Foamstars splashes onto the scene as a bubbly new take on competitive shooters from Square Enix. Right off the bat, this soap-sudsy game hits you with its playful personality. It’s all about blasting opponents with colorful foam instead of bullets, with a hip soundtrack and flashy arenas straight out of a neon carnival.
Unlike gritty shooters, the goal here is to “chill” foes rather than kill them. Yeah, it’s a bit silly, but Foamstars fully embraces the lighthearted fun. When you soak enemies enough, they get trapped in big wibbly wobbly foam balls. Then you can surf over, bash into them, and send ’em straight to the showers!
It definitely feels chaotic at first, with foam flying every which way. But once you get the hang gliding around on soap streams and start pulling off stylish saves and chills, man is it satisfying. This ain’t your average competitive shooter. Foamstars marches to the beat of its own funky drum, bursting with bubbly personality from head to toe. Strap on your goggles and grab your surfboard, because it’s time to make some waves!
Soap Suds Showdown
When it comes to gameplay, Foamstars keeps it fast and loose. The core loop is all about blasting foam to chill foes, build terrain, and slide around for speed boosts. It takes some practice getting the hang of the slippery surfing mechanics, but once you find your flow state gliding on soap streams, hoo boy is it a blast!
There’s a handful of 4v4 multiplayer modes to splash around in. Smash the Star is your standard team deathmatch flavor, with a tasty twist. Rack up enough chills, and one player on the enemy crew gains buffed health as the “Star.” Take them down, and it’s game over!
Rubber Duck Party throws down some quacky payload action. Each squad’s gotta escort a giant rubber ducky to the finish line. Bust out your best dance moves on the duck’s back, and it’ll waddle forward way faster. Just watch out for enemy foam streams trying to sabotage your squad’s parade!
No matter the mode, every match devolves into bubbly chaos before long. It’s hard to keep track of friends and foes once bright mountains of foam swallow the arena. The nonstop barrage of slippery shots and splashy abilities turns up the heat too. Still, if you can embrace the madness and find that zen-like flow state, surfing and shooting becomes second nature.
Over time, the nonstop chaos does start to lose its luster though. Most characters feel samey, so team comp hardly matters. And other than hunting chill counts, objectives grow stale. Smothering arenas in a rainbow of foam stays satisfying at least. But after one too many rubber duck rodeos, I found myself craving more variety or game-flipping dynamics to keep matches spicy.
The co-op and solo modes offer something different, but still wear out their welcome fast. Repetitive horde modes only provide so much bubblegum for the brain. And while practicing movement in the training arenas is important, it lacks that addictive competitive edge. For now, Foamstars’ frothy fun feels more like a burst of sunshine than an endlessly replayable hoot. But hey, I’m game for some quick soap scuffles when friends come over!
Bubble Trouble in Bath Vegas
If you’re looking for an engrossing narrative in your competitive shooter, well, Foamstars might leave you high and dry. The premise revolves around a sudsy tournament called “Foamsmash” held in the fictional party city, Bath Vegas. You know, foam…baths…they really leaned hard into the bathtub bits for the setting here.
Anyway, Foamsmash pits quirky characters against each other as they spray polychromatic foam across garish arenas for…glory I guess? Oh and they also have to fend off “Bubble Beasties” trying to destroy “Energy Cores” that power the city. It’s about as wafer-thin of an excuse plot you can get for multiplayer matchups.
None of the characters have much depth either beyond surface-level “hey fellow kids” style quirks. One dude is literally just a barista who shoots espresso. Another character claims she’s a penguin despite very clearly being human? The bubble baddies are equally one-note, apparently just wanting to dunk the world in foam and bubbles because…reasons?
I’ll be real, the story actively detracts from enjoyment once you realize how little sense any of it makes. Why is everyone so gung-ho to literally weaponize foam in dense population centers? What even are the stakes? And why does no one seem concerned about the environmental impact of flushing entire cities down the drain every match? Sheesh.
