Everyone knows Among Us – the mobile game on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and PC game on Steam that took off last summer thanks to streamers on Twitch, featuring cute, colorful bean-shaped characters who seem to be strangely lacking arms and hands from first glance. You’re part of a crew on a spaceship somewhere in the universe, innocently doing your tasks; but there’s an imposter among us! You have to try to do tasks and fix sabotages by the imposters, while trying not to get killed. Once you find someone who’s sus, you vote them out.
This party game format has become extremely popular and is reminiscent of the werewolf style and social deduction games that people might play at theater workshops, sleepovers, hanging out as friends, and more. It’s a timeless game where you deceive your friends and ruin friendships when you ultimately betray them as you lie to your face. Sounds like a great trust-building exercise, right?
Now, there’s a new game with this classic format in town: First Class Trouble. This game is currently in Steam’s Early Access program since April 8th, 2021 for $14.99 and is available for up to six players, compared to Among Us’ ten-player capacity. It is developed by Invisible Walls, an indie game studio of twenty-one people who are based out of Denmark. There are two Personoids, who were human-like androids that were used to serve the ‘Residents’, or the humans in this universe. They are also currently sailing on a spaceship called Iss Alithea, cruising along by Venus and having a jolly time.
Disaster strikes as the automated system, CENTRAL AUTOMATED INTELLIGENCE NETWORK (C.A.I.N.) decides to leak all of the ship’s oxygen into space. This rebellion will be familiar to fans of Space Odyssey, specifically because of HAL 9000, who also decided to rebel against its human overlords and kill them. It’s certainly a classic case of how artificial intelligence could very easily take over our lives and destroy us. Does it hit a little close to home in the 21st century as technology continues to rapidly evolve? Maybe. But it’s still fiction (for now).
The Residents decide they must shut down C.A.I.N. in order to survive, while the Personoids blend into the Residents in order to sneakily kill the humans to prevent C.A.I.N.’s shutdown or survive until the end without being choked out by two other players or voted off as they take the elevator up to the next round.
In the layout of each floor, the art is beautifully designed with gorgeous graphics. They have an incredibly ambient vibe that is reminiscent of a classy and elegant cruise ship, with modernly stylish hotel-like rooms. There are also parts of it that have a captain’s office, a casino, an indoor pool, and more. As you explore every level, you’ll find a few different things: oxygen tanks to make sure you don’t run out and suffocate, three different color card keys to unlock the elevator to progress, a station that holds an injection tool that can only be opened by Personoids that is lethal to Residents, oxygen tanks to sabotage, and various other tools, such as the ability to scan bodies to see if the deceased was a Resident or a Personoid once gone.
There are also various doors and mechanics on the levels that require teamwork and some trust, if you dare. A Personoid might open the door for you and have to hold it open while you search through a room — if they want to and think they can get away with it, they can and will absolutely leave you to die. But don’t trust just anyone who doesn’t leave you stranded; they could be looking to build up your trust to get to the end game.
Other mechanics when interacting with other people include grabbing someone in a hug-like gesture so someone else can choke them if you think they’re being suspicious, pushing others over, and carrying bodies of people who have died along with you as you mourn their untimely demise. You can also pick up broken wine bottles and hit other people with them to briefly incapacitate them. Important to note: two Personoids can’t team up to choke out a Resident — they have to use other sneaky means to take them out.
If you manage to make it to the last level and endgame to finally shut down C.A.I.N. with Personoids still blending in as Residents, the Residents will automatically lose. Unlike Among Us, First Class Trouble is slated in favor of the imposter side. It’s a nice twist to this beloved style of game and First Class Trouble also utilizes built-in voice chat, where voice chat is not implemented into Among Us naturally and you communicate primarily with the written chat in-game — which can be much harder to lie when playing with random people online. The voice chat in First Class Trouble is based on proximity and the game will make people sound further away from you if they’re a distance away, or closer if you’re next to them as it sounds in real life. So, if you want to take your fellow Personoid into a corner far away from the curious ears of the innocent Residents to have a quick chat to talk deceitful strategy, you can do so. Pretty cool feature if you ask me!
Big streamers such as Sykkuno, Valkyrae, Corpse Husband, Disguised Toast, and more of their crew (all known for their Among Us streams and YouTube videos) have been playing First Class Trouble together as streamers with friends. It has been incredibly entertaining to see them choke each other out and accuse each other in a new format – it’s breathed new life into the genre, especially for the streamers and their viewers who may be getting a little tired of the daily Among Us sessions; after all, when you play something every day for hours on end and know the game like the back of your hand, you’ll eventually get bored and want to try something new.
With that being said, First Class Trouble is a promising new addition to the genre that’s sure to spice things up – especially once it moves into a full launch, rather than only on Steam Early Access. According to the official website, it seems that the game will also be available on PlayStation in the future. I imagine depending on its success that we might see it on other consoles, just like Among Us. Thank you for taking the time to read and if you like Among Us or are interested in checking out a new party game to test out your lie detector and detective skills, take a look at First Class Trouble on Steam!