“Having trouble with that puzzle?” an imposter said with an evil undertone in the new Among Us VR game, “Allow me to put you out of your misery, muhahaha!” And with that, a crewmate was stabbed in the back and left for dead on the Skeld 2 (a VR-friendly version of the original Skeld map featured in 2D Among Us).
“Wait a minute! You can actually talk to others inside Among Us VR?!” you may be wondering. Heck yes, dear reader. Heck yes!
The in-game voice-chat feature is, without a doubt, the best aspect of the new Among Us VR game — 2D Among Us VR, on the other hand, relies on text chat. You can spew villainous quips before killing crewmates, leaving them to contemplate their entire existence as they float around as ghosts in post-mortem misery. Additionally, crewmates can ask others to spot them while completing their tasks, eliminating the heightened risk of finishing them alone.
When I heard that Schell Games, the developer and publisher behind the well-received, highly praised I Expect You to Die 2 VR game, would be one of the brains behind the Among Us VR adaptation, I just knew it would be good — and I was spot on. However, it goes without saying that no game is perfect. Here’s a breakdown of the good, bad and ugly facets of Among Us VR.
Among Us VR: price and availability
Among Us VR, brought to you by Innersloth, Schell Games and Robot Teddy, launched on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. You can purchase it for $9.99 via the Meta Quest, Rift, and Steam stores. Supported headsets include the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Meta Quest. Once PSVR2 hits the scene, Among Us VR will support that headset, too.
Among Us VR: How it works
Like the original Among Us VR game, crewmates are tasked with figuring out which poser among them is killing their co-workers and sabotaging their work aboard a spaceship called the Skeld 2. While the multiplayer 2D game lets you play with four to 15 players, the VR version keeps the minimum at four, but limits the maximum to 10.
Like the 2D version, you will land on a title screen with colorful crewmates floating around a celestial environment, but this time, you’ll get a 360-degree perspective of the intergalactic space. To hop into a multiplayer game, you can select “Quick Match.” If you want to launch a private game, click on “Host Match”; you’ll be given a code your friends must input after selecting “Direct Join.
No matter what you select, you should find yourself in a lobby: the VR version of the cafeteria room featured inside the 2D Among Us’ Skeld map — and it’s equipped with the notorious, big red Emergency Meeting button and all. And yes, now that Among Us is in VR now, you can actually slap your hand on it instead of tapping the word “Use” in the mobile game.
In the lobby, I was elated that I got the opportunity to actually speak to other members of the press who were playtesting Among Us VR. I even heard a familiar voice; I recognized a friend I knew in real life. In the lobby, people cracked jokes, whined about their poor internet service, and ran around the cafeteria while waiting for the game to start. In the original Among Us game, with the absence of voice chat, you can’t talk to other players in the waiting room (which may be a positive considering how chaotic that would be). Like 2D Among Us, you can change your wardrobe and crewmate color to reflect your personality. The wardrobe options aren’t as varied as it is in the original Among Us game, but I dug the bandana, cowboy hat, and flamingo balloon model as headgear choices.
Once the game is ready to launch, a countdown begins. Once it hits 0, you’re flung to a new environment whereby an animation appears telling you whether you’re a crewmate or an imposter. And with that, you’re back in the cafeteria again, and it’s your job to either figure out who the murderer is — or kill mercilessly as the imposter.
Crewmates win if they boot the imposter off the spaceship via voting or they complete their tasks before the imposter kills enough of them. Conversely, the imposter can win if the crewmates eject too many falsely accused colleagues, no longer leaving them with a voting majority.
Being a crewmate
With my Meta Quest 2 VR headset strapped onto my head, I explored the Skeld 2, scouring the 3D spaceship — complete with a new 360-degree perspective — for tasks to complete (I also kept a sharp eye out for suspicious crewmates). “Immersive” is the best word to describe Among Us VR. You can easily pull up the Skeld 2 map (“A” on the Quest 2 controller), helping you find the location of your tasks. By default, the map blocks your view, but fortunately, you can grab it and move it out of the way.
When you enter the room where your task is located, you’ll find a giant, yellow, hovering arrow pointing at the machinery you’re supposed to use. You’ll want to watch your back while you’re figuring out these mini puzzles, though! This is when you’re most vulnerable. Out of three Among Us VR game sessions, I died in two of them trying to complete my tasks. How would I do things differently? Next time, I’d make sure that at least two crewmates are nearby the task I want to tackle. This would make me an unattractive target to imposters who want to sneakily kill crewmates.
