among us video game characters

Design Critique: Among Us (iPad App)

Among Us is a game where players, “Crew,” find the serial killers among them. To win, “Imposters” must kill most players before they finish their tasks. When dead bodies are reported, players must discuss and vote who they think the imposter is. If Crew votes right, they win.

Joining A Public Game

Figure 1: When gamers click a lobby, a three dot animation appears, giving feedback that it’s checking if the lobby is full.

A pop-up message gives good feedback that the lobby is full which is where the Gulf of Evaluation succeeds. The Gulf of Execution fails because there’s another message saying, “Check with the host to see if you can join next round” which is not feedforward. Without instructions on how to check with the host or providing the host’s game code for gamers to search later on, gamers can’t perform an action sequence because none is given, failing the Gulf of Execution

Solution: Since gamers can’t contact the host, replace “Check with the host to see if you can join next round” with a more feedforward message like,“Try to enter lobbies with less than 10 gamers,” which has higher chances of entering a lobby on the first try. 

Refreshing Lobby Listings

Gamers can’t click the refresh button to see new lobbies because the container of the game doesn’t adjust to the physical constraints of a 12.9 inch iPad Pro, making it have low discoverability. While the refresh button is discoverable on smaller devices. 

Figure 2: Tiny bit of the green refresh button is shown on the iPad App.
Figure 3: “Find Game” Screen on an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Refresh button is discoverable

Solution: The designers should ensure that the game looks the same on all device types. The design on the iPad it could be zoomed out/made smaller to fit the constraints of the bigger screen so that users can easily discover the refresh button. 

Joining and Exiting Lobbies Frequently

If a gamer continuously joins lobbies and leaves within short periods, they’ll be disabled from playing for x amount of time. The pop up message in Figure 4 is a great example of feedback because it specifies the wait time to play again and a reason for why they aren’t allowed to play.

Figure 4: Pop up message saying that gamers are disabled from playing.

Solution:  Before the second to last trial of entering/leaving, a pop-up should say, “You have 1 more chance to play before you are disabled from playing for 4 minutes” to prevent this mode error slip. This feedback makes gamers aware of this new mode.

Completing Tasks

During the game, crew members will see a task menu that affords collapsing and expanding which helps short term memory gamers so they never have to recall their tasks which is depicted in Figure 5. These tasks are signifiers because they display actions and where those actions are located. When near a task, it is highlighted yellow signifying it needs to be completed. Another signifier is the labeling of each room which helps gamers find where their tasks are. All these signifiers work to create a conceptual model for how the gamer can complete their tasks.

Figure 5

Figure 6: Arrow signifying to the gamer the location of the next part of task.
Figure 7: Gamer completes task with the help of signifiers and mapping.

The close proximity of the lever and the trash helps gamers understand that the lever will activate trash disposal because the lever affords pulling. This task follows the natural mapping of pulling the lever down to make the trash go down the chute along with other signifiers such as the two down arrows pointing in the direction the trash should go (one down arrow behind trash, the other above lever).

Figure 8: When a task is completed, there is feedback confirming, “Task Completed!” then the task turns green and task bar increases.

The task bar at the top left fills with bright green in Figure 7 after the completed task. The signifiers and mapping in Fig 7 and 8 create a conceptual model for Crew that the completion of tasks, gets them closer to winning.

Solution: Change name “Chute” to “Trash” because it is more specific and also speaks the user’s language as this is what users call this task in chats.