The rise of unique multiplayer games

Daniel Lim

With the multiplayer gaming scene dominated by first person shooters, MOBAs (massive online battle arenas) or battle royales, it can get tedious to pick the next multiplayer game to play.

Yet, among this drab outlook of every game trying to oust each other with the same genres, a cursory glance on popular streaming sites reveals that there are two games which have buckled this trend and taken the world by storm.

FINDING THE IMPOSTERS AMONG US

Created by a small development team comprising just three members, it is perplexing that Innersloth’s release of Among Us was able to gain such popularity, topping the charts on Twitch as well as seeing high viewership on YouTube.

The game was released in 2018, and only saw a rise in popularity a few months ago.

Among Us is a game where up to 10 players, as various coloured bean-shaped crew mates, are tasked to complete several tasks scattered around a map to win. The catch is, among them are imposters who set out to sabotage and kill other players.

This asymmetrical game mode lends itself quite handily to bringing the best and worst out of the players, as crew mates scramble to finish tasks while the imposters find the opportunity to strike, all of which culminates as bodies are reported and a flurry of heated debates and arguments are exchanged to determine the cause of death and by whom, normally descending into rabid unintelligible rants and accusations.

Fall Guys. PHOTO: MEDIATONIC
Among Us. PHOTO: INNERSLOTH

Despite this simple premise, the game did not enjoy much success on the day of it’s release. But due to the pandemic, the game gained popularity and was back in the spotlight. Among Us enjoyed a resurgence as a few content creators started to play the game with their friends. This resulted in more people playing the game, with a viewership of more than 336,000.

For comparison, the nearest game that can come close to that number of viewership is League of Legends, a popular MOBA that has enjoyed popularity, with viewership of just over 120,000.

Playing through a few rounds of Among Us, one can see why the game has the potential to be popular. With the constant threat of being stalked by the imposter as you attempt to complete tasks, to actually being the imposter in faking and lying your way to put the blame on others, it is not only exhilarating to play but also entertaining to watch.

FALLING OVER AND OVER AGAIN

Another game that has enjoyed a similar surge of interest and also involved bean-shaped characters of a wide variety of colours is Fall Guys, a take on a popular game show from the late 1980s to the early 1990s based on a certain Japanese castle.

When you first boot up Fall Guys, you’re greeted with an almost hypnotising and catchy electronic music track which, coupled with the vaguely bean-shaped character, paints a picture of the kind of nonsensical and non-cynical moments that players can expect when playing.

Competing against 59 other vibrant and bean-shaped characters, one needs to be the last one standing in a show-esque series of mini-games to win. With challenges that range from trying to jumping through the right door among the fake ones in ‘Door Dash’, to the frantic jumping over blocks which disappear with each step in ‘Hex-A-Gone’, Fall Guys is a guarantee success. Fall Guys attracted such a positive response during its initial release that famous franchises started to pitch in costume ideas for the game.

The game has drawn 30,000 viewers, with non-chalant moments that can turn into an all-out battle royale as everyone vies to be the one to be crown as victorious.

This addictive loop also means that a single game of Fall Guys can last as briefly as a minute to 20 minutes, and the nature of the mini-games means that even if one does get knocked out early on, it is just as easy to jump back into another game, which is quite the contrary to other battle royales.

Fall Guys simply puts everyone into those exhilarating thrills and moments of head-to-head competition, one mini-game after another.