The viral mobile sensation “Among Us” has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few weeks, thanks to its enjoyable gameplay and easily meme-able content. The game, released in 2018 by video game developer Innersloth, experienced a surge in popularity around the end of September, and the world’s adoration for it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
The premise of the game is quite simple: It’s a classic whodunit mystery, partially inspired by the classic party game Mafia. In Mafia, the players must figure out the identities of the killers before everyone dies at the hands of the mafia. “Among Us” follows a similar model, but this adaptation of Mafia takes place in outer space, as crewmates and traitors called “impostors” battle to seize control of a spaceship.
The game follows a multiplayer format as 10 players gather on the spaceship. When the game begins, “Among Us” separates the players into two groups. The first group consists of innocent crewmates, who complete a variety of tasks across the ship and try to figure out who the impostors are. These tasks consist of a variety of minigames, which include shooting down asteroids, connecting wires and swiping admin cards. If the crewmates complete all of the tasks before the impostors outnumber them, they automatically win the game.
On the other hand, each round includes either one, two or three impostors that plan to kill every crewmate on the ship without being exposed. While the impostors cannot partake in tasks, they have the ability to cause multiple sabotages to disrupt the crewmates. These sabotages include shutting doors, turning off lights and lowering oxygen levels.
When a crewmate discovers a body, they can call an emergency meeting to discuss theories around who the killer is. The discussion portion is where the fun begins, as crewmates accuse each other left and right of being the impostor, often with humorous results. Sometimes valid detective work exposes impostors right away, especially if a crewmate sees an impostor vent or actually witnesses the murder. However, most of the time discussions mainly consist of players declaring each other “sus,” and everyone hops on the bandwagon to kick them out.
The crewmates win the game if they successfully complete all of their tasks or oust every single impostor. The impostors win if they succeed in outnumbering the crewmates by the end of the game, either through killing everyone or surviving each discussion round.
One of the biggest “Among Us” battles doesn’t involve discussion at all — choosing the best color in the waiting room often becomes its own competition. There are twelve colors available, and each comes with its own stereotype. These include red (the one that’s always “sus”), blue (the detective), yellow (the one everyone forgets about), orange (the button presser), lime (the jerk), green (the impostor who’s never suspected by the others), cyan (the one that always acts “sus” even as a crewmate), purple (the wildcard), white (the quiet one), black (the designated “coolest” color), pink (the innocent) and brown (the last color everyone picks).
A variety of hats and pets come as additional options for character decoration. While a majority of the hats are available free of charge, the pets, skins and exclusive hats cost between $2 to $3. The pets may be particularly adorable, but “Among Us” shows no mercy to them through animations of their traumatized reactions to their crewmate’s murder.
The game’s control system and gameplay run quite smoothly, but the game does have its flaws. First off, the game lacks an account system. Players often befriend their crewmates over the course of consecutive rounds, but after the game ends it is nearly impossible to reconnect with a previous player. The game also suffers from an increasing number of hackers bugging the system, causing players to walk through walls, change names or move against their will. However, there are not too many prevalent issues besides these two, and Innersloth plans to address them both in the near future.
Overall, the rise of “Among Us” has arrived at the perfect time, as it gives everyone another socially-distanced way to spend time with friends amid this quarantine. It may ruin friendships, but “Among Us” remains one of the bright spots of 2020. Who knew backstabbing your friends would be so much fun?