Among Us Critical Play — Anooshree Sengupta

Name of game, creator, platform

I played Among Us on the Among Us desktop app for Mac. Based on the official Among Us website, the game was created by a team of developers at the indie game studio Inner Sloth. It looks like the Among Us app is supported across deskop and mobile devices.

Target audience (as best you can discover from research or the games messaging)

Based on the graphics of the game, I would assume that the target audience is tweens or younger teens, but I remember Among Us being popular across age groups during the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine. I think the game is well-suited for Zoom-based playing, as each player joins the game from their own personal device but still communicate with each other. The unilateral competition makes it a great way for groups who may be unfamiliar with each other grow more comfortable with each other.

Notable elements of the game: how many players? What actions can players take? How do rounds work? Do they do anything interesting with player relationships/objectives/resources? (refer to Formal Elements for this!)

The minimum number of players for Among Us is four, while the maximum number of the players is ten. Among Us scales well for large groups: the minimum number is more restrictive, as you need at least four players to maintain the “capture” objective of the game for longer than two rounds of gameplay. During each round, players who are assigned “crewmate” roles must try to complete all of the available tasks on the ship (completing all of them results in a win for the “crewmates”), while the player(s) assigned to be the “imposter(s)” try to corner “crewmates” in various locations on the spaceship and kill them. “Imposter(s)” also have a couple of key resources: they can sabotage the ship to make completing the tasks more difficult, and can travel through the vents in the ship. All players can view a map of the ship and call an emergency meeting. Meetings are held after the button is pressed, or when a player reports a dead body, and during meetings, all of the players choose a player to eject from the ship. If the “imposter(s)” kill of all of the “crewmates” before the tasks are completed, they win, but if the “crewmates” eject all of the “imposters” and/or complete the tasks, they win.

Compare the game you chose to other games in its genre. What differentiates it from the other games? Is it better/worse? How so?

Compared to Werewolf, Among Us is more fun to play because it remains engaging for “normal” players that aren’t try to kill others. Having tasks available for completion cultivates construction and race objectives, alongside the objective to capture the intruder. I also think that the aesthetic elements of the game create an immersive world for playing: each task is well-illustrated, and the Among Us avatars have become iconic. While it may not be as versatile/easy to set up as Werewolf and other games in its genre, the art and other elements of the app help it quickly move along, and make gameplay more robust for each player.

Was the game fun? Why or why not?

I think that this game is fun! There are a lot of small details in the game design that make each stage of gameplay engaging, and the “magic circle” of gameplay is very well established. Players have the opportunity to customize their avatars, rules are clearly established from the start, and each “action”—be it eliminating a player or holding a meeting—has a clear “effect.” Furthermore, opponent-based conflict, alongside obstacle-based conflict, makes the game more exciting: players have to choose between tasks and awareness of what is happening inside the ship.

Moments of particular success or epic fails (in your opinion)

I think the most major epic fail with Among Us is that the game can be incredibly short if the imposter is seen killing another player. During my first round of gameplay, I was the intruder and caught immediately; it made the game significantly less fun. Also, while I find the tasks an important part of the game, the oxygen tank can sometimes be hard to monitor and unexpectedly end the game.

Things you would change to make the game better

I would give the imposter better instructions on how to use the vents, and require a smaller amount of space between the imposter and crewmates in order for the imposter to make a kill. Right now, the larger gap makes it easier for the imposter to kill crewmates with others present, and I found that the vents were a valuable resource but difficult to initially use.

About the author

Hi! I'm Anooshree (she/her), a senior from San Jose, CA! My favorite game of all time is probably an escape room I did in Portland, OR, but I have and continue to love playing Settlers of Catan :)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.