Sam Evangelista, age 13, is a junior reporter for Macaroni Kid Lowell, Massachusetts and has been playing "Among Us" for a few months with his friends. If your kids aren't talking about this game yet, they will be soon! Here is Sam's overview of the game:
Among Us is a murder mystery game, somewhat like an escape room. You and a group of other people ("crewmates") are either on a spaceship or a planet, depending on the selected map. To start the game, you're placed in a room with three to nine other people.
One to three of the players are designated as "imposters" and their goal is to sabotage the spaceship and kill off the crewmates one by one. You don't know if you'll be an imposter or a crewmate until the game begins, and the other players won't be able to see what your designation is.
How to Play
During gameplay, crewmates must complete various tasks to maintain the spaceship, such as solving mazes, typing codes, pushing buttons, fixing wires, and dealing with other puzzles and problems.
You also have to figure out which players are the imposters, while being careful to avoid being caught by one!
None of the tasks are that hard or complicated; after a few games you will learn them all and be able to do them in a matter of seconds. When you're done with your tasks, the investigation starts and you work on figuring out who the imposters are. You do this by checking cameras and the vital signs of your crewmates. You also follow people to figure out who is acting suspiciously.
If you find a body (oops — the imposter got someone!), you report it to your crewmates and start an emergency meeting. During the meeting, you use the game's chat feature to talk to your fellow crewmates and share the evidence you've gathered. Based on everyone's findings and alibis (or lies), you decide whether to vote someone off the ship or to skip the vote, if there isn't enough evidence.
For example, if you find a body with a crewmate standing nearby, then you could try to convince your fellow crewmates to get rid of that crewmate because he might be the imposter. That crewmate will defend his innocence and it will lead to a vote where everyone decides who to vote off and who to believe.
Meanwhile, if you're the imposter you have to be smart and sneaky and quick to make sure people don’t suspect you. You have to work with your fellow imposter or by yourself to sabotage the spaceship and kill off crewmates. You can go into vents to escape or traverse the map quicker, and you can shut off the lights and close pathways off. You have to be very quick-thinking so that people believe you during emergency meetings.
There are two ways for crewmates to win: Completing all of your tasks or voting out all the imposters. There is only one way for imposters to win: You have to get rid of the crewmates by either "killing" them off or voting them out.
Play with Friends or Strangers
You can play Among Us in a private room with just your friends. My friends and I have a server on Discord, which is a chat app. When I have time to play, I log into the Discord server and check if anyone's available to play. Then we all head to a private room using a unique code for that room.
If none of your online friends are available, you can join a public room with people whom you don't know. Sometimes those players can be rude or use bad language during the emergency meetings.
There is a way to censor chat and many different setting options that can help make the game more suitable for younger ages. There is also a way to change the language you're using, as well as audio settings to lower or raise volume, and there will be a colorblind option coming soon.
To learn the game, there's a handy tutorial in the Main Menu. You can check the statistics of how well you've been doing during your games and buy things (with real money) like hats or pets (those extras have no effect on the game).
There are a few different play modes in Among Us.
There is a Local mode, which allows you to play with people near you. There are also a few different Online modes: one allows you to join a public room with random people, and another enables you to create your own server that only your friends can join.
There is also an Online mode that allows you to play by yourself, which is really just so you can practice completing tasks. Experienced players can also change the settings of the game. For instance, you can change how many tasks there are or how fast you are.
You can personalize the game by setting your username and what your character looks like, and you can also change what part of the world you want to connect to.
There are three maps, each with different layouts and features unique to it. The first one, The Skeld, is a large map of a spaceship. The second one, Mira HQ, is a slightly smaller ship with a different layout. The last one is Polus. It’s the smallest, located on a planet with a volcano and buildings.
Among Us is less of an action game and more of a mystery and thinking game with a little bit of action. I would say kids 10 and up should be fine to play.
Kids under 10 should probably play with a parent because it might be confusing or frustrating. I have found that people get frustrated by the emergency meetings, either because someone calls one when it's not needed or because others don't believe you.
There is pretend violence, since crewmates are being murdered in a few rather gruesome ways, but the images are not graphic at all. All the characters look like little colorful blobs with stubby legs.
Among Us is a great game that is growing extremely quickly. InnerSloth, the game developers, are updating it often with new features. It's available on Steam for Windows PCs for $4.99 plus tax, with some add-ons for $2.99 each, or free for devices in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. You can follow InnerSloth on Twitter or Facebook to learn about updates, or join their Discord server.
Thanks to Sam for sharing his review and experience with playing Among Us!