Among Us Logo and Art
InnerSloth

The thrilling multiplayer video game Among Us recently emerged as a cultural phenomenon online as it continues to gain new features and platform support. Here’s more info—and why people keep talking about it.

What Is Among Us?

Among Us is a networked multiplayer video game developed by InnerSloth and available on PC, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Nintendo Switch. It was first released on June 15, 2018 for iOS and Android, and it’s expected to appear on PlayStation and Xbox consoles at some point in 2021.

Playing Among Us as an impostor.
Playing Among Us as an impostor.

Among Us combines the thrill of a murder mystery, the alien setting of deep space, and social dynamics into a compelling brew that brings the best social board games to mind. It can be played online or locally over a network, and is best played with at least four or five people at once. Currently, there’s no true single-player option, although you can practice performing tasks in “Freeplay” mode offline.

How Do You Play Among Us?

In Among Us, you play as either a regular crewmate or an imposter, and this role is assigned at random at the beginning of each round. You control a space-suited astronaut cartoon character who can roam a spaceship (or other similar locates) from an overhead viewpoint.

As a crewmate, you must perform distracting tasks on a ship (like wiring an electrical panel) while avoiding getting killed by one or more imposters among the crew. Along the way, the crew might determine who the imposter is and eject them into space by popular vote.

Completing a task in Among Us.
Completing a task in Among Us.
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If you play as an imposter, you’re tasked with killing off crew members or sabotaging the ship while trying to blend in so that no one suspects you.

Playing Among Us often involves misdirection and deft negotiation, as accusations in the chat can force innocent people into being ejected if players can convince others that an innocent person is an imposter.

Voting on the impostor in Among Us.
Voting on a suspected impostor in Among Us.

Its thrilling mixture of mystery and high tension makes for a compelling game to watch on streaming platforms such as Twitch, which has contributed greatly to its rising popularity, especially after a high-profile American politician streamed the game during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Can You Play Among Us Cross-Platform?

Yes, you can. Among Us is distinctive for a relatively painless cross-platform gaming experience. Players on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, and Switch can all play together by sharing a special code that allows other players to join the game between rounds.

An example of the code you need to play Among Us multiplayer online with others.

Upon hosting a game or joining a server, you’ll see a six-letter “Code” listed near the bottom-center of the screen while on the lobby screen. For other players to join, they must launch Among Us and select Online > Private (Enter Code), and then type in the code provided by a person in the lobby. If a game is currently in progress, they cannot join until the round is over.

Is Among Us for Kids?

Among Us is rated E10+ in the United States and 9+ on the App Store for “Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes” and “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence.”

An example of the cartoon violence in Among Us.
Among Us includes cartoon violence, which is seen when killing as (or being killed by) an impostor.
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Among Us might be scary for young kids because it involves sudden cartoon violence and a high degree of suspense and tension. But obviously, it’s the parent’s call on what is appropriate for each individual child. Also, players need to chat (or read chat from others) online to play the game fully, but InnerSloth limits children under 13 to a “quick chat” system of pre-defined statements.

Parents should also know that if you turn on free chat, you might see some family-unfriendly player names that slip past the censorship system by using alternative characters (such as “4” instead of “A”).

What Are “Free Chat” and “Quick Chat” in Among Us?

When you first launch Among Us, the game will ask your age. If you enter an age below 13, you’ll be limited to “quick chat,” which only lets you chat with others through a menu of pre-defined statements. If your age is 13 or above, you have the option to use “free chat,” which allows you to type whatever you want into the chat window seen by other players.

If you’re over 13, you can switch from quick chat to free chat by selecting the Options button (a gear) on the title screen of the game and selecting Data > Chat Type.

In Among Us Settings, select "Data," then "Chat Type" to change from Quick Chat to Free Chat.

Chatting between platforms might also be limited based on parental restrictions on the Nintendo Switch console.

RELATED: How to Stop Kids from Talking to Strangers on Nintendo Switch

What Does “Sus” Mean in Among Us?

In Among Us, the term “sus” is an abbreviated way of saying “suspicious.” You might be called “sus” if you’ve been seen engaging in shady or suspicious behavior, meaning that you might be an impostor. As a regular crewmate, your survival depends on keen observations of the other players’ behavior, so it’s important to share this knowledge with others you trust in order to win the game.

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Of course, to be called “sus,” you need to have free chat turned on (see above). Otherwise, you can tell other players that a person “is suspicious” in the quick chat menus.

How Do You Change Your Appearance in Among Us?

To change your character’s appearance in Among Us, join a game and approach the laptop in the lobby. Activate the “use” button or select the “Customize” context button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Select "Customize" near the terminal in the lobby to change your appearance.

After using the laptop, a screen will appear where you can change your player’s color or skin and add a hat or a pet. The changes will persist across different games and servers, although the color you chose might not be available in another game if someone else has already claimed it.

How Do You Change Your Name in Among Us?

To change your name in Among Us, first, click or tap the “Account” tab on the title screen. In the “Account Info” card that appears, you can select “Randomize Name” to choose a random name, or, if you’re signed in (and you have a parent’s permission on the Switch), you can tap “Change Name” and enter any name you’d like.

In Among Us, select "Change Name" on the Account screen to change your name, if you're signed in.

How Can I Play Among Us?

Currently, Among Us is available on PC (through Steam, Itch.io, the Epic Games Store, and the Microsoft Store). It’s also on Android, iPhone, iPad, and Nintendo Switch. InnerSloth plans to bring the game to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox One, and to Xbox Series X|S consoles sometime in 2021.

Is Among Us Free? How Much Does It Cost?

Currently, Among Us costs about $4 to $5 on PC, depending on the store and what sale is taking place. It’s also $5 on Nintendo Switch but is often available for less during sale periods. On iPhone, iPad, and Android, Among Us is free with in-game advertising, but ads can be disabled for $1.99. Among Us offers in-app purchases of hats, pets, and skins (depending on the platform) for around $2-$3 each.

Have fun, and avoid being “sus” as much as possible!

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Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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