When I stumbled upon a dead body, I could report it by pointing at it and pressing on the Quest 2 controller’s trigger, prompting the game to teleport everyone to the cafeteria for a contentious meeting on who did the dirty deed (more on that later).
By the way, don’t think for one second that death is an escape from work! Like the OG Among Us game, even if you get killed, you still have to finish your duties as a ghost to help your crewmates achieve their mission before the imposter kills them all.
Being an imposter
As cruel as this sounds, being a murderer in Among Us VR is more fun than being a crewmate. From a first-person perspective, you can climb into vents and spy on crewmates through the grilles. You can drop into another room using the vents, too. You can also stalk a crewmate you don’t like, wait until they’re all alone, and slaughter them ‘til they’re nothing but skin and bones. Muhahaha!
Don’t forget to flee quickly. You don’t want to be seen leaving the scene of the crime (this is how one of the imposters I playtested with got caught red handed). Killing people in Among Us VR is easy, but trust me, convincing others that you’re not the imposter is the most difficult part of the game — unless, of course, you lie regularly (and convincingly) in the real world, so successfully deceiving people in VR is all in a day’s work.
Another familiar strategy Among Us fans will find in this VR game is sabotage, an ability unique to imposters in the game. By pulling up your map, you can sabotage the oxygen room, for example. If no crewmates fix your sabotage in time (before the countdown hits zero), you can win the game. If you’re extra sneaky, you can pretend to fix the very thing you tampered with — the crewmates would be none the wiser that you’re the culprit.
Imposters do not have tasks to do, so when a crewmate asks, “What were you doing before the dead body got reported?” at an emergency meeting, you better come up with a credible alibi right on the spot. Crewmates can easily say, “I was doing the bicycle pump task in the Reactor Room!” Imposters, on the other hand, have to sound just as convincing or they’ll arouse suspicion.
If you’re playing with four to seven players, you’ll have one Impostor. Eight to 10 players will have two impostors.
Among Us VR: Discussion time
When a dead body gets reported or someone presses the emergency meeting button, as aforementioned, the game drops everyone into the cafeteria to discuss who should be booted off the Skeld 2.
If you’ve ever played 2D Among Us, you’ll know that lying is much easier when you’re using the in-game text chat. If you’re accused of being an imposter, you can take your time to come up with a believable response that throws others off your scent. You’re not speaking, so no one can hear the different inflections and intonations in your voice that could potentially betray you. Finally, there’s less pressure to respond quickly and come up with an articulate defense in mere seconds.
However, as mentioned, voice chat is the main mode of communication in the VR version of Among Us. In one session, a few crewmates and I accused a bandana-wearing, dark-gray crewmate of being suspicious and pretending to do tasks. He struggled immensely throughout the interrogation — the pitch of his voice increased and he was breathing heavily. He sounded so panicked, it was as if I could hear the sweat dripping down his forehead. Eventually, he caved under pressure and let out a maniacal laugh. “I can’t do this!” he said. “I’m such a bad liar,” he said between uncontrollable giggles.
After the imposter buckled, laughter erupted among the players. Despite being one hilarious son of a gun who tickled us to our core, we still had to kick out the confessing killer for going on a senseless, murderous rampage. How do you vote to kick someone off? There’s a large screen that looms before you with a list of crewmates. With your controller, you simply select the one you’d like to vote off the spaceship (no, the voting is not anonymous). You can also skip voting if you have no idea who the imposter could be.
During discussion time, if you’re a ghost (you’ve been offed by an imposter), you can witness the heated meeting. You can walk around the cafeteria and desperately point to the killer, but unfortunately, none of the alive crewmates can see you nor hear you. In other words, ghosts can see everyone, including other ghosts, but they’re invisible to living, breathing crewmates.
Among Us VR: performance and graphics
The game’s graphics are designed to be low-fi and rudimentary, staying true to the original game’s elementary, cartoony, simple design of bold, thick outlines and bright colors.
I used the Meta Quest 2 VR headset to launch Among Us VR. Packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset (a variant of the Snapdragon 865 chip used in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra) and an Adreno 650 GPU, it had no issues running Among Us VR smoothly, quickly and efficiently.
The only thing you must worry about with Among Us VR is your internet connection. Those with stellar, stable Wi-Fi connections had no issues playtesting the game. Meanwhile, one player (out of about 10 gamers) claimed to have poor internet connectivity; he constantly disappeared from the game due to crashing and their voices intermittently dropped while speaking
I have a Verizon FioS internet package; I played Among Us VR for nearly an hour with 10 other players without dealing with crashing, stuttering or anything of that nature. Naturally, however, there is a bit of a delay when speaking to others; there’s an awkward silence of a few seconds before you get a response.
