Indietail – Among Us

A while ago, I watched John Carpenter’s “The Thing” with a few people on Discord and enjoyed it quite a lot. The actors are doing an incredible job at conveying this feeling of anxiety and distrust they have… I mean, there is a thing that is possessing bodies, acting like them, and killing people there… But then I noticed that it’s really similar to a game I wanted to review: Among Us. Obviously, the similarities are there as Among Us even features a map inspired by the movie, Polis!

Alas, today we’re taking a look at Among Us by Innersloth, the popular party game of teamwork and betrayal.

Developer: Innersloth
Publisher: Innersloth
Genre: Space, Trustlike, Social Deduction, Social Deception, Multiplayer
Release Date: November 16th, 2018
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, iOs, Android
Copy was purchased.

Among Us’ premise is simple. There are four to ten people on one of the three maps with one to two Imposters among them (roll credits!). The crewmates’ job is to finish the tasks to ensure victory. Meanwhile, the Imposters have to try and deceive everyone into thinking that they’re crewmates while also killing off people. To do so, they can kill people, vent into places, lock doors, and sabotage.

“Oh, hi, Skully!”

The main portion of the game, however, is social deception. Just like with other social deception games or trust-likes, as someone called them, you try to gaslight, manipulate, and deceive people. You want people to trust you so that you don’t get voted out. When a body is found, people will report it. The people near the body or whoever’s not accounted for is obviously the Imposter. Once a meeting is called on emergencies or when a body was found, everyone has time to discuss the matter, clarify where everyone was, deceive, or do whatever to prove that you’re innocent. Just like in other games, the crewmates then decide to vote someone out while hoping that that person is indeed the Imposter.

Unless you play with the proximity chat mod, you’re not allowed to speak during the actual rounds. When you die, you stay quiet. Meanwhile, you can only talk during the meetings. The Proximity Chat Mod allows you to talk to nearby people, which can be quite fun. There are also other additions to the game that can help you discover a playstyle you and your friends like.

All of this may sound complicated but you get the hang of it once you play a round or two. Be it at small gatherings, with friends or online with random people, you’ll be able to play it without much trouble.

Close enough to not be sus.

The more complicated bits are tactics like marinating* people (*marinating means that you’re “sticking around to give them a sense of comfort and trust when near you”) or the faking of tasks. While it is fun for the first few times that you play the game, it can be also rather taxing as you lie and deceive your friends only to backstab them in the end. At times you trick people into believing you while you gaslight others and accuse them, falsely, of being the Imposter even though you did it.

So, do I like a game like that? Not really. I don’t feel too good about it, so I can’t really play too many rounds at a time and I get tired of it quite fast and leave early most of the time. For a game that is available for free on the mobile versions (both Android and iOs), you can get a lot of entertainment out of it. The low cost of four bucks on Steam also helps with having access to it and inviting friends to play it with you. I easily got thirty hours of entertainment out of it, which is absolutely worth it, although that was partly due to alternate rulesets as well.

In Among Us, you’re able to customize the game’s rules to fit your needs as well. Want to make the game more challenging? Turn off confirmed ejects and visible tasks. Want to make the games shorter? Lower the tasks and the kill cooldown. Want to play Hide n Seek? Change the Vision settings for crewmates and imposters to fit that playstyle. In the end, it allows you to have a pleasant experience no matter who you are, as long as you have the right people.

Just the routine check up in the medbay I guess.

The online portion of the game sucks, however. Lobbies are either toxic with people having “bad words” in their names and these randoms just randomly voting you out. The absence of voice chat makes it hard for you to defend yourself, especially since the majority of these random peoples in public lobbies seem to be unable to write full sentences if at all. It’s hard to have fun in public lobbies, in my opinion, frankly because the game got so popular that a lot of kids ended up getting into it. Alas, I’d recommend private games.

Even with private lobbies, however, the game’s popularity is harming the game more than it helps. I’m sure the developers are aware of this but at times it can be rather hard to get into games, even when they’re private, as there are times when the server is just full with too many people logging into the game.

Apart from that, I would love it if you were able to change the number of Imposters as well as the map in the lobby-settings. If you want to change the map, you’ll have to quit and enter a new lobby. If you take too long to decide, everyone gets kicked. With a lot of settings being in the lobby, I don’t get why the map, the number of crewmates and the number of Imposters are only accessible in the pre-lobby-settings.

But at the end of the day, I end up excusing those small issues as it is a rather cheap game that can be played with people anywhere and everywhere.

Purple just claimed that white killed someone in this public lobby I joined. Everyone voted white. White wasn’t it. I called an emergency and voted purple. We won. I got banned from that lobby because I’m making sense. Fun.

Lately, I’ve enjoyed the Hide n Seek ruleset where Imposters see nothing while Crewmates see everything. At the beginning of the round, the Imposter announces that they’re “it” and they’ll count down to zero. The Imposter has to “find” people (aka kill them) while the Crewmates try to avoid the Imposter at all cost while finishing their tasks. Another ruleset that I really liked is “Chaos” where you’re allowed to talk whenever and where you can’t talk at all during the meetings. Vote time is decreased to 15 seconds with no discussion time. You have to vote people or else you’ll get voted off next. Once the meeting is over, everyone tries to finish their tasks while keeping quiet about previous rounds. As the name suggests, that’s really chaotic, especially as anyone that reports the body sounds suspicious when they can’t defend themselves.

