Among Us: How to play everyone's game obsession online (and use the new free Airship Map)
Looking for a game to play remotely with family and friends? Among Us is free, easy to learn and available on your phone.
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COVID-19 vaccines may be rolling out nationwide, but if you're still looking for a fun way to connect remotely with family and friends, look no further than Among Us, a massively popular free multiplayer mobile game that encourages you to deceive your companions to win.
If you've spent any time on
or around a person under age 30, you've probably become familiar with memes involving colorful Teletubby-like figures clad in spacesuits. These are the players of Among Us, which skyrocketed in popularity over the past few months.
What exactly is this game? Why did it become so popular this past year? What does US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (perhaps better known as AOC) have to do with all of this?
We've got everything you need to know about Among Us right here to get you ready for some remote gaming.
What is Among Us, and how do you play?
Among Us is an online multiplayer social deduction game from developer InnerSloth, similar to Mafia or Werewolf. You can play with four to 10 people -- either people you know, or online with strangers.
In the game, you play as a crew member aboard a spaceship, airship, sky headquarters or planet base, attempting to keep your ship together and return back to Earth. But one crew member has been replaced by a parasitic shape-shifting alien who wants to eliminate the rest of the crew before the ship reaches home. Problem is, the imposter looks just like everyone else, and will sabotage the ship, sneak through vents, deceive fellow players and try to frame others, all in an attempt to remain undetected and kill off the rest of the crew. (If you have more players, you can choose to have more than one imposter, too. Here's a guide to be the best imposter you can be.)
Meanwhile, the non-alien crew members must perform tasks to fix up the ship, and can't talk unless a death is reported. Then, the surviving crew can openly debate through chat who they think the imposter is, and make their best guess for who to vote off the ship. If the imposter is voted off, the crew wins. But if the group accidentally votes off a crew member, everyone goes back to maintaining the ship until another body is found, and they vote again.
Why did Among Us get so popular all of a sudden?
Among Us was released in June 2018, but shot to the top of Steam and app download lists last year, reaching half a billion active monthly users by November. Why the sudden boost in popularity?
The answer seems to be
streamers, as popular personalities on the online game streaming platform like Sodapoppin, Pewdiepie, Shroud and Ninja have all played. On Twitch, Among Us has 9.3 million followers -- in comparison, Fortnite has 4.2 million.
Tons of Among Us memes have also popped up on Twitter and Reddit, spreading the word about the game further. It's also possible that many people had already exhausted other distance-friendly online games with friends during coronavirus quarantines, and this was something new and easy to play from afar. Plus, the game supports cross-platform play on PC and mobile in both local and online multiplayer games, making it easier for people to play together no matter what device they're on. Many players also use the platform Discord to chat with friends in real time as they play.
Be warned, the free mobile version does have ads. Once you download and open the game on your device, you'll see a pop-up detailing its use of AdMob and data collection. If you want to turn off ads and data collection, you can purchase the ad-free version of the app for $2 by tapping Remove Ads, and following the prompts to select your payment method.
There is one way around the ads for some players: If the Among Us host pays the $2 for the ad-free version, the game will be ad-free for the entire party, even if the others didn't pay for it.
You will find microtransactions in the game as well, on both the mobile and PC versions, with the option to purchase pets, skins and hats. Some are free, but paid or not, none of these items affect gameplay.
Watch this: PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: the ultimate comparison
How many people can play Among Us together?
You can play Among Us with a party of four to 10 people.
How do I play with the new Airship Map?
On March 31, developer InnerSloth released a brand-new Among Us map called the Airship Map, giving players a new free stage to play on, with more than a dozen rooms, new tasks, ladders and the chance to choose the room you start in. The spaceship map called The Skeld is the other free option that most players are familiar with. When you open the app and start a new game, you should be able to select the Airship from the options at some point starting today.
Where is the Among Us sequel?
While InnerSloth had planned Among Us 2, in September, the studio decided to cancel it and instead focus on expanding the content offered in Among Us. The developers said the decision was made due to the recent spike in popularity for the game, according to a blog post.
"All of the content we had planned for Among Us 2 will instead go into Among Us 1," the post said. "This is probably the more difficult choice because it means going deep into the core code of the game and reworking several parts of it. We have lots of things planned and we're excited to bring new content to everyone as you continue to enjoy playing."
New content planned includes new servers, colorblind support, a friends/account system and a new stage, but there is no ETA for when these changes may arrive. At CES 2021 in January, the Among Us creators teased more surprises on the way this year.