Among Us VR: The best aspects of the game
The immersive, virtual-reality experience makes Among Us VR far more fun than the 2D version. Truth be told, the original version couldn’t hold my attention for too long. However, I could play Among Us VR for hours because, as you become more familiar with how the game works, you develop better strategies on how to either catch imposters or throw crewmates off your scent. As such, you want to employ those strategies in future games to see where it gets you.
You no longer have the benefit of having a bird’s-eye view of the spaceship anymore. Now that you’re navigating through different rooms on Skeld 2 via a first-person perspective, the tense suspensefulness of the game is heightened. You’re constantly wondering whether the suspicious crewmate behind you is masquerading as one of your trusted colleagues. With your headset strapped on, you can look over your shoulders for sneak attackers. With your joystick, you can attempt to run if you see someone charging toward you, but it won’t get you very far.
Secondly, the proximity voice-chat feature makes Among Us VR a fun time. You better be an articulate, confident and convincing speaker because you will have to defend your case. If not, you risk arousing suspicion, even if you’re a genuine crewmate, and you may get the boot. If you’re a crewmate, you don’t want this to happen because this disadvantages your team. If you’re an imposter, you obviously don’t want to get caught, so be sure to tap into your inner sociopath and tell cold-blooded lies that hide your transgressions. This, however, is easier said than done because you can’t hide behind texts now — your vocal inflections, pitch, and muffled laughter can be heard loud and clear.
As you can imagine, watching interrogators make suspects sweat with their aggressive accusations is one of the most enjoyable, entertaining, hilarious aspects of the game. Heck, just brushing past other Among Us characters while yelling “Stop stalking me, yellow!” adds to the entertainment value of the game. Getting the opportunity to sneak up on a lone crewmate and kill ‘em after letting out a villainous one-liner like, “Say hello to my little friend!” is priceless.
In addition to voice chat, it’s worth noting there’s also a “quick chat” option, too, which lets you communicate with other players via limited, preset responses, but I’ve never felt the need to use it.
If you, like me, are concerned about trolls and bullies taking advantage of the voice chat feature, don’t worry! There’s a mute button available. You can also vote to kick an irksome crewmate off the Skeld 2. Bye, bye!
Among Us VR: How it can improve
I’d appreciate it if there was an HUD telling me where I’m located on the Skeld 2. This way, when I’m questioned about my whereabouts after suddenly being flung into an emergency meeting, I can actually respond accurately. In one instance, I was asked where I found the dead body I reported, but couldn’t give the questioner a proper answer. Again, an HUD keeping me informed of my whereabouts, as well as telling me what task I’m currently working on, would be useful.
After completing a task, a “Congratulations, you finished this one!” chime would be nice as well. Sometimes, I found myself lingering for a few seconds wondering if I successfully completed the chore. The bouncing yellow arrow over the task disappears, but a confirmation sound would be helpful.
If the giant red button in the cafeteria — the Emergency Meeting button — could get a label, that would be great, too. In one playtest session, one crewmate pressed it within seconds of the game starting. Why? “Sorry guys, I just saw a big, shiny red button in the middle room; I didn’t know what it was, but I couldn’t fight the temptation to press it!”
Finally, it takes a while to get used to figuring out how to complete the mini puzzles littered throughout the map. While there’s a tutorial on how to climb through vents, kill crewmates, and report dead bodies, like the 2D version, you’re not told how to complete tasks on the Skeld 2 — and that is by design. Consequently, there’s a learning curve to figuring out how to execute tasks with your controller. After a while, however, you’ll get the hang of it.
I haven’t had this much fun and laughter in a VR game in a long time! Tears were literally streaming down my face at the absurdity of imposters getting caught in their own lies and the hilariousness of interrogators’ accusations.
It’s impressive to see the trajectory of this whodunnit game; the original Among Us wasn’t an instant hit. The social deduction game, developed by Innersloth, launched in 2018, but it didn’t take the world by storm until we were in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a few popular Twitch streamers who heightened the game’s visibility, Among Us exceeded 100 million downloads on Google Play by the end of September 2020. (For perspective, in early Sept. 2020, Among Us only had 10 million downloads.)
The Among Us hype is dying down again, but as YouTube and Twitch streamers pick up the VR version, it’s only a matter of time before this game’s popularity skyrockets to new heights again.