Critical Play: Among Us – Defne

Name of game: Among Us

Creator: InnerSloth

Platform: iOS, Android, Desktop, potentially more

Target audience: Targets people who enjoy casual games or party games with friends or online players. Because of its simple mechanics, it appeals to many levels of experience and age groups.

Comparison to similar games: Among Us is comparable to social games like Mafia, Werewolf, or Spyfall where social deduction are at the forefront. It is slightly different than most of the games in this genre from the fact that it is played exclusively virtually (unless players decide to re-enact it in real life) and “killing” or “eliminating” people depends on physically pursuing them as well as voting.

Notable elements of the game:

  • Player count: Among Us is be played by 4-15 players in a single game session. The number of impostors is customisable, meaning that players can decide the kind of experience they want from the game.
  • Actions: Players can either be a Crewmate or an Impostor. Crewmates perform tasks around the map while Impostors try to eliminate Crewmates and sabotage the spaceship. Players can also call emergency meetings to discuss suspicious behavior and vote to eject a player they believe is an Impostor.
  • Rounds: The game is divided into rounds, each ending when a player is ejected, a task is completed, or an Impostor is successful in eliminating enough Crewmates. The game continues until either all tasks are completed, all Impostors are ejected, or the Impostors outnumber the Crewmates.
  • Objectives/resources: Players must win either by completing their tasks or by killing all other players. They must form the necessary alliances and vouch for others when needed in order to survive. Impostors must blend in and avoid suspicion while working to eliminate Crewmates. They can hide in vents while lurking as Impostors or try to complete their tasks as Crewmates.
  • Player dynamics: The game relies mostly on social deduction, communication, strategy, and deception.

Was the game fun?:¬†I actually thought Among Us was more fun than games like Mafia since there were more ways of finding impostors, such as seeing them kill another player or knowing they’re Crewmates since you were able to watch them while a death occurred. It definitely made “deliberation” processes more fun. I also liked that we weren’t allowed to talk during the round itself, which made voting more exciting.

Moments of particular success or failure: Network errors kicked us out of the game a few times, which shows the downside of having it online (and playing it on Stanford campus). One upside is that you get to customise your little character which likely has a weird name too, which made them very charming. We also found that the impostors would often win, and that it was too easy when there were two or more of them.

Making this game better: The crappy UI might be an endearing part of the game, but I still think it can be improved to be more aesthetically appealing and easy to follow. The voting procedure could definitely be more intuitive, and I think a player should be able to change their vote before the timer ends, since there is no downside of allowing them to do so and a player might change their minds after some deliberation.

 

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