Among Us has taken off in popularity in 2020 reaching new heights of 390,000 concurrent users on Steam in September 2020. That’s not too bad for a relatively small indie title costing only a few pounds. The game is instantly fun – it’s very easy to pick up & play, very watchable and can cause all kinds of drama.
The game originally launched in 2018, with a very small team behind the game of three developers, and found reasonable success even at the early stages. By August 2019 it was downloaded over 1 million times. By now I am sure you’ve played the game or at least seen it, as over the past few months nearly all of the most popular streamers have been playing the game fairly non-stop. Personally, I discovered it through My Fruit and the Dream Team Crew of Blue Westlo and Rhabby_V. Since then I’ve even convinced my group of friends to start playing, and some of them aren’t even gamers.
Among Us itself maybe a recent development, but the concepts of the game are born from other games like Mafia. It’s a social deception game where a group of players have to discover the traitors in the group.
In Among Us you start out as a group of spaceship engineers. When the game starts most players are identified as Crewmates, and your job is fairly simple – go around the ship and carry out tasks. One or two members of the crew are identified as Imposters (depending on the size of your group) and it’s the Imposter’s job to kill the Crewmates one by one.
As a crewmate you can interact with various jobs like tasking out the trash, running scans and shooting asteroids. All these tasks are fairly simple and easy to pick up. If you spot anything suspect (like a body for example), you can hit a report button which calls a meeting. In the meeting you have to determine who is the imposter and chuck them out.
As the imposter you have the ability to kill crewmates, but you have to make sure you do it out of sight of other crewmates, otherwise they’ll simply report you straight away. Imposter’s can also sabotage systems on the ship, causing alarms to go off all over the place allowing you to bait traps. Imposters can also travel through the vent system allowing for easy getaways, but try not to be seen travelling through a vent otherwise you’re going to be immediately flagged as an imposter.
The real fun of Among Us is when it comes to meetings, where imposters clearly know they are the ones going round killing and there’s a whole lot of satisfaction in pinning the blame onto someone else. On the flip side, there’s nothing more frustrating than the group you’re playing with pinning the imposter label on you… only for you to get chucked out into deep space, leaving your fellow crewmates along with a muderous imposter.
To win the game as a crewmate you have to identify the imposter(s) and throw them off the ship. To win as an imposter you have to eliminate enough of the crewmates to win. The game is available for 4-10 players, but the best games are played with as many people as possible. As an imposter you want enough people to kill, and if you have a small group that can mean very quick games. Plus it’s fun getting together and having a discussion about who is or isn’t the imposter.
Among Us is very cheap (only £3.49 on Steam), plus you can play on iOS and Android too, so there’s a very low barrier to entry for the game. It’ll pretty much run on anything. The fact that it’s easy to pick up and play and widely available has led to a mass adoption and in recent months it’s asbolutely taken off and is now dominating the Twitch and Steam charts.
There’s an element of timing to the game too with it being 2020. Everyone is stuck at home and the game is very social, you can get a bunch of friends together and play a few rounds. It’s easy to pick up for those who don’t normally play games, plus getting together a bunch of friends and playing the blame game always brings laughs. The mini games are supereasy to play and you can pretty much wander round and play relatively mindlessly and get ready for the great debate.
Among Us can be played without ever taking to people, if you want to play against randoms then this maybe the best course of action. However, the game is best played with friends in a shared discord server. When you’re running around the ship you mute and when you get together for a conversation then you unmute and battle it out trying to convince your fellow crewmates it wasn’t you, and infact it’s defintely that other guy or gal over there who’s killing everyone.
The game really started to pick up steam in July when the Twitch community starting taking notice and there was a few hundred people watching groups playing. This was around the same time as Fall Guys had started taking over the internet, which is another easy to pick up and play social game, but with less deception and sneakiness.
By the time we reached the end of August over 100k were watching as big streamers started grouping together and playing rounds with their content creator buddies. In September that growth continued with 10 million downloads at the start of the month, 50 million by the end of the first week and then 100 million by the 3rd week.
Back in August the developers announced they would be following up Among Us with a sequel, however they rolled back on that initial plan this week by saying they would be adding all the planned features into the original Among Us. Rather than spend time on a sequel and ultimately splitting the player base, they are going to spent their time and efforts improving the original game by adding a new level, new friends and groups features as well as new cosmetics.
If you haven’t played it yet, but you’ve heard about the game then I’d recommend diving in and giving it a go. In 2020 especially where the social element is so very important, and it’s become increasingly more tricky to keep up with friends, there’s nothing more fun than getting together and trying out Among Us.
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
Release date: June 15th 2018