Online games are a wildly popular genre in 2020. While most are shooters like Fornite and CS: GO, there's plenty of other kinds of competitive play available. Fall Guys and their adorable bean characters exploded into the scene this summer, showing that gamers are hungry for unique PvP titles.
Another genre that's gained massive popularity is social deduction games. These titles often feature groups of people who are assigned secret titles. Usually, there's a group of "good" guys trying to discover who is the traitor or killer hiding in their midst. It originally erupted thanks to YouTubers like Unspeakable playing the popular mini-game "Murder Mystery" in Minecraft.
Then the internet found Among Us. Among Us, much like Fall Guys features some charmingly innocent beans up to absolutely no good. It was originally released in 2018 and has seen a renewed popularity since YouTubers rediscovered the hilarious social deduction title.
There's plenty of other games that have similar mechanics if you're feeling a little burnt out by all the Among Us hype, though. Check out these other curated titles we recommend playing:
This title combines survival and social deduction genres to create a unique experience. Find yourself stranded in a harsh winter. The goal is to survive long enough to find an escape. However, some in your eight-person group are traitors. They're out to sabotage and murder all of the innocent players.
Communication and teamwork are key in Project Winter. Wandering off alone in the elements leaves you vulnerable, both to nature as well as the traitors. Gather resources, decide how to use them, and hunt down the traitors-- all while trying to survive and escape the deadly winter approaching!
This cute social deduction game features some sinister gameplay. You start in a game of 7-15 players as part of an alignment. There are five alignments in total: Town, Neutral, Mafia, Serial Killers, and Arsonists. Only Town members are tasked with hunting down players from the bad teams' Mafia, Serial Killers, and Arsonists.
Meanwhile, the bad teams are free to murder other players under the veil of night. Sneak through the village and take out as many players, while avoiding an untimely death yourself!
There are four game phases. The night is usually when the mayhem happens. The day is the time to discuss suspects, while the defense is when the suspect must plead their case. Finally, judgment brings the verdict down on the suspect's head. Good guys win by finding all of the baddies, while the bad guys succeed when they avoid detection.
Our distinctly sci-fi pick for social deduction titles. Unfortunate Spacemen's setting offers the perfect sort of isolated backdrop to a murder mystery genre: 15 strange sites scattered across the black void of space, from alien dig sites to decrepit space stations. Additionally, this game's got a co-op story mode you can check out if you ever tire of sussing out space monsters.
Matches feature up to 16 players in Unfortunate Spacemen. Only one player is masquerading as a human, though. The Monster preys on all the other players. Additionally, there are no "phases" like in some other social deduction games. If you think that the Monster is chasing you, shoot first & ask questions never!
Anyone who isn't the Monster completes objectives to get rescued. Survive by sticking in groups and communicating constantly. Sometimes, you'll have to split up to complete tasks critical to escaping. Cooperation is key if you're a human. And if in doubt, shoot!
The Monster, meanwhile, has a host of abilities at their disposal. Shapeshift into another player, pretending to be human while learning their plans. Sabotage their goal of escape by laying traps from a distance. Or, take them on in all-out fighting with your natural Monster form.
Unfortunate Spacemen offers a dastardly game of deception where the stakes are as high as the space you're in. There's also two different co-op or solo modes. One offers a short bonus story about the Monster's species, the Crumerian insect swarm. There's also an endless survival mode you can take on with up to nine other players. This one's got a little bit of everything.
Finally, this simplistic game started out as a game jam among No Moon developers. It's a pure love letter to Among Us, employing many of the same mechanics. However, the biggest difference is definitely the graphics. MINDNIGHT takes a classic, futuristic cyberpunk approach to social deduction games.
You'd think cybernetics would make it harder to trick people, but that's not the case here. Use your wits and social skills to survive as a murderer, or plead your case to save your innocent self from slaughter. Opposite, work together to discover who in the group is the traitor. If you're looking for a wildly different take on Among Us, this is the free-to-play game for you.
Few games embody the state of politics quite like Secret Hitler. Play with 5-10 people, divided into two teams: the Liberals and the Fascists. Liberals are out to save the day by having fair and free policies. At the same time, Fascists want to help their dictator Hitler rise to power through any means necessary.
Everyone knows who is liberal and who is fascist in Secret Hitler. Still, Hitler's identity is hidden from all of the liberals. In games with 7 or more people, nobody knows who Hitler is. There is also a President and a Chancellor, whom the President nominates. All players vote on Chancellor.
All players help enact policies, which can be liberal or fascist. Voting is conducted through "Ja!" or "Nein!". Winning has a couple of different factors. There must be five liberal policies or six fascist policies enacted for the victory of the respective teams. However, after three fascist policies are passed, Hitler can be assassinated. This hands victory to the liberals. Opposite, though, if Hitler is elected Chancellor, the fascists win.
It sounds complicated, but Secret Hitler has smooth and quick gameplay that's addictive and sure to start a conversation around the table.
Literally, everyone is on the hype train for Among Us. Just earlier this week, popular public figure Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streamed it on Twitch to raise awareness about voting in the upcoming election in The United States.
However, plenty of other social deduction games are worth checking out. Additionally, many of them are free-to-play! Personally, Secret Hitler is one of my favorites, with plenty of sneaky trickery and hilarious moments. With everyone playing social deduction games, there's never been a better time to jump in and find a traitor in your midst!