Why Paying for Among Us on the Switch Isn’t That Bad

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Key Takeaways

  • Nintendo is the first console that you can play Among Us on, but Xbox is soon to follow.
  • Players will have to pay $5 to download the game and will also need a paid online membership.
  • The differences in accessibility may not be worth it for casual players.
The Among Us cover art

Among Us, one of the breakout mobile and PC hits of 2020, is finally available to play on the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite. Fans may not have expected the caveat that this previously free game now has a $5 price tag, though it might not be as big a deal as it seems.

Nintendo made the announcement on December 15, the same day it was made available, as part of the Indie World Showcase, a day-long event during which Nintendo announced numerous independently-developed games coming soon to the platform. Even more exciting, the game’s Twitter bio promises that it’ll soon be available on the Xbox as well.

"It just might be the best way to play," Luis Levy, author and co-founder of Novy Unlimited, a game-focused PR and marketing agency, told Lifewire in a social media conversation. "You get to use a gamepad and a touchscreen. Pricing is the same as Steam. You still need to pay Nintendo for Nintendo Online, but it's fairly affordable. Lastly, it's going to look and sound great on the Switch!"

Ideal Group Game

It’s not hard to see why Nintendo would see the appeal of adding Among Us to their lineup. The concept is fairly simple: players are (frankly adorable) crew members aboard a spaceship who are trying to go about their business, but an alien imposter who looks like a regular crew member is secretly killing off other players and sabotaging the ship. It’s up to the rest of the crew to guess who the imposter is before everyone is dead, while the imposter is tasked with killing crewmates and disrupting the ship while escaping suspicion.

Among Us image showing the Red accusing White while ghosts point at Red

With room for up to ten players, it’s a perfect party game, one that’s accessible for new players, but promises enough unique experiences that there’s plenty for seasoned gamers to enjoy. Even though there’s no talking allowed during most of the game, once a body is reported, crew members have a limited amount of time to finally talk, via a chat room, about who they think the imposter is before casting their votes and kicking one crewmate into space.

It’s a mainstay for Twitch streamers and YouTubers alike, even attracting the attention of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who live-streamed herself playing the game earlier this year in a bid to encourage young people to vote.

A Mixed Bag

Those who were hoping for a similar experience to playing the mobile game may be in for a tad bit of disappointment. Although Among Us is free to download and play on your phone, the Switch version comes with a $5 price tag. Additionally, in order to actually play with other people, you’ll need a Nintendo Online membership, with pricing that starts at $3.99 a month or $19.99 a year. While the cost isn’t too steep, it still begs the question of why Nintendo slapped a price tag on at all, when similar multiplayer games—think Fortnite and Dauntless—are free to play.

Another huge drawback is one that affects gameplay: a big part of the fun is talking to other players before casting your vote for imposter, and while typing on your phone may be easy, navigating an on-screen keyboard with your joy cons or even a standard controller is a different ball game, one that isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, if still largely doable. It’s also worth noting that it can be avoided altogether by using the Switch’s touch-screen keyboard in handheld mode.

On the flip side, there’s still plenty to get excited about, and the usual features are all present and accounted for. Players have the option of choosing between private, invite-only games with friends or braving the wilds of the internet via public games. You also have the ability to host your own games and set whatever parameters you want, like the number of imposters per game.

Among Us on the Switch also supports crossplay, meaning players using a phone, PC, or Switch will all be able to play together. However, paying $5 and a monthly membership fee to access a game that’s free and easier to play on your phone? Sounds "sus" to me, but as some—like @KrangKotobuki on Twitter—have pointed out, $5 is a comparatively small price to pay to support small game companies.

Still, while there are obvious advantages to playing on your Switch—no irksome advertisements—the investment, however minor, might not be worth it for those who don’t already have a Switch Online membership. For casual players especially, sticking to your phone is still probably your best bet—even if there are unexpected advantages for Switch users, like accidentally getting to access a new map before everyone else.

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