It’s long overdue that the MMOGames team review Among Us. By now, anyone reading this should have at least heard about the Among Us craze. The deceptive, team-play puzzle solving game for 4-10 players was thrust into the spotlight by streamers of all genres, celebrities, and even Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
In a time when lockdowns are forcing us into separation from our family and friends, who would have thought that a game which encourages deception, plotting, and the blasting of loved ones from airlocks would be the pastime that brings us all together? But brought us together it did. We assembled the MMOGames team and dived right in. Here’s what they thought:
Marc (MMOGames’ MMORPG Aficionado) 9/10
Like many of you, lockdown has led me to play more games and watch more streams. I’d watched quite a few YouTube videos about Among Us, and some of the 13,000 IQ plays I’d witnessed may have led me to believe I would have an advantage going in. That delusion was quickly dispelled – being made Imposter straight away brought on a mild sense of panic and a racing pulse.
While the act of killing is manifestly simple, requiring only a click in the vicinity of a crewmate, the real challenge lies in dynamically conceiving a plan and an alibi. You can of course, as I did, murder someone when it appears to be quiet without a plan. However, later finding yourself in an emergency meeting with nothing to say for yourself while one crewmate starts interrogating you may recall nauseating feelings of not having done your homework while a teacher decides it’s a nice idea if two or three people present their work back to the class. That’s a long sentence which should probably be edited to allow breathing, but it rather mirrors the stream of anxious consciousness that betrays an unprepared Imposter.
Carried only by the good fortune of not having a track record or any established “tells”, to my surprise I won my first game. What followed made each match more interesting, as a sort of meta-game quickly develops where your behaviour while crewmate or Imposter becomes something that you also have to pay attention to, lest you become predictable.
The last game of the session involved me, as an innocent crewmate, correctly identifying the Imposter (Alex, the reviewer in this article) – with the thrill of a Tom who just caught a Jerry. I called an emergency meeting and stated my case. However, the jury fell against me in a case of my word against his; I started to realize that the more I protested, the less convincing I sounded. An injustice was wrought that day. The beauty of this game is not only that outcome, but the 40 minutes I spent afterwards considering how I could’ve played it differently.
Alex (MMOGames’ Head of Content) – 9/10
There’s something disconcerting about seeing how effective your friends, family, and colleagues are at lying. While I’m not sure I’ll ever trust them the same way after repeatedly being spaced by the very Imposters that were sabotaging our oxygen and engines, I have found a weird new respect for them.
Fellow boardgame fans will recognize the key mechanics of Among Us from such titles as Betrayal on House on the Hill and Secret Hitler. It’s long overdue that the format has found its way to a popular and compelling videogame.
Among Us’s matchmaking customization options allow for simple tweaking of settings (such as mini-game length and number of Imposters) allowing for rounds of bespoke matches at a pace unmatchable by board games. The game has already spawned a number of copycat titles which, frankly, is great news. Because I for one couldn’t get enough.
Sure, after being repeatedly spaced and wrongly accused, I was feeling victimized. At the same time, I was excited by the game’s potential and realized that I was only scratching the surface of the subterfuge and deception available, including: moving around the ventilation system, sabotaging critical systems, and of course…murder.
As our evening of gameplay drew to a close, a microphone issue meant that my team-mates couldn’t hear me. But Among Us is about thinking of your feet and adapting to circumstances. Something I was too slow to do. Case in point, after fixing my microphone, I was chosen as Imposter and immediately talked myself out of an airlock. What I should have done? Stayed quiet and pretended it was still broken.
We had initially just planned to play a few rounds, but it was in Round 15 (our final game) that I finally wrought my revenge. Chosen as Imposter again, I won by convincing my colleagues to space my old pal Marc. Result. Here’s to hoping that more deceptive murderous puzzle games find their way into the spotlight soon.
Ollie (MMOGames’ Chieftain of News) 7/10
Despite it helping a hell of a lot, you don’t have to be a particularly proficient liar to score an Impostor victory in Among Us, and that’s one of the things that makes it so great. Many deceptive avenues lay before you if you’re someone who, like me, muddles their way through a flimsy excuse as to why you’re standing over half a corpse. Even when you know you’re innocent.
Case and point: my first (and only) victory as the Impostor came when I “vented” out of the crime scene then, without having to say a word, watched Alex get spaced as he claimed he ‘didn’t see the body’ despite walking into and out of the room in which it was found. Classic.
Moments like those are few and far between, however, and you had better get your head around the room locations and the jobs they contain if you’re going to stand any hope of coherently answering the most common line of questioning: ‘Where were you and what were you doing?’ Because the beginner’s excuse of feigning confusion only lasts so long.
Thankfully, if you keep your wits about you, the simplicity of the maps and the charming minigames (not you, ‘Start Reactor’ task) mean that you’ll be a master at sowing doubt with wily strategies in no time (my personal favourite is the ‘self-report’).
I have played Among Us pretty regularly throughout the UK lockdown and it has served as a perfect bridge between gamers and non-gamers as we all try to keep in touch. However, as someone who is often lost in my favourite 3D-rendered worlds, there comes a time when its simplicity turns to mundanity and the novelty begins to wear off.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to mix things up and create your own weird and wonderful rulesets; but much like how staring at the same four walls during lockdown slowly starts to drive you insane, there are only so many times I can skip through the halls of The Skeld before my need for greener, open-world (virtual) pastures calls out to me. However, as a hilarious and often nail-biting game to enjoy with distant friends, it’s one of the best.
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