Among Us caught us all by surprise. It’s currently hovering around third place on the Steam charts right behind CS:GO and Dota 2, with hundreds of thousands of players online at any given moment. Heck, it’s even a few notches above Rainbow Six, PUBG, Team Fortress 2, and the new kid on the block, Fall Guys.
What makes this peculiar is the fact that Among Us has actually been around since 2018 — and you probably never heard about it when it was released. It wasn’t a Fall Guys that launched into existence aboard a nuclear rocket of hype. It was a game that sat on the Steam shelves for almost two years before it suddenly went from respectable party game to unbelievable smash hit to the single most streamed game on Twitch, often hovering at around 180,000 viewers — over triple that of Fortnite or Modern Warfare.
The #AmongUs servers are currently at maximum capacity! It's gotten to the point where we simply can't just add more. A fix is in progress, but we don't have an ETA yet. Please bear with us as we grow through these insanely large waves of new players!
— InnerSloth (@InnerslothDevs) September 1, 2020
But… why? To answer that question, we must first answer:
What is Among Us?
Among Us is a social deception game that puts four to ten players aboard a spaceship doing their best to initiate takeoff by completing ordinary tasks throughout the ship. Complete enough tasks, and the ship is ready to go, and boom: you win. This would be simple enough if it weren’t for one, small wrinkle: a murderous alien shapeshifter.
One (or more) member(s) of the crew is randomly selected to serve as the Imposter, an unrepenting homicidal being whose goal is to fit in, pretending to be just another helping hand while carefully assassinating each member of the crew when no one else is looking. The Crew wins by achieving takeoff or by discovering and preemptively murdering the Imposter first. The Imposter wins when everybody is nothing more than a colorful heap of fabric, blood, and bone.
Does Among Us Have Crossplay?
Yes indeed! Among Us supports unrestricted Crossplay between PC, iOS, and Android, and general matchmaking draws from all three player pools, so in any game of Among Us you can expect to be playing with a mix of PC and Mobile players.
You can create your own private rooms for specific friends, should you have any of those, or simply queue up into auto-matchmaking which takes almost no time considering the game is absolutely stuffed to the gills with active players now (to the point that InnerSloth’s servers have been taking a beating
Why is Among Us Popular Now?
Among Us’ sudden and seemingly inexplicable success comes from one simple feature of the game: it’s great TV. The fact that you, the viewer, sometimes know (or don’t!) exactly who the killer is makes all of the Imposter’s attempts to shift blame to others, the resultant drama, the arguments, the actual gameplay becomes must-see content. It shifts from Thriller to Mystery and it’s addictive — and almost as fun as playing the game yourself. Maybe even more so, depending on who’s playing.
Our Innersloth discord server went from 100k to 500k member cap in less than 2 weeks!! We know a lot of you are trying to get in, so we have started actively pruning. We will be applying for a member cap increase in the coming weeks, need to make sure we're ready for more people!
— InnerSloth (@InnerslothDevs) September 11, 2020
Once YouTubers and streamers like Mr. Beast, Shroud, and xQcOW started pushing the game, the resultant surge in interest only snowballed. People loved it, so more content was made, so more people got hooked and then even more content was made. It reached a tipping point where suddenly everyone was playing Among Us, so anyone who wasn’t needed to get in now.
This surge in interest, coupled with unrestricted crossplay and, more importantly, the free mobile ports made access to the game seamless so suddenly everybody alive had no good reason not to try it, and once you play Among Us… it sticks with you.
Should You Get the PC or Mobile Version?
The game’s mobile port doesn’t provide exactly the same experience as the PC version — but it is free, so some players will no doubt wonder if it’s worth shelling out the 5 bucks for the PC version when you can get in on the fun for free on iOS and Android. And the answer is that, well, it’s merely a matter of preference.
The key difference is the control setup. The Mobile version uses an on-screen joystick that some may find unwieldy or somewhat floaty in comparison to the WASD, and the precision of a mouse certainly comes in handy during high-stakes moments.
Our opinion is that the game is worth five bucks — more, even, considering the number of hours of fun the game can give you. The price of a cup of coffee (less, depending on where you go), when weighed against the intense exhilaration that comes with sneaking through airducts to go murder yet another crewmember or successfully having someone else take the blame for your crimes and seeing them ejected is some of the best fun on multiplayer right now, and will give your money’s worth many times over.
But, if you’re just a casual gamer, and don’t really care if you win or lose (considering the magic of Among Us is the gameplay, not the outcome), maybe stick with mobile. Or download it on your iPad and see if you like it enough to spend 5 bucks. Or do none of that and just sit back with a bowl of popcorn and watch the chaos unfold over Twitch at a distance.
Whichever way you slice it, Among Us is phenomenal entertainment.