The new Fortnite Imposters mode sure seems like the AAA-version of Among Us, but for all its fun it feels more like a hastily commissioned remake with an expensive sheen draped across it.
Fortnite Impostors has been accused by Among Us developer Innersloth, and members of the community, of being a copycat of the 2018 indie title, which is itself a creative adaptation of the party game Mafia (or Werewolf). And while Innersloth co-founder Marcus Bromander took to Twitter to say the company "didn't patent Among Us mechanics," he's quick to ask "is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it?"
It's easy to understand why Bromander feels this way. The Fortnite Imposters mode has arrived with an almost identical concept, mechanics, map, and opening cinematic. As a result, Fortnite: Imposters is perhaps a little too much like Among Us. But despite the rampant similarities, and Epic Games' attempt to replicate the indie's success, Fortnite: Imposters is still nowhere near as good as the game it has drawn so much inspiration from.
One of the main appeals of Among Us is the back-and-forth that occurs when bodies are reported or an emergency meeting is called. It's during these moments that players must suss out what's going on and who a potential Impostor is among the group by chatting with each other via an open messaging system. Since you can type whatever you want, a players' innocence or guilt can be determined thanks to little more than an improperly used punctuation mark.
If you come out too strong, accusing people left and right, others may think you're sus. If you're quiet when being accused, you could easily get booted into space even if you're innocent. It really is like trying to prove your innocence in front of a jury of your peers – if all of your peers were 3 foot tall, 96-lb beings known only as crewmates.
The nuance of freely arguing your case is lost in Fortnite Impostors, where a conversation wheel acts as your only way of communicating. While it's fairly extensive – allowing you to accuse people, claim your innocence, state where bodies were found, and ask questions – it's still restrictive. It feels especially restrictive when compared to Among Us, where I've gotten in heated altercations over whether or not I should be vented into space with someone wearing a poo on their head.
It's also a helluva lot easier to trust another person in Among Us when they can say, "If [accused character] isn't the Impostor, then you can vote me out next." It's that kind of conviction that makes decision-making easier, which in turn makes games go by at a snappy pace. The conversation wheel in Fortnite: Imposter can be clunky and the time it takes you to navigate means discussions drag on, often with no conclusion. After sixty seconds of stunted conversation, you're thrust back out into the map to try and get back to a task – which by the way gets reset every time a discussion takes place.
The vibrant and busy world of Fortnite just isn't the right fit for an Among Us-style game. The first few times I play and am a victim of the Impostor, I can't even tell what the cinematic is that "kills" me – it happens way too fast, and usually while a red light flashes, an alarm blares, music thumps, and everyone is dressed like Peely. In Among Us, if you're killed you're treated to a brief cinematic that's surprisingly grotesque and will often leave you temporarily speechless as you try and come to terms with your untimely demise. It's simple, yet effective – a phrase I don't think can typically be applied to Fortnite.
Then there's the Fortnite Impostor's discussion room, which already feels like a slog thanks to the discussion wheel, but is made infinitely more frustrating by the ability to emote during it. Players can use either their locker emotes or special game-specific emotes that include pointing a finger, beckoning someone, or shaking their head in disagreement. At first, I can't help but laugh as a giant fish-man sobs while being accused of killing Rick Sanchez in the sleeping quarters, but the novelty quickly grows stale. There's nothing more annoying than trying to quickly cycle through the conversation wheel while someone is doing a TikTok dance on repeat, or noticing several players are doing lounge emotes instead of participating in the discussion.
The way action itself is handled can also feel unnecessarily frantic, thanks to the way Epic has implemented its version of Among Us' systems and mechanics. The impostors have way too short of a cooldown when doing their sabotage abilities – it seems like there's a Peely party every two minutes, where players are all turned into Peely so the impostor can get some kills while in disguise. And since the discussions disrupt fetch tasks, I'm often impatiently bouncing my knee during the drawn-out conversations, knowing I was a few feet away from delivering an object just to have to go back and do it all over again.
All of this hustle and bustle makes it tough to suss out what the hell is going on, which makes it very difficult to flush out impostors. With all the blinking lights, vibrant colors, and wildly different tasks that include ordering lunch, practicing boxing, and throwing treats to a dog, Fortnite Impostors feels like Epic has unnecessarily complicated a brilliant formula. The result is an experience with pacing that rapidly oscillates between too fast and too slow, leaving you with whiplash. Just when you think you get your bearings and are about to successfully smash all of the crystals out of the comm room, you turn into a giant banana.
Fortnite Impostors has its fun moments. The varied minigames can be confusing to figure out at first but are often enjoyable to complete. However, a few fun side tasks can't make up for what feels like a game mode trying desperately to stuff Fortnite into an Among Us suit.
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