A party game like this doesn’t neeeed some epic tales of good and evil. But Foamstars’ narrative amounts to nothing more than a flimsy excuse for its arena battles, without any meaningful integration into the core gameplay. Maybe if there were some single player story mode instead of repetitive horde modes. But as is, these soap opera antics had me longing for something, anything meatier to sink my teeth into.
Foamstars lets you suit up as eight flashy foam fighters out the gate, each with their own playstyle for blasting bubbles. Wanna unleash torrential foam flows? Gushing Gwyn’s your girl. Prefer pelting foes with frothy grenades? Nitro Nori’s got you covered. From rapid-fire SMGs to foam molotovs, there’s a good mix of primary fire options.
Every character also comes loaded with two abilities and an ultimate for extra spice. Gito’s shark transformation lets him zoom through foam for surprise attacks. Meanwhile Baristador’s espresso shots give your whole team a speed boost for clutch getaways or chases. The abilities recharge over time, while ultimates need filling a special meter.
You’d think wild power variations would cause balance issues, but the characters feel decently balanced so far. I never felt hopelessly outgunned going against any one foam fighter. Individual performance still matters more than squad composition, though. Since most abilities are pretty generalized damage/mobility buffs, there aren’t many chances for clever ability combos with teammates either.
Still, the roster showcases plenty of personality with their vocal one-liners and eccentric outfits. Fashion wise, you’ve got hip hop hustlers, pastel goth gals, sleek secret agents, and everything in between. I’m personally partial to Soa’s streetwear style and Tonix’s vibrant tropical shirt. Even if some looks lean a bit too hard on cliches.
And while complete cosmetic customization would be nice, the options aren’t anything to sneeze at. Beyond battle pass goodies, you can kit out your foam fighter with gun skins, flashy slideboards, and booyah-worthy emotes purchased either with hard-earned currency from matches or cold hard cash.
I do kinda wish gear loadouts impacted gameplay stats though, instead of just cosmetics. The sticker and title collections offer Hollow Knight-esque bragging rights at least! But with such a wild roster, more varied playstyles based on fashion choice could up the replay value. Even just small bonuses like extra mobility or chill power for certain looks would be dope!
Alas, the aesthetics stay surface level for now. But the characters still showcase plenty of quirky charm – even if I wish certain abilities meshed a bit better for dynamic squad strats. Just maybe cool it on the microtransactions, yeah?
Soapy Visual Splash
One thing’s for sure, Foamstars pops with personality from top to bottom. The second you boot it up, vibrant neon hues and boppin’ hip hop beats ooze charisma. Even with overly familiar anime motifs, the visuals make a statement. I’m talkin’ shimmering pink perm afros, holographic hot tubs, blinged out bathrobes – the works!
Every stage brims with flashy Vegas flair too, from ritzy hotel pool parties to straight up arena raves. Floors pulse rainbow hues in time with the music as spotlights sweep the action. Load up a lobby, and your custom lounge gets draped in glitzy decorations, from golden rubber duck statues to literal ball pits. Even with repetitive backdrop assets, it all feels energetic and lived in.
Still, once foam starts flooding across stages, things get REAL messy REAL fast. It’s nearly impossible to track all 10 players amidst mountains of multicolored suds, leading to constant blindside attacks. The visual cacophony pairs well with Foamstars’ embrace of chaos, but good luck figuring out optimal placements or enemy positions once mounds of foam swallow the stage.
The splishy-splashy sound design helps immerse you in soap-slinging. Bullets burst with bubbly gusto, abilities deliver explosive oomph, and streams make satisfying “shlorp” sounds when surfed on. The voice lines can get repetitive after a while, but overall the audio mixes perfectly with the wild and bubbly atmosphere. Each chill rings out with a satisfying “pop!”, complimenting the hip soundtrack and effusive sound effects.
With more variety in environments over time, Foamstars has strong foundations for visual flair despite readability issues once soap suds start flying. And while some assets like menus feel very “stock Unreal Engine,” it’s the little touches that sell the experience, from rainbow trails when grinding rails to how abilities create splashes of color amidst the foamy chaos. Now if only I could actually see opponents coming before they chill me again!
