Review

Among Us Review – Better Late Than Never

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Among Us was released over two years ago, but the jellybean / astronaut online game is currently experiencing a massive surge in popularity which started in early September. The world may have started their 40s playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a healthy game about friendship and caring for our islands, but after many months of pandemic we are hungry for the space vacuum. filled with chaos and deception. That’s what matters to us. Developed by InnerSloth, the basis of Among Us is simple: a social deduction game where a player is either a teammate or a lone impostor. The impostor must pretend to do the daily tasks assigned in the game while stealth killing each crew member one by one. If a body is discovered, a crew member can call an emergency meeting to have a group chat trying to determine who the impostor really is. The main level (of three) is aboard a spaceship where players see rooms in sections where daily tasks take place. Using basic vertical and horizontal movements, the impostor and his teammates move from room to room to achieve their respective goals without giving any other player a reason to vote them. Every emergency meeting discusses who’s suspect and who isn’t, and the player with the most votes against them actually gets the start. Players who are killed then become “ghosts” to see how the rest of the game unfolds. This is where the game gets hilarious. Imagine this: this is my first time playing with us, and I am the impostor. I don’t know the tasks or where they are; I’m just a goofy 2D astronaut looking for stealthy ways to try and eat my teammates. I am confused, but I use this to my advantage. A crew member suspects me, “purple,” and throws down the most offensive accusation ever in the game: “Purple is sus” (a popular slang version of “suspect” which is the root of all memes among us). I panic, but then try to see myself through their eyes. “I’m sorry, I was just following you,” I replied. “It’s my first time playing, I’m not really sure what I’m doing.” My response is coming as I need it, the rest of the players now feel the need to teach me instead of suspecting me. They don’t know it’s the last thing they’ll ever do – at least until this game is over. It’s the level of intrigue that makes Among Us so fun despite the basic visuals. Another charm is that it also has some meme quality features, as shown by its comedic art style and low budget animations. The friends turn on each other, the bonds are broken and the conversation is absolutely comical. Among us, the meme culture reaches its highest peak with parody costumes, my favorite being the sticky note on your face that has “dum” written on it. That or the toilet paper. Costumes add a personal touch to the gameplay in addition to several color options, skins and even pets. Does this add statistical value? No, but it adds a personalization that allows players to fully immerse themselves in a way that stays in tune with the ‘don’t take this too seriously’ feeling that Among Us offers. What makes this game such success for me is that many online games today are set up in such a way that you have to play with friends, otherwise the value of the entertainment can drop dramatically. One aspect of online gaming that turns me off when I want to play solo is the harsh level of trolling which can turn hateful and malicious in the blink of an eye. While it’s easy to just turn the other cheek, sometimes I don’t want to have to do that, I just want to enjoy the game. The entire nature of Among Us is essentially a giant troll, so the usual suspects of the online gaming community is really losing its power here; you’re encouraged to troll, which makes them a ingrained mechanic, suppressing the sense of satisfaction from people acting in bad faith. Another refreshing aspect that is worth a look is the minimum time it takes. Some online games are designed to let you play for months. I often joke that Destiny 2 and Apex Legends are second marriages due to the grind of the first and the desire to be the best in the second. With Among Us, you can play as much or as little as you want while having fun. When I want to stream for a few hours, that’s fine for me because of the type of interactive content it produces, but I can also grab the free mobile version and play for 10 or 15 minutes during my lunch break. There is no player level, there is no Battle Pass; there is no penalty for playing as little or as much as I want, which makes it easier to come back over and over again. As much as I love to play with us, I just as much enjoy watching him. Its simplicity makes it easy for streamers to start, and conversations about who is known are great entertainment for active live chats. Diving into Among Us, I see the charm despite its simplicity, and I can’t help but love the way this game makes me look at everyone like they’re super known. Among us is what he is, and without any excuse. This year may be bad, but having fun experiences certainly isn’t; Among Us offers a much needed respite from reality without taking ourselves too seriously.

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