FOAMSTARS wasn’t on my “must-play” bingo card. That changed when we dove into the party-shooter-chaos crossover with Square Enix at Summer Game Fest. This game moves quickly; be ready for some messy, competitive action when you dive in with your squad of choice. Spoiler alert: I was not ready.
Two teams of four take the field to battle it out, covering the city with foam until one team is crowned victorious. This means the battlefield is coated in neon pink and blue foam while the stuff bombards players via special attacks and their…bubble guns? Sounds like a good time, if I do say so myself.
Diving into FOAMSTARS with Square Enix at Summer Game Fest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course, there are comparisons to Splatoon and plenty of visual similarities to Fortnite, so I really wasn’t sold when I first saw the trailer—and then I played it. FOAMSTARS had me hooked by probably the third round once I had my bearings and could make out what was happening on screen.
The premise is simple, in theory. Two teams of four shoot it out to become victorious. You aim to cover the field in as much of your team’s foam as possible, slowing the enemy players. You can run or surf around the map in your foam. However, if you get stuck in theirs, you’re in trouble. Once someone is stuck in the foam, a teammate can surf into them to knock them free. If you’re not fast enough, an opponent can surf into them and knock you out of the game.
Don’t worry; you respawn! The mode we played required first to seven knockouts, and we lost—hard. In each match, the strongest player becomes the “Star Player,” which means you will want to group up. With extra buffs, this player will become a target, so you’ll want to protect your star player or tear them down if they are on the enemy team.
Something to note about FOAMSTARS, if you don’t have a squad that communicates, you’re in trouble. With any other shooter like Call of Duty or Fortnite, communicating with your team is vital, and I think if we just chatted a little more, Team Pink could have come out victorious.
You will want to call out things like sticking together, knocking out enemies, or needing to be knocked yourself. I personally could have used some cover when I went in to use my Rocket Launcher while playing Mel T, as her reload speed is pretty slow to compensate for the power. I also would have liked to coordinate foam coverage, but I am a bit bossy.
You can even go so far as to coordinate which character each player chooses. There are eight characters: Rave Breaker, The Baristador, Mel T, Pen Gwyn, Tonix, Agito, Soa, and Jet Justice. Each has its own weapon type (Dual Pistols, Shot Gun, Long Hose, etc.), two skills (turrets, explosive shuriken, movement buffs, etc.), and a Super Star Skill (shark torpedo, shields, lasers, etc.), which requires charging up before you can use it. Tonix was my favorite, with a turret skill that automatically targets enemies. Whenever I used this, I became the star player of that match, so I’m pretty sure I’m team Tonix all the way.
Learning in-match will be a challenge. I definitely got knocked out every time I stopped moving long enough to check out my skills or take a look around. However, Square Enix mentioned that plenty of modes are on the way. A single-player mode will be one of them. I hope that will allow for more time to test each character and determine which playstyle suits you best.
At the moment, I am a little worried that some characters may be overpowered compared to others. I hope the team behind FOAMSTARS keeps this in mind. I appreciate a game that gives you freedom of choice and doesn’t force everyone to conform to one play style.
Right now, I believe Tonix will be a winner with her turret and Super Star Skill, an airstrike from a giant robot. Met T was another favorite of mine, with a high-powered laser, rocket launcher, and barrage of foam. Soa and The Baristador will be popular because they are just cool. I am calling it now!
Depending on its price and matchmaking/voice chat capabilities, I believe that FOAMSTARS has the power to compete with games like Fortnite and Splatoon. Square Enix has a knack for showing up with games that have you asking why (See Power Wash Simulator, not Final Fantasy XVI). Every single time they do this, they do it right.
I’m eager to check out more game modes and can’t wait to see what else FOAMSTARS offers.