Making Waves in Accessibility
Considering Foamstars’ bubbly, family-friendly vibe, I hoped accessibility options would make it smooth sailing for all seafarers. Sadly, the current offerings feel more like barely staying afloat than totally making waves.
On the positive side, you’ve got anti-seasickness basics like subtitle and colorblind toggles for visual clarity. No need to walk the plank if you’ve got visual impairment troubles! The ability to remap every button brings flexibility for limited mobility as well. You can even enable motion aiming with the gyro for more intuitive soap slinging courtesy of the DualSense’s sixaxis sensors.
But that’s about it for now. No menu narration, alternative inputs, or other communication assist features in sight. And while teaming upcrossplay-style with PC crews could open the door for more adaptive hardware down the line, you’re stuck with a controller for the foreseeable tide cycles.
Plus, considering the importance of spatial orientation and reaction time in Foamstars’ high speed skirmishes, more difficulty and visibility assists could help struggling swimmers stay afloat. Where’s the high contrast mode? How about target locking or traversal assists? Even just a simple aim assist or outbound damage buff would make battles more navigable for newcomers.
Don’t get me wrong – what’s here provides a solid starting point accessibility wise! But for a modern multiplayer shooter that pressures fast adaptation, Foamstars’ limited options may still leave some players fighting challenging waters. Let’s hope future content expansions bring smoother sailing ahead for all budding deckhands! Because at the end of the day, chillin’ and spilling suds with friends should be fun for everyone.
Soap Scum Economics
I’ll just come out and say it: Foamstars’ monetization systems leave a scummy residue. Usually I can overlook optional cosmetics priced for whales, but the scale here goes beyond money grubbing into straight up bad faith territory. We’re talking $15 skins. $50 bundles. $10 season passes that gate playable characters. It’s…a lot.
Let’s break down exactly how Foamstars tries to suds folks. First off, most cosmetics require Gleamstones, the premium currency bought with real world dough. We’re talking gun skins, blinged out boards, flashy costumes, the works. Prices range from 100 Gleamstones (~$1) for stickers up to 2,000 (~$20) for entire outfits.
Then you’ve got the Foampass, aka the premium battle pass. It unlocks exclusive cosmetic rewards across 100 levels for 950 Gleamstones a pop. Free players can still earn characters apparently, but prepare for a long grind. Oh and DLC fighters like Mel T? Foampass exclusive for the first month after launch.
And NONE of these cosmetics buff your stats or abilities. It’s all just drip for the sake of drip. Yet even after dropping $30+ just for access, they still squeeze you for more at every corner. It’d be comical if it wasn’t so greedy.
I don’t necessarily mind paying up front for a quality multiplayer experience. But that initial buy-in should give you everything gameplay affecting off rip. Gatekeeping characters for weeks and emphasizing greedy season passes spits in the face of players just looking to compete on even ground.
Even free players suffer from these inflated cosmetic prices poisoning progression too. It’ll apparently take dozens of hours grinding to afford even one measly outfit. So get ready to face nothing but default skins online!
Look, games cost money to run, I get it. But Foamstars wants to nickel and dime you harder than a shady carwash expecting tips. There’s gotta be a better way to fund development without normalizing $60 skin bundles. Because right now? This Bubble Economy seems primed to eventually burst.
Foamstars is a bubbly breath of fresh air at times, but fails to make enough waves in the competitive shooter space to earn an enthusiastic recommendation. Repetitive matches, thin theming, and outrageous monetization schemes hold back the sudsy fun. Still, slick movement and chaotic 4v4 face-offs will delight casual players looking for some quick laughs without committing to a main.
- Slick surfing mechanics
- Chaotic and fast-paced matches
- Colorful visual style and hip soundtrack
- Goofy premise and quirky characters
- Repetitive game modes
- Predatory microtransactions
- Messy visuals once foam covers stages
- Superficial narrative and themes