In the end, it’s a fun game with an adorable art style, gruesome kill animations, an okay soundtrack but a lot of value for the little money you spent, if at all. Due to crossplay, you can enjoy the game with your friends on Steam, iOs, and Android without any issues, allowing a lot of people to join in. In the same manner, you can try and alter all of the rules, resulting in a pleasant experience that can be customised to fit your needs. Hence, the recommendation.

Although, I’d say that you should leave the game be a game. If you end up taking the gaslighting and everything into the Real Life, you may end up destroying friendships. Oh well,…

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Thoughts on the Game of the Year Award

So, yesterday, Belghast actually published a post on his games of the year 2020. His list featured a variety of games that I have either been eyeing or that I’ve watched or even played. I definitely recommend his post!

But this lead to me thinking… what is a “game of the year” anyway and why does it have to be just one and no more than one title?

In my opinion, the title of “game of the year” should go to a game that really coined a year. A game that you couldn’t escape from no matter where you went… a game is omnipresent on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and on all other streaming platforms, media outlets and websites. I feel like a game like that is probably hard to make. A game that doesn’t get outshined by other games despite being released before any other games. I feel like that would be a game of the year.

The Game Awards nominated six games for the title: Doom Eternal, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, Hades, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and The Last Of Us Part II. In the end, I had to google who won and apparently Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us Part 2” is now the game of the year 2020 which actually surprised me.

The surprise mostly came because I didn’t really realise that it came out this year. At the same time, the hype wasn’t that big around it, if I remember correctly, and it wasn’t as present on Twitch as Ghost of Tsushima, for instance. On top of that, I also heard a lot of bad things about TLOU2 and the one instance of me watching a stream of that game… was not good. I’ll post on that eventually as well but uh spoilers and stuff.

Anyways, that resulted in me checking up on how nominees are selected in the first place and what kind of authority the game awards are to be able to just decide what game deserves that title… and well, apparently, that’s a stupid question. I mean, The Game Awards apparently are kind of a big deal and I just wasn’t aware of that, really. There is an “international jury of over 95 global media and influencer outlets, selected for their history of critical evaluation of video games” in place that decides nominees based on a lot of factors, also including categories like esports and accessibility. The producer of the Game Awards, Geoff Keighley, himself is not a member of the jury and doesn’t vote on winners or nominees. As far as the nominations go, the jury I mentioned above votes via ballots and votes on their top five titles. Based on those votes, five titles are nominated each year. In case of a tie, there will be six nominees, just like this year! 

Alas, it makes sense that there are titles by big studios like Nintendo and Square Enix while also smaller studios like Supergiant Games represented in the top six, this year. Hades probably would have been my vote as I didn’t play any of the other games (although, I did buy Doom Eternal and will play that soon). I’m not too fond of remakes, especially after what they did with Destroy All Humans earlier in 2020… and I don’t own a Switch so I won’t be able to play ACNH anytime soon. I don’t own any consoles, making it hard for me to play Ghost of Tsushima or TLOU2. In the end, I only played Hades (as far as the nominees go) and would probably have nominated Lightmatter, Drake Hollow, Risk of Rain 2, and some other titles.

Obviously, “The Game Of The Year” is not a game that coined the year… but I just feel like the title kind of implies that. It kind of implies that it’s THE game of THAT year. When you’d talk about 2020 in gaming you wouldn’t be able to talk for two minutes before bumping into that game… It is the game of the year after all… So maybe I’m a bit hung up on that name or the title or my definition but it doesn’t seem like it actually means what it, in my opinion, entails or implies.

When I think of titles that coined the year, I’d probably think of Fall Guys or Among Us. I literally couldn’t escape Among Us for the longest time, so I played it as well, got burned out, and eventually, it came back to me when friends from my old high school chatted me up and wanted to play it with me. Even Ms Magi who doesn’t really play any games was aware of Among Us and did install it on her phone at one point, resulting in us having conversations about it… although she wasn’t too captivated by it.

Anyways, Among Us probably wouldn’t be eligible for nomination since it came out two years ago… or it didn’t get nominated. 

But there’re also other categories and Among Us ended up being the “Best Mobile Game” and Fall Guys, for instance, also scored in quite a lot of categories. Hades won Best Indie and Best Action, which was lovely to see. It was great to see Carrion, If Found, Spiritfarer, Through the Darkest of Times, and some other indie games also seeing love. 

In the end, I don’t really think highly of game awards like that but I love seeing that Indie Games stand close to other games in categories like “Best Action” or whatever. I love seeing a lot of games that I’ve watched or played be nominated for big awards like that but I don’t really care about the winner, to be honest, unless it’s a game I’ve never heard of – in which case, I’d google and potentially wishlist it. So, while I enjoy seeing the nominees, I don’t like the actual award being handed to a title, as I most likely would wrap my hands around my head and wonder why that specific title got that specific award. 

This sounds like I’m constantly whining about why my favourite game didn’t win or whatever but in reality, it’s just me complaining that “of course The Last Of Us Part 2 got the GOTY award” for a minute or two before sipping my coffee and moving on. It doesn’t really matter much… I mean, there’s going to be a GOTY edition of this game that I probably won’t play. Again, more on that soon. But in the end, it doesn’t affect me. I don’t have these annoying friends anymore that would just try and annoy me by saying that they were right and that I was wrong or whatever. Honestly, I don’t care really. I just moan about it once and forget about it two minutes later as I browse who else got nominated for the indie titles that actually interest me. 

Congrats to the winners. Congrats on the nominees.
Happy New Year to everyone else!

Cheers.

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.