CHENNAI: Among Us is a game that was released two years ago. It is making an appearance in this column only this week because it inexplicably became famous recently. The game finds its roots in a simple game — theoretical framework, with some added effects for the giggles. We play as a human, placed with other humans on a spaceship. Everyone has chores to do — spaceship upkeep tasks. Like data upload and download and oxygen cleaning and rewiring circuits. Simple button-pressing tasks. You navigate through the maze of rooms in the spaceship to keep the inter-galactic mobile running.
But suddenly, you get an alert that someone has died. There is an imposter (Alien?) among the crewmates that you considered friends. The imposter is moving stealthily through vents in the ship, pretending to do tasks, only to shadow you and take you down. Someone in the crew presses a button and calls for an emergency meeting. An unstructured debate ensues. Words and accusations are thrown around. The chatbox is flooded with arguments to help everyone reach consensus and vote out the mystery murderer. Volumes are high on the audio channel. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None plot’s ghost hovers in the oxygenated chambers of the spaceship. The pre-quarantine party games Mafia and Werewolf hold nothing to the stakes of Among Us. At least it feels that way now. You vote your friend out, with the vaguest suspicion that they were framed. They are thrown most ungraciously into the vacuum of space. Everyone cheers, but wait. The imposter is still...among us?
Among Us is a game you should play if you always thought that PUBG was intellectually beneath you. It’s not that the game requires more thinking than PUBG, but it provides that illusion. It also helps that the game is free. If you get bored of playing with online strangers, it will not take much effort to convince your friends to get it on their phones. Warning — the phone controls are quite unwieldy. However, the game generously allows for cross-play if you would prefer the paid PC edition. There is a simple explanation for why games like Among Us (and recently, Fall Guys) rose in popularity. Both are co-op games that require minimal investment to skill up. Also, popular Youtube streamers caught it in their radar — and even viewing these games is entertaining by itself. I rate this game 9/10, after voting out the imposter one from the group.
(This economics graduate spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)