Developer: Tom Brow
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.4.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

IMG_0734Strategy games are good. Simple strategy games with evil AI’s, however, are even better. Among Us is the latter. Though its user interface could use some work and not everyone likes a punishing AI, Among Us’s fungal cannibalism should provide a thrilling challenge for true strategy fans.

Among Us takes place on a square grid of either 16×16 or 20×20 cells and can be played with either 2 or 4 players, with any mixture of human and computer players. Online multiplayer is also available, but I couldn’t find a game.

Each player starts with a single colored cell—your infant “fungus.” With each turn, the game deals you a random piece, which you must add to your fungus by making sure it shares an edge with one of your existing pieces. The offensive part is where the previously mentioned cannibalism comes into play. Just like in Reversi (or Othello), when your fungus surrounds a partial row or column of your opponent’s fungus, those tiles are flipped to your color. You can also “bite” pieces of your opponents’ fungi away, though you only get so many chomps per game.

It quickly becomes apparent that a lot of strategy is necessary…and that you’ll have to develop those strategies on your own. The developers certainly know how to win, because even on Easy mode I struggled against the tenacious AI. There are only two difficulty settings, Easy and Hard. I wish that there was a walkthrough with basic tips or just a really, really stupid computer player to test new strategies on.

As far as the user interface and non-game features go, Among Us very basic, which isn’t a plus in this case. There are no high scores to track, no settings, and no statistics or records of any kind. It’s kind of disappointing, because I’m a math nut. Additionally, there’s no way to save an existing game if you want to start an online match or check the instructions…when you hit “back,” the game is automatically deleted without confirmation. Ouch.

Those minor gripes aside, Among Us is an excellent strategy game. Just be forewarned…it’s also extremely difficult. If you’re looking for a great challenge without any extraneous fluff, it’s hard to beat this “simple” game of fungal cannibalism and brain-busting strategy.

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