Graphic by Arijit Trivedi

‘Among Us’ is fun but flawed

“Among Us,” a 2018 party game published by Innersloth, is set inside a spaceship. It is all the rave, but is it really that good? I don’t think so, but it’s still a lot of fun. 

“Among Us,” in simple terms, is an odd-man-out or asymmetrical type party game in which one or more of the players has an objective — either kill the normal spaceship crewmembers or destroy the spaceship. The other players have a different objective: to figure out who among the crewmembers are imposters and vote them out, or complete a set of tasks. 

I like this genre; I love playing the board game “One Night Ultimate Werewolf,” or what seems to be the origin of all these games, “Mafia.” My problems are with what this game does to stand out in this genre.

“Among Us” uses a system called tasks. A task is a short minigame, such as typing in a code or pressing buttons in the right order. Each crewmate has about four or five tasks per game, and if the crewmate completes all of them, the crewmate wins. I dislike this system immensely. This system allows players to fallback and only think about doing their tasks, losing the critical thinking that is presented when trying to come up with who the imposters are. The tasks are fine, but none of them are memorable, and some are just the exact same thing twice. 

There is one task that I do like, which is the medbay scanner task. During this task, you basically just stand still for 10 seconds as a scanner goes over your body. What makes this task unique is not how it affects you, but how it affects the other players. Unlike other tasks, this has an on-screen animation that other players can see, so if someone sees you doing it, they know you are not an imposter.

Winning the game, especially as a crewmate, feels unsatisfying, because of how quick games are or how many times I have played. If it’s not satisfying to win, what’s the whole point in even playing? When I win, I rarely feel like I have done anything to truly support the team. I’m not extremely enthused as I am when I win a game of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Warzone.” Playing the imposter is one of the best parts of the game, due to how unique its playstyle is from the role of a crewmate. As the imposter, you can distract players by sabotaging different systems on the ship, as well as just blatantly killing them. Sure, the odds of getting that role are low, even with two or more imposters, but still, the feeling of running around the map with all that power at your fingertips is exhilarating.

This game is a rather relaxed game and doesn’t require you to take notes or really remember everything — which for some is appealing — but my opinion definitely differs from most of the player base. It works great for a late-night get-together with all your friends, and unlike some games, it gets better with more people, but personally, I enjoy a more strategy heavy game. I like games that take around four to five hours to play, and without taking notes, you’re doomed from the start. There’s nothing wrong with a lighter strategy game like “Among Us.” I just think of it as a different genre. The way you can just sit down and play for a short time is really inviting to new players, and it only takes a round or two to become familiar with the game.

At first, I thought that it was totally overhyped. But, if it’s bringing people together who usually don’t talk to each other, I can’t complain. I have been playing video games for around half of my life, so it’s nice to see something that I have found fun for such a long time bring joy to people who have never experienced that before.

If you haven’t downloaded it, you should give it a try. It’s free, so why not? As long as you don’t play it too frequently, it will continue to stay fun and be a great thing to do remotely with lots of friends at once.

Among Us
Strategy
Entertainment
Reader Rating12 Votes
Pros
Fun and easy to understand
Play with up to 10 people
Cons
Gets repetitive
Game mechanics are simplistic
3.5

By Dylan Margolis

Originally published in the Sept. 22 issue of the Octagon.