Critical Play 1

Name of game, creator, platform

Among Us, Marcus Bromander, online (desktop / mobile)

Target audience

I feel like Among Us is really for anyone. It blew up in the pandemic, and I remember everyone from my 10 year old cousin to my parents were trying to play it. It’s pretty easy to learn for all ages and abilities, so beyond general ability to utilize desktop / mobile apps, it’s fun for everyone, even hard core gamers. It is best to play with people that are of your same ability, so the strategies you embark on are on the same level as others. For instance, gamers playing with my parents may get annoyed, even though separately the game is really enjoyable for both groups.

Notable elements of the game

There can be between 4 and 15 players. Up to 3 are randomly chosen as imposters. Non-imposters (crewmates) are assigned to do “tasks” on the ship. Imposters try and kill everyone. After the imposter kills a player, they have to wait a “cool down” period (usually 10 seconds) before they are allow to kill again. All players are able to do tasks, even one’s they are not assigned. Imposters can pretend to do tasks to make it seem as if they are regular players in the game. There are vents that players can go through — this often acts as an escape path for imposters to take after they kill someone, so they are not associated with the kill or suspected to be the imposter. There are also cameras that players can look at. If the imposter is in view of the camera and kills someone, then if someone is watching on the cameras, they would see that and can tell others during the discussion period between rounds. The cameras flash red when someone is watching, however, so imposters usually know not to kill if they are in view of an active camera. Players can “report” a dead body, at which point the players go into discussion and vote one member off the ship. Before each round, all players know how many imposters are left. Imposters win by either killing everyone, or waiting until enough are ejected so that the imposters are in the voting majority. Crewmates win by completing all of their tasks, or by voting off all of the imposters. “Ghosts” or dead crewmates can still complete tasks.

Compare the game to other games in its genre

This game is similar to Mafia in that there are someone unknown players who have an alternate objective of killing everyone else. The biggest difference is that evidence in Mafia always seems to be brought out of thin air: “You’re quiet over there” “The way you’re sitting is suspicious” where as in Among Us there is potential for the evidence to be more concrete: if you were seen standing next to a dead body and didn’t report it, then that highly suggests you are the imposter. Overall, the main difference is that in Among Us, there is greater opportunity for strategy. In Mafia, it is less defined. Thus, Among Us is better in this sense.

Was the game fun? Why or why not?

Among Us was a lot of fun to play. There are so many things to do in each of the roles. As a crewmate, you can do your tasks or try and catch the imposter (look for dead bodies, observe others’ behavior, watch the cameras). As an imposter, you can try and kill as many people as possible, pretend to do tasks to build the trust of others on the ship, or try and capture crewmates to kill them near escape routes (vents). Even as a ghost there are things to do: you can follow the imposter around to try and understand their strategy, watch the discussion as they lie through their teeth, and complete your tasks to help the remaining crewmates win the game.

Moments of particular success or epic fails

Because people are allowed to leave the game at any time, it makes it extremely hard for the crewmates to complete all of the tasks. While I personally think it is enjoyable to be a ghost, most players just immediately left the game after they were killed. This means that they found no point to being a ghost, didn’t realize that they could still contribute to completing tasks, and/or didn’t feel a sense of allegiance to the crewmate team. Thus, at the end of each round, it became exponentially harder for the crewmates to win the game because the people that were killed were immediately useless to the team. For me, this was an epic fail. Epic successes were cool strategies I did as the imposter, and observed as a ghost. The best was when I killed a crewmate next to a vent but sort of in a hidden area, so not only did I get away, but many crewmates walked by the dead body before it was reported.

Things I would change to make the game better

It is near to impossible for the crewmates to win by completing all of the tasks — the main way for them to win is by voting off the imposters. I would make the tasks list slightly easier to complete, just so this seems like a viable outcome. My friends who play this game regularly have never won the game as a crewmate by completing all of the tasks. In line with the previous paragraph, I would not allow people to leave the game until it is completed, to increase the likelihood of this possible outcome (since ghosts can still complete tasks).

About the author

Leave a Reply

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