I’m not looking to get the coronavirus, so most of my trips outside are for groceries, food and other necessities, and it’s fair to say what was left of my social life suffered drastically, and a lot of people are in the same situation. There’s not a lot of room for being social in the age of social distancing.
So it’s no surprise that “Among Us”, an online space-themed whodunnit that initially launched in 2018 that relies heavily on socializing with your fellow players would be one of the most popular games of the year.
In the game, you have a set number of crewmates (usually 10), with one or two of them being an imposter, whose sole goal is to kill everyone without being caught. Crewmates each have tasks that are essentially minigames that must be completed, that fill a task bar that, once filled, wins the game for the crewmates. Imposters are given tasks they have to fake to blend in, and imposters have the ability to kill anyone on the spot (albeit they have to cool down in between kills), and they also have the ability to sabotage the space ship’s functions to cause a distraction. Some sabotages are vital, some aren’t. I usually play on the Skeld map, which has two critical sabotages that can win the game if the crewmates don’t handle them in time: Make the reactor meltdown, or sabotage the 02 filter, both of which require two crewmates to set right. This means an imposter needs only to dwindle the surviving crew members to two to ensure victory, assuming their kill cooldown is done with.
Central to the game is its emergency meetings, which anyone can call at any time, but happen automatically when someone reports a dead body. It includes an impressive chat system that mostly keeps the discourse clean, and a period of voting, in which the group collectively decides who to eject. If the impostor gets ejected, the crewmates win.
Deception and lying are key to this game, especially when you’re an impostor. Alliances are often formed, and there are ways to confirm crewmates if they have a task that has a visual cue. The game highlights the importance of working together by showing what happens when the crew is divided; when you’re the impostor, even if you are credibly accused, you might be able to “poison the well” so to speak by throwing uncertainty into the accusations, in hopes of splitting the vote (no one is ejected during tied votes).
As a crewmember, you can be picked off at any time, though you can still complete your tasks after death as a ghost, but you can’t communicate with your living crewmates. Games with two impostors have a unique dynamic, as it doubles the amount of people who can be killed at any given time, and it also allows the impostors to be each other’s alibis.
“Among Us” is one of those buried gems that finally got into the mainstream, and it’s a brilliant little game. In a time where social interactions are limited, a clever chat-based game like this is a breath of fresh air (though please, people really need to stop trying to use “Among Us” as a dating app). It’s the perfect game for the pandemic, especially with a close group of friends you haven’t seen in awhile.
I haven’t played the game on PC, but I’d imagine the chat function would be more smooth there than on mobile. Its free mobile version is fantastic for what it is, and I truly respect developer InnerSloth for not over monetizing the game to where it’s not playable, and for limiting paid DLC to cosmetic items only.
“Among Us” get a 9/10