There is a Trending Game Among Us


Especially in the tumultuous times we live in now, escapism is a must-have break from reality, and video games are the perfect example of escapism. They allow players to live out the greatest power fantasies, survive unthinkable and horrific odds, or give into the sociopathic tendencies that all gamers secretly possess. Among Us, developed by indie studio Innersloth, certainly falls into the latter. 

Among Us is a third-person overhead-perspective take on the “whodunit” genre; one to three Imposters are among the (up to) 10 total Crewmates on a spaceship (or base, depending on the chosen map). The Crewmates win by completing all of their tasks before being wiped out or by voting out all of the Imposters, and the Imposters win by killing enough Crewmates to match or outnumber them. 

Crewmate tasks are simple puzzles that vary from a little memory game of matching colored wires to, most dauntingly, flicking a switch. While they’re redundant and not particularly challenging, their ease of completion is a great design choice since players are really going to be focusing on the other players around them, along with piecing together clues at discussions. 

Discussions take place when one of two things happen: either a player discovers and reports a body, or a player presses the emergency meeting button. When one of those two conditions is met, the game is essentially paused, live players teleport to the meeting area, and a variable amount of time is given for players to message the group to discuss who could be the Imposter. This is the core gameplay of Among Us, and arguably the most fun part. There’s no mechanical or gameplay-related deceit in this part of the game; it’s all about the Crewmates’ investigation skills and the Imposters’ people skills. Players will have a tough time deciding who is lying as they decide how they should vote. If a player receives a majority vote, they are ejected from the ship. If that player was the last Imposter, Crewmates win. If the ejection makes the number of Imposters match or exceed the number of Crewmates, then Imposters win. 

While the Crewmates are actually doing tasks, Imposters are given a list of fake tasks. Since most tasks don’t indicate whether or not the player standing in front of the task is actually completing it, Imposters can easily gain the trust of other Crewmates. Imposters, along with the ability to brutally murder fellow crewmates, can sabotage the ship (or base, depending on the map) in various ways for a tactical advantage. This ranges from killing the lights and limiting vision to threatening death and loss to all

Crewmates by overloading the reactor or depleting oxygen. Crewmates will have to drop what they’re doing and rush to solve the issue, giving Imposters a chance to nab a kill or two among the chaos. Imposters can also use vents to travel from one part of the map to the other, usually to avoid being caught leaving the scene of a crime. Finally, Imposters can also report their own killings, causing inconsistencies in clues during discussion. 

One thing I greatly appreciated about the game is that dying is not the end. A dead player becomes a ghost; Crewmate ghosts can still complete their tasks, and Imposter ghosts can still sabotage. They are also able to move around the map freely without being impeded by walls. Ghosts are limited by the fact that they can neither resolve sabotages nor discuss with the living. 

The game’s artstyle screams with personality. Very cartoonish, it looks like a late-2000’s Flash animation, with simple animations and bright colors. The characters are not only easy on the eyes, but their looks also contribute to gameplay as well, since players will just refer to each other by the colors of their characters. 

This game is great because of its variables between matches. Although the mechanics of both Crewmates and Imposters remain the same between matches, the dynamics between players in each game is what keeps the game from being just a spaceship simulator. Imposters will have different strategies each round to secretly kill each Crewmate and weasel their way out of being ejected. Crewmates will find themselves trying to prove their innocence while also piecing together clues to figure out the Imposters. A player can feel a sense of pride when they convince the entire crew to eject an Imposter, or when they cunningly lie to get the crew to boot one of their own. 

Other miscellaneous yet greatly appreciated design choices worth mentioning include: objects in the world blocking the player’s view, which gives first-person mechanics in a third-person perspective; Imposters having to wait between kills to make killing a whole room of Crewmates before they can react impossible; the ability to skip voting to eject someone; a practice mode to give you an idea of how the mechanics work; a games’ host’s ability to adjust values like the amount of time to vote, player movement speed, number of tasks and much more; and simple yet adorable cosmetics for your player character to wear. 

The game has some issues, however. While being a mechanically simple and tight game, some rare bugs can occur, such as killing a Crewmate on the exact frame that a meeting is called, causing them to appear alive but be treated as

dead. It’s a minor blemish, but a blemish nonetheless. And, although the developers can’t really do anything to stop this, it’s easy for players to communicate outside of the game and ruin the point of being dead. This isn’t the fault of the game — rather the integrity of the players — but that doesn’t change the fact that entire games can be ruined because a dead Crewmate messages his living buddy over Discord about who the Imposter is. 

Among Us being only $5 on Steam and free on iOS, there’s no reason not to pick this game up. Being this cheap and yet offering replay value this high is a rare sight to behold these days, especially from small indie developers. Since its surge in popularity over the past month and a half, the devs in Innersloth have decided to cancel the sequel and continue work and content updates on Among Us, so further content and fixes should be available in time. Expect new players, new updates, and for Red to act “sus”.