Among Us offers an interesting take on social deduction games that greatly benefit from streamlined mechanics and player-driven objectives.
While it could stand to provide more incentives, a selection of free and premium cosmetics offers at least one outlet for players to express themselves.
Lastly, the ability to adjust the game’s settings to your liking is a welcome addition that helps keep things fresh and exciting.
Among Us is an online multiplayer social deduction game developed and published by Innersloth and released in 2018. Despite being available worldwide, the game struggled to attract Western audiences for several years before suddenly exploding in popularity in 2020.
In this review, I’ll share my thoughts on the game to help you decide whether or not you should play it.
Among Us is currently available for PC, Android, and iOS.
For this review, I’ll be referencing both the PC and Android versions and comparing how the two experiences match up.
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Every social deduction game has its own quirks to help it stand out and Among Us is no different. The premise is simple: 4 to 10 players are transported to one of three maps where they’ll have to complete various tasks as a space crew.
The twist is, not everyone is as innocent as they appear to be. Depending on the host player’s settings, 1 to 3 players are assigned the Imposter’s role, which requires them to kill their fellow crewmates while avoiding detection.
Meanwhile, the crew must try to sleuth out the traitors or finish up all their tasks before it’s too late, and the Imposters outnumber them. There’s a bit more nuance to narrowing down potential suspects, but the formula is simple enough that just about anyone can jump in without any prior video game knowledge.
What Is Gameplay Like?
In theory, Among Us sounds like a relatively straightforward endeavor. Complete tasks, report any suspicious behavior, and most importantly, live to see another day. However, in practice, things can quickly fall apart, especially for innocent crewmates.
Depending on the group you’re playing with, accusers will either waste no time trying to vote someone off or spend the entire game arguing about perceived ‘sus’ behavior while the Imposters slip by undetected. In many cases, you’ll have to defend yourself or risk getting wrongly ejected by your own crewmates.
This makes the experience more about psychological manipulation than physical skill. The tasks you have to complete are all pretty simple and usually boil down to a single input. However, to perform them you’ll have to stand still for a few seconds while a console covers up a portion of your screen, leaving you vulnerable to any nearby Imposters.
Arguably the best part of the game is when you’re finally selected to be the Imposter, considering they have many more tools at their disposal and no immediate threats to worry about. If you can convince the rest of the crew you’re innocent, or better yet turn them against one another, you’re pretty much guaranteed a win.
That being said, a significant amount of the game is spent typing out messages in text-based ‘Emergency Meetings’ anytime a dead body is reported, or the red button is pushed. This is where I’ve experienced both my best and worst moments with the game.
While there’s nothing more satisfying than coming together with crewmates to vote off a known conspirator, it’s not as fun to be on the receiving end of an ejection, especially when you know you’re innocent.
Game Performance Breakdown
Games that require a constant internet connection are naturally prone to more issues than ones without such a restriction. When you factor in the number of players needed to start a game and the fact that Among Us supports crossplay between PC and mobile, there’s bound to be the occasional hiccup.
Although I haven’t encountered any issues while playing on PC, my time with the mobile version hasn’t been quite as smooth. I found the game would occasionally crash whenever I tried to check a notification or switch to a different app, even if for a few seconds. This meant that once I launched the game, I had to keep it open, even if I was just waiting for a lobby to fill up.
There’s also the matter of players hacking the game to reveal the Imposters, skip Emergency Meetings, and in general, try to ruin the experience for everyone else. This was a much bigger issue at the height of the game’s fervor, and Innersloth has done a fantastic job at implementing measures to prevent hackers from running rampant.
Another minor issue I’ve encountered with the mobile version is not being able to purchase any cosmetic items for my character. While I can browse through various hats, pets, and outfits, every time I try to check out, it results in an error. However, that’s more likely an issue with the Google Play store than Among Us itself.
Graphics and Sound Breakdown
When it comes to presentation, Among Us has a lot going for it. Sure, it’s not going to win first place for ‘Best Looking Game’, or even second or third place for that matter. However, there’s a certain charm to its 2D cartoony aesthetic, especially if you’re like me and spent the early to mid-2000s playing flash games on sites like Newgrounds and Addictinggames.com.
Having each character be represented by a different colored space suit is a nice touch that makes it easy to keep track of who’s who. The maps are all well-designed and feature enough visual flair to keep things interesting, even if I prefer The Skeld’s straightforward layout.
In terms of sound design, Among Us does a lot with minimal sound cues. You’ve got the various beeps and boops you’d expect to hear when interacting with each station throughout the ship. The sound of your character’s footsteps will change depending on the type of surface you’re walking on.
However, the sound that’s stuck with me most and has likely already embedded itself deep in the back of my skull is the horn that plays at the start of each match. It’s meant to signal the beginning of the game and plays right as the words “Crewmate” or “Imposter” appears on your screen, sealing your fate for that round.
The Final Verdict
If you’re the type of person who prefers to play games with friends, then you’re bound to get some level of enjoyment out of Among Us. While it may not require a great deal of skill to play, there is a certain amount of mental gymnastics involved with convincing other players to vote in your favor.
That being said, the game definitely isn’t for everyone. You don’t gain experience points or unlock any cosmetics by just playing the game, and the lack of a battle pass or any sort of reward system means your only incentive is the joy that comes with arguing with crewmates. Just make sure to finish your tasks and stick with the group, and everything should be perfectly fine, hopefully.
- Simple yet addictive gameplay loop
- Easy to pick up and find a game
- Flexible rules and win conditions
- Unique and varied map selection
- Can be boring with the wrong teammates
- Can’t get rewards just by playing the game
- Occasionally crashes on mobile