The special ingredient in Among Us is the head-on collision of human emotions as players try to win by eliminating anyone even remotely posing a threat to them
Among Us is particularly oddball of a game, and despite having simplistic graphics with a hand-drawn aesthetic, it somehow managed to become the latest indie sensation throughout the world.
This online multiplayer social deduction game witnessed a spike in its popularity this year, but this little gem actually came out back in 2018. Among Us is fun for both casual and hardcore gamers, a feat difficult to achieve for even the AAA titles.
The game is set in space, where you – along with a group of friends or strangers – try to survive as crewmates against violent and malevolent alien impostors in a claustrophobic spaceship, or murder everyone discreetly as those invaders.
The game takes a minimalistic approach in terms of graphics, gameplay and sound design, but the special ingredient is the head-on collision of human emotions as players try to win by eliminating anyone even remotely posing a threat to them.
The matches are asymmetrical multiplayer – where not all the players are on a level playing field, and victory will depend solely on your teamwork and deductive reasoning.
Crewmates and Impostors
The game assigns the role of crewmates and impostors randomly. Impostors can identify other impostors, but the crewmates have no way of recognising them under normal circumstances.
When Among Us assigns you as a crewmate, you only have one simple goal – find the impostors before they kill you.
You will also have to focus on completing various tasks around the spaceship, countering any sabotage committed by the uninvited guests, and figuring out who is murdering your fellow crewmates gruesomely.
Crewmates always outnumber the imposters. That is why identifying the invaders while finishing the tasks becomes a key strategy. If impostors manage to get the upper hand by killing most of the crewmates or by sabotaging vital systems such as the ship's reactor, it is game over for your team.
Each match of Among Us becomes a sinister tale of cat and mouse as crewmates scramble to identify the unstoppable and undetectable killing machines hiding among them.
Betrayal can come from anyone
The ship is divided into various rooms connected by cramped and dimly lit corridors. Each room houses important systems such as reactors and oxygen filters, which are vital to your survival.
At the beginning of the match, crewmates get some tasks automatically, which they must carry out across the ship. Completing those tasks fills up a progress bar, and filling it up all the way grants you victory.
A good survival strategy is to pair up with other players to form teams of two and keep track of other crewmates. When an impostor kills a crewmate, he leaves behind a body. Once you see a murder, a dead body or any suspicious activity, you can choose to call an emergency meeting.
And the game truly shines here. You can accuse someone of killing, venting (only the impostors can use vents to move freely around the ship), or faking tasks. The accused has a chance to defend himself, and convince other crewmates of his innocence by presenting an alibi.
After a short discussion via in-game text, the game allows you to vote out one crewmate. The meetings are a great showcase of human paranoia, betrayal and blame games, as anyone getting the majority vote will get ejected through the airlock.
More often than not, false accusations fly across the room, and crewmates end up spacing one of the innocent passengers, while impostors get a clean slate to continue their murder spree.
As an impostor, your job is to blend in with the crewmates, fake tasks, and murder them one by one. You can also sabotage ship systems, lock crewmates in by jamming doors and stalk the ship by venting.
Beware that impostors cannot do tasks, and getting caught while venting, killing or even getting caught near a dead body can result in being voted out by your would-be victims. Sabotaging the ship's systems is a good way to isolate and kill unsuspecting crewmates.
You can also play mind games by being friendly with someone and then falsely accuse him to get him spaced. As one of the crewmates, the game becomes a survival horror, but as an impostor, it becomes a stealth action thriller.
The game is best played with a bunch of friends, but it is almost equally enjoyable with internet strangers. Among Us is available on Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS, and supports cross-play.