Despite originally coming out in 2018, it seemed everyone was playing Among Us last fall. Players clearly loved the cooperative Clue-like murderous debauchery, and other developers want a piece of that same success. Invisible Walls’s First Class Trouble now arrives to capitalize on Among Us fans who, A: are looking for a new entry in the same genre, B: didn’t love the new airship level, or C: just want more backstabbing treachery. Though certain aspects could be retouched, First Class Trouble has potential to be the next friendship-ending party game.
Set in a spaceship quickly running out of oxygen, First Class Trouble throws six players into a Great Gatsby-like 1920s party. Their collective task is to escape the ship before the residents run out of air, but there’s only one problem — two of the six players are humanoids attempting to kill and sabotage the other four. While human residents are trying to refill oxygen, complete tasks, and look for keycards to advance to the next floor, humanoids must secretly sabotage or kill the other residents as discreetly as possible. Upon reaching the end of each floor, players can vote on who they believe the humanoids are, and the player with the most votes will be ejected. Among Us players will find the entire concept quite familiar.
Striking a solid balance between comical and maniacal, First Class Trouble is a blast to play after getting one’s bearings. Whether working with friends to simultaneously open doors, grooving to the funky beats at a jukebox, or sneakily bashing someone with a champagne bottle before dragging them into a corner and killing them with an injection to the neck, the atmosphere and gameplay is surprisingly cohesive.
Coordinating with other players who may or may not be trying to kill one another is quite engaging, as some tasks involve a high risk/high reward tradeoff. For example, airtight bunkers usually contain keycards or other rare items, but one player must keep the door open while another retrieves said items. However, the person holding the door may or may not be a humanoid, and if the bunker is closed with a player inside, that player is sent plummeting into space and removed from the game. It’s a fascinating system of cat and mouse.
There is, unfortunately, no tutorial, so new players can feel a bit overwhelmed. Unless in with a full party of six, online players will be randomly assigned to fill empty spots in other games, resulting in combinations of experienced and novice players. This can also lead to being paired with players I will lovingly refer to as trolls, though most stragglers who joined my group’s games were lovely additions to the fray.
Communication is achieved through proximity chat, meaning the player can only communicate with whoever is geographically near them on the in-game map. This provides ample opportunity for mischief if two humanoids can find each other and isolate themselves. The system works well enough most of the time, but I had several occasions where other players could not hear me even though both my in-game and computer settings were synced to the correct input and output.
There’s a lot to like in First Class Trouble. Its strategic mechanics are engaging, the stress-inducing treachery is ample, and it’s just the right amount of goofy. After sanding out the audio issues and perhaps adding some more tasks and depth to each floor, those looking to throw their friends in a pool while sipping champagne should be quite content.
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