Among Us has received its first map since exploding into mainstream popularity last year and it's a big one. Probably too big, if you ask me. Called The Airship, it strays from Among Us' traditional sci-fi aesthetic into more steampunk territory, and introduces a bunch of new tasks that you'll have to complete while trying to avoid the Impostor. Having a new map to play on is great, but The Airship's size is definitely a problem. It hands almost every advantage it can to the murderer-on-board.
Bigger isn't necessarily better, and I'm a little wary of just how large The Airship is. Unlike the other maps, I'd sometimes go a minute or two without so much as passing another player in the hallway, and that's a problem—unless you're the Impostor, in which case it makes it obscenely easy to kill players and make an escape. Amplifying the issue is the fact that The Airship also forces players to choose from a random set of three rooms to spawn in instead of everyone starting together in one room. Players already feel so spread out that also having them spawn in separate rooms just makes it even harder to track what's going on. I'm finding it impossible to gauge where a player might be at a certain time.
To be fair, maintaining an awareness of the rest of the crew is part of the struggle that makes Among Us fun. But in previous maps you could at least try to surmise possible vectors based on who left the meeting room in which direction. If Red and Yellow leave together and Yellow winds up dead in less than a minute, you have a good idea who to interrogate. With The Airship, though, it's impossible to know who is where.
On the other hand, being able to choose which room you spawn in opens up some new strategic options—assuming you've memorized the map. In one instance, the Impostor had sabotaged our communication systems, so I was racing to the cockpit to prevent a disaster. Just as I arrived, someone found a dead body and called a meeting. We couldn't decide on who the killer was, so we all had to pick a new room to spawn in. Without thinking, I chose the cargo bay at the far opposite end of the ship, forgetting that the cockpit's communication system still needed fixing. I am dumb.
I don't hate The Airship, but I do think it's less conducive to the risk-taking and surprise twists that make Among Us so much fun. In the few rounds that I've been the Impostor, I had no trouble going on multi-crew killing sprees, and I suspect that's entirely because the map is so big that it was taking forever for other players to find dead bodies.
It sucks some of the tension out of being the Impostor when I know with a good amount of certainty that no one is going to walk into the room just in time to witness my murder. It also lessens the need to get clever or use the sabotage ability to set up elaborate assassinations. More often than not I'll bump into someone completely alone and score an easy kill that'll take close to a minute for someone else to discover. Developer InnerSloth has said a future update will expand the party size to 15, and I think that's going to help make The Airship a lot more exciting to those who play online with strangers.
If you're playing with friends, the size of The Airship might be a positive, as players will make a greater effort to stick together and navigate its hallways safely. In the chaos of online lobbies right now, though, The Airship feels like the ultimate Impostor hunting ground.
It's been a while since Among Us got a new map, so even if The Airship isn't revolutionary, it's nice to have a change of scenery. The new tasks are pretty fun too. None of them transcend the mundane space chores found on the other maps, but they're clever and they make me laugh. In one instance, I had to run into the kitchen and change an overstuffed garbage bag stuck inside of the can. Each time I clicked and dragged to pull out the garbage bag, the can would come with it. Other tasks have you cleaning toilets, moving a cellphone around on the screen until it gets good reception, and anxiously completing a puzzle where you have to flip breakers randomly scattered in multiple rooms in sequential order.
These new tasks are cute, but I desperately wish Among Us had better ways of distinguishing its maps beyond a new batch of chores and a different aesthetic. Fundamentally, you're still running through a maze of interconnected rooms and occasionally running to fix a system sabotaged by the Impostor. Being able to choose which room you spawn in is a neat wrinkle even if it contributes to The Airship feeling too big, but I'd like to see more unique twists. And aside from its size, there's little that really makes The Airship feel unique. I would love to see future maps do more to subvert expectations and create more exciting challenges beyond running to a room and beating a minigame.