When the Imposter (sic) is Sus. Amogus. Sussy Baka. I vented. Red sus. He Got The Drip.
If this random assortment of seemingly nonsensical phrases means something to you, you’ve probably heard of Among Us. As such, you probably know if the game is for you or not. However, if I may as well have been speaking Klingon in the first part of this paragraph, you’ve come to the right place.
For the few of you blissfully unaware about Among Us, or the bizarrely endearing subculture that has grown surrounding it, here’s the gist of it. Among Us is a social deduction game (think Werewolf or Mafia, the schoolyard game, not the 2K one) where an alien impostor (or multiple) hides among a group of astronauts. The group of astronauts are tasked with solving issues across the ship such as cleaning the vents, taking out the trash and charting a course for earth. These tasks take the form of mini-games that range from a clone of the classic arcade title of Asteroids, to a frustratingly relatable experience of swiping a card in a stubborn reader.
The job of the impostor is to pick off the astronauts one by one until none remain. They can sabotage various areas of the ship, kill crewmates and escape into the vents. In some modes, they can even shapeshift and disguise themselves as another member of the crew, leading to some humorous situations. Along the way, as the bodies pile up and players become suspicious, meetings can be called to determine who gets voted off the ship (or volcano or airship) and launched to their demise.
The game itself is endearingly simple, with an art-design evocative of old flash games you’d find on Newgrounds. It’s available on almost any device now and is both incredibly affordable, debuting on Xbox via Game Pass. If you have any inclination to play it, you should. However, this recommendation comes with a caveat. I would advise against playing on console.
Yes, after a year and a half of hype, Among Us is finally on home consoles (barring the Switch, which is a special case that I’ll explain later). But what works on a keyboard and mouse, or on a touch screen, doesn’t always translate to a pleasant experience on a controller.
Take, for example, a task wherein you are supposed to match wires from one side of the screen to the other. It’s a simple puzzle, one that can be solved in a manner of seconds on a touch screen or keyboard and mouse, but one that can take agonizingly long on a controller. Another task, involving resetting a router, which is a fun game of Simon on the other systems, is incredibly difficult to pull off on the controller due to the sensitivity of the sticks. Playing Among Us this way is all around counter-intuitive.
However, it gets worse. Due to the delay in these timings, you put yourself in a vulnerable position to be offed by impostors who may be cross playing with different devices. And, in the event you do survive but are found suspicious, typing on a controller is a difficult matter, meaning defending yourself is a real difficulty. This can lead to you being voted out before you can even plead your case.
Looking for voice chat? Look elsewhere. The only way to use voices in the game is through party chat, so if you’re playing with randoms, just forget about it.
Thankfully, on the Xbox version at least, you can play with a keyboard and mouse, especially if you have the Razer Turret to hand. From this perspective, the game is perfectly enjoyable, but it begs a question of why you should even bother. Among Us is a game that is so simplistic and accessible in its design, it can run on almost any phone or PC. If you have Game Pass PC, even better, you’re in the clear right there. Heck, if you want a console version, at least the Switch version has the touchscreen.
All of this just leads to the question of why? What does Among Us have on console that it lacks on other platforms. The answer is rumble. If you really want to play Among Us with rumble, hey, this is for you.
All of this leads me to my score, which frankly is difficult to place. By all objective measures, Among Us is a great game. It has kept people connected over the pandemic. It’s a hoot with friends and randoms. I have played a ton of matches for a reason. But Among Us on console, while still the same great core game, is nowhere near as enjoyable when played with a controller. There are so many better ways to play this game, and I absolutely do recommend you play it, but unless you have a keyboard and mouse connected up to your Xbox, I’d look to be playing it on a different device.
You can pick up Among Us on Xbox by visiting the Xbox Store