Among Us VR understands what made Innersloth’s murder mystery game so special when it came out in 2018 and brought us almost endless shenanigans by placing 10 people inside a spaceship while two Impostors try to murder everyone. This VR remake is a refreshing sight of the premise that restores that suspense while introducing new and exciting dynamics. While the missing features can be disappointing, what’s here is great. Right now, is one of the best Virtual Reality games this year.
It’s hard to overstate how polished Among Us VR feels to play. Schell Games has adapted it well to virtual reality– The 3D art style with cel shading has great effect, and the switch to first-person gameplay feels natural. Walking around a recreation of the spaceship map and using motion controls to accomplish tasks is much more immersive, and fueling the motors with a hand pump and priming the shields by tapping the screen is more intuitive than using a gamepad or mouse and keyboard. It can be played comfortably standing or sitting, since the movement is totally smooth and controlled with the thumbs. There’s no teleportation, but if you’re worried about motion sickness, optional blinders are available to reduce the risk of nausea, along with a sharp turn for the camera.
Among Us VR faithfully recreates the base of the original, and divides us again between Crewmen and Impostors. In a four to ten player online match, Crewmembers must complete various randomly assigned tasks on the ship. Some tasks aren’t especially exciting, like waiting for a data transfer, and the real fun comes from the social gameplay that surrounds them. Even so, there are several new tasks that make creative use of VR– The admin room has a new retina scanner that requires you to stand still for a few moments, which isn’t very exciting, though there are some fun mini-games.
The feeling of panic is greater when the red lights of a sabotage appear.
However, as an impostor, your only goal is to convince everyone that you are just another crewmate, even as you cunningly kill other crewmates and try to get away with it. There are plenty of creative avenues for assassination, like jamming doors or causing a blackout (knowing Impostors can see in the dark). Or you can go big by sabotaging the ship by depleting the oxygen or causing a reactor meltdown, which are instant victories if the companions leave them unattended for too long. I felt more scared during blackouts, and there is a greater sense of panic when the garish red lights appear during a sabotage.
Once a dead body is discovered, an emergency meeting is called and the real game of trickery and detective work begins. If you are a true crewmate, you have to find out who the impostors are using any suspicious activity you have witnessed and decide who can be trusted. If you are an Impostor, you declare your innocence, blame others, and try to get others to vote with you to buy someone else a one-way ticket to space. Even after years of play, keeping your story and blaming someone else for the death is still a fantastic feeling, one that is enhanced by VR. Being falsely kicked out through no fault of your own can be frustrating, not to mention being caught as an impostor out of sheer bad luck, but the fun of this game of cat and mouse is picking up subtle clues or tricking everyone with clues. and clever hints. There is a cooldown before you can attack again, which prevents a skilled impostor from winning easily. As always, the effectiveness of a social game like this depends on who you play with, but in VR there is a greater sense of presence when everyone is looking at you.
In VR there is a greater sense of presence when everyone is looking at you.
All of this is true in the regular version of Among Us, but simply having voice chat built into everyone’s headset solves one of that version’s biggest problems: if you use an external voice client like Discord, the dead can still talk and use it to cheat, but here they become mute ghosts when they die. Also, the fact that everyone can speak immediately makes emergency meetings a strong point of Among Us VR. The use of proximity increases tension– Knowing that someone’s voice grows louder as you get closer is another way to gather evidence, and introduces a new dynamic to encounters, whether you’re hunting or being hunted. Plus, you can ask someone to watch you get scanned to prove your innocence without having to alert an impostor to your location. If you are an impostor, you can try to hide in the ventilation ducts and eavesdrop on the conversations of other companions. Voice chat also makes calling someone in the middle of a lie and watching that so-called “crewmate” crumble under pressure all the more satisfying. And if voice chat isn’t for you, for whatever reason, there’s also a text chat system that uses default quick messages.
There are many things that Among Us VR does well, but the biggest criticism of this version is that does not have the same content and features as the standard Among Us. This is understandable at some points, as changing game settings, such as increasing movement speed, would be a sickening disaster for many people. However, it would be nice to be able to adjust the number of tasks, for example. Cosmetics are also limited at launch.
What hurts the most is the lack of additional maps of Among Us VR. At launch, there is no Mira HQ, no Polus, no Airship, all we have to play with is The Skeld. To be fair, this was also the case when Among Us was released, but a lot of people don’t realize this because those maps came before the game really got popular. As a result, what’s here seems disappointingly small compared to the current state of Among Us. You also won’t find the XP system, anonymous voting, or expanded roles like scientists and shapeshifters. Schell Games says there will be content updates, but for now we don’t know what or when. Still, the true longevity of Among Us VR depends on who you play with. I couldn’t play with friends during this review, but even in a match full of strangers, I had a great time. The good news is that there’s crossover multiplayer between Quest 2 and PC, which is a reassuring option given VR’s small audience.
Among Us VR is a great overhaul of a classic social game that feels right at home in VR., staying true to the success of Innersloth and feeling fresh in a new perspective and with some new tricks in play. It still feels like the same game many of us fell in love with years ago, but thanks to new elements like proximity voice chat and mini-games made to work with motion controls, Among Us VR reinvigorates the action in The Skeld. The additional maps and cosmetics are sorely missed, but if they measure up to what Schell Games has established with what’s currently available, they’ll be worth the wait. It is one of the best virtual reality adaptations of an existing game.