treated unfairly due to circumstances not under their control.
As detailed by the documentary “The Cost Of Joy” which was released last year. Compulsion Games detailed the difficulties they endured to just get We Happy Few out the door after the success of Contrast. Alongside their studio’s history leading to the decision of becoming a member of Xbox Games Studios. With this in mind, let’s talk about their games because they are very interesting.
Contrast was the first title for the studio. Showcasing unique ways to have both platforming and puzzle-solving in their game. Matching the themes and tone of the lovingly melancholy story. A little girl witnessing the struggle of her father trying to make things right with her mother. All conveyed by shadows on the wall. You never see any other characters but the little girl Didi and her friend Dawn.
The usage of shadows doesn’t stop at the story though. The game’s puzzles and mechanics smartly rely on the use of shadows created by light sources and objects to get around the world. It’s an interesting way to spice up gameplay from scripted sequences. At one point, you even get locked into a play and have to use Dawn to get through it. It’s fun to play, as well as using an all too familiar family dynamic to its advantage for the story. It isn’t very long either, so it should be easy to shell out for its very low asking price of $10.
We Happy Few
We Happy Few had to be the studio’s follow-up game. It aimed even further than the studio could handle. A semi-open world game with survival elements, crafting, a very unique setting as well as a full-fledged story utilizing multiple perspectives of different characters. Each played differently from the last and uncovered even more about the town Wellington Wells. You would either have to stealth around the “Wellies” as either Arthur, Sally, or Wollie. Or go around attacking the citizens just to get more loot to keep surviving.
While the gameplay wasn’t really revolutionary, it did capture the magic of the Bioshock series with its setting. A dystopian society corrupted beyond repair from the country leader’s once good intentions. The characters were always very interesting with clever writing that levered the dryest of dry humor. It was an excellent game that sadly got buried beneath the weight of expectations and a lack of polish. The game would eventually get tons of patches and hotfixes. As well as three DLC stories that are very brilliant. The game even had a fictional band with some really great tracks that fit the game’s narrative themes. It was and still is worth its asking price of $60. Luckily, the game is available on Xbox Game Pass, so be sure to take advantage of it if you’re a member.
Do it for Compulsion Games
While asking people like you dear reader to spend your hard-earned money on games is difficult for me. These are worth your time and money, especially Contrast at that price. The games are available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam and We Happy Few goes on sale regularly. If you’re not interested in either one, you could always look out for their next game, codenamed “Midnight”. As detailed by Senior Editor for Windows Central, Jez Corden:
This upcoming title is supposedly a third-person action game set in a dark and fantastical world.
Showing even more ambition from a studio that got dragged through the mud in 2018 during We Happy Few’s launch. The past is the past, and the games they have available in the present. As well as the one coming in the future should not be ignored. Give Compulsion Games another shot, they deserve it, and you deserve to play these games.