Updated: Mar 8, 2021
If your kids are one of the 200+ million players worldwide who are loving Among Us, then here's what you need to know:
free to download for mobile devices (Apple & Android)
available on PC for $7.50 via Steam
no account login required, just choose a username (which can also be changed on a whim)
multiplayer, each game has between 4-10 players
So what is the game all about?
Each game you are designated as a crewmate or the imposter. The imposter has to try and kill all of the other crewmates without being caught. The crewmates have to try and uncover who the imposter is. There is lots of elements from the time honoured board game, Cluedo. It's a game of strategy and can be enjoyed by young and old alike without having to take a long time to become skilled (as opposed to Fortnite etc!).
Is it violent & what's the age rating?
There is killing involved but the animation is super cartoonish and the characters are like little Pacman creatures so not in any way realistic. Like any level of violence, you need to make the decision based on your own child's maturity. Common Sense Media reviewed the game and rated it 10+, Apple App Store list it as 9+ and the UK Video Ratings Board list it as 7+.
Freeplay is the only single player mode and is really like a practice range. It's a good place to explore for new players or fine tune skills. You do not encounter chat or other players in Freeplay.
Local allows you to play with any other players using your same WiFi network. This is ideal for a gathering of friends at someone's house or a family game whilst under the same roof.
Online is the most popular and common option. This is where it pays to be aware of the different types of Online gameplay. Read on for more info...
3 OPTIONS IN ONLINE GAMEPLAY:
Host- allows you to create your own game and set the preferences (# of players, # of imposters etc.). When you create a game, it is set to private by default and will provide a code that can be shared with other players. Friends will share this code via other chat platforms (Messenger, iMessage, Discord) directly or in a group chat.
Please note that the host can change the game to "Public" by simply tapping the "Private" button once. This then allows anyone from the public to join. We highly recommend young users do not create "Public" games.
Public- as the name suggests will allow you to join any game that is "public" and has yet to fill all of it's required players. Public mode is not recommended for any young users.
Risks of playing "public" games on Among Us:
Chat is unmoderated and therefore can be a free for all for including inappropriate language, name calling, requests for private information and explicit sexual references.
There is no mechanism to report or flag a player who is behaving badly, only the room leader can kick them out. NB. the game creators promise this feature is coming soon.
Other players can, and do, use offensive phrases or words as their character name
As the game only has text chat included, often public games use another app like Discord for members of the game to engage in live audio chat. The link other chat sites can be shared in the chat.
*UPDATE MARCH 2021*
Private- is the option to select when you have been given a code to join a friend's game
Like any game, we recommend parents set clear boundaries and expectations once a game has been given the OK to be played. In this case, for children, we highly recommend the game is only ever played with known players (friends & family) and never "public" games.
As it is a game based on interactions with other players (including trying to deceive them all!), we recommend parents start the discussion and maintain regular dialogue around respectful online behaviours. As always, make sure you don’t always jump to the negative in discussions about their online world, try asking them curious questions like...How’d you go playing Among Us? Were you the imposter at all? Did you get a win? Do you think you’re getting better or any new strategies you’re trying?
Then when it comes to discussing more challenging topics, choose an appropriate time (in the car or out walking) to ask open ended questions like:
I see you're loving playing Among Us...I was reading an article online about how some people are using it to be nasty or mean? Have you ever seen that whilst playing? How do you think the person receiving those messages would have felt at the time? What do you think you'd do if it happened to you?