It’s an exciting time for those deep into Among Us (or looking to get back into the game) since the new Airship map dropped just last week. The wildly popular social deduction game blew up relatively recently, and while it has sustained a massive following, it’s been thriving off of three different maps for quite some time. The Airship affords the game a fresh experience for longtime players not just because it’s new but also because it asks you to play quite differently from older maps.
It’s the largest map so far, but its tight corridors and handful of one-way paths make it a challenge to navigate. It’s so big and labyrinthine that the game lets players choose one of three spawn points when they start a round in the match. Understanding what’s around each of the spawn points becomes part of your strategy for both crewmates and imposters, and uncovering those intricacies has made figuring out the Airship so much fun.
A key thing to notice about the map’s spawn points is that when they’re represented on screen for selection, the background of the icon shows you which part of the map it’s in–eventually, you’ll be familiar with the names and locations of these rooms, but for shorthand purposes, they’re also ordered in a way that’s indicative of their general location (left, middle, right). Crewmates should have tasks nearby right when the match starts, but as the match progresses, you’ll want to keep in mind where your remaining tasks are.
The Airship introduces a few new tasks as well. You’ll have the typical switch-flipping, garbage-disposing, color-coded wire-connecting, and so on. However, you’ll notice the download-and-upload type of objectives have a new second step–moving around a cell phone on screen searching for the right position to get a better signal for faster upload speeds. In the cargo bay, crewmates may have the safe-unlocking task where you need to reveal that lock combination through trial-and-error. In the locker rooms, crewmates might be tasked with picking up dirty towels and accurately tossing them into the hamper, and in the armory, you may have to pick up guns and rack them on the wall. It’s some real Among Us nonsense that you’ve probably come to expect and get a kick out of.
With all these new tasks spread across an intricate map, the thing that stands out in the new map’s design is that there’s more risk-reward when it comes to killing crewmates as the imposter. Since more of the pathways are tighter and shuffle you through specific locations, the sharp eye of a crewmate could more easily deduce who could be the killer if they stumble upon and report a dead body and paid close attention to who may have passed by. At least in the early days of playing the Airship, there tends to be less ambiguity if you’re trying to act normal as the imposter with crewmates nearby.
At the same time, an imposter who is either lucky or has excellent situational awareness has ample opportunity to get away with murder cleanly. The sheer size of the Airship means dead bodies could easily pile up before anyone even starts to take notice. In my experience, there’s less grouping up of crewmates since objectives are spread wide, and navigating the premises and covering ground is a bit more difficult without open areas and less interconnectedness between the important rooms.
Another small but sometimes impactful design choice was putting the meeting room at the very top of the map with one route to get there. This makes it an ordeal to access given the sheer size of the Airship–so if you feel the suspicion of a fellow player and need to talk it out, or if you know you’re getting chased down by an imposter, and can’t find a body to report, you better get to stepping. And, of course, the deliberation process will be as chaotic and potentially deceiving as they always are.
What it boils down to is that the Airship maintains the core ideas of Among Us, but can challenge you to act, move, and think differently more so than the previous three maps. I’d say that’s a good thing since it can freshen up the gameplay and social dynamic, especially for folks who’ve been playing with a consistent group. This leads to a few new ways to experience the tension you had in your first few times playing it. But if you haven’t jumped in yet, this new map is all the more reason to give the game a try if you’re willing to deal with the lighthearted stresses that go hand-in-hand with a good game of Among Us.
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