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Foamstars Review - Time To Lather Up!

Nick Shively Posted:
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Did you ever just have the urge to drown a bunch of knock-off anime characters with foam in a giant bathtub? Yeah, me neither, but that’s what we get with Foamstars. For whatever reason, Square Enix decided that it needed a non-lethal, casual, online-only shooter to compete with the plethora of other online hero shooters and battle-royale games on the market. How does it compare to the competition? Well, it definitely stands out, but not necessarily in a good way.

Bubble Trouble

When I first saw Foamstars advertised with scantily clad women playing in bubbles, I assumed it would be a more adult-oriented take on Splatoon. However, after playing the game, I realized it’s more like a crossover between Splatoon and Overwatch. There also really isn’t any adult content or themes in the game, despite it initially seeming like it could go that route. A couple of the girls are in gym attire, but it doesn’t get any riskier than that.

At its core, Foamstars is a third-person hero shooter; it’s very similar to something like Global Agenda, albeit in a simpler and more condensed form. Currently, there are eight characters to choose from in Foamstars, each with a different main weapon and set of skills. 

The weapons are pretty standard class, mimicking shotguns, rifles, pistols, and missile launchers, except they shoot giant, slow-moving balls of foam. For the most part, skills are what you would expect as well. Most characters have a movement or defensive ability and some type of bomb. For example, Agito can move underground quickly and throw an exploding Shuriken, while Soa has an aerial dash and bomb. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as Tonix who has a turret and a homing bomb (surprise!), but overall none of the characters are that complicated to figure out.

In addition to their standard weapon and normal skills, each character also has a Superstar Skill that needs to be charged up. These really set each character apart and can be completely game-changing if you happen to time them right. For example, Jet Justice can create a giant dome that repels enemy attacks while Rave Breaker can throw out a giant bomb that sucks up enemies in the area.

Bath Time

In Foamstars, there are two different types of game modes: Missions and Versus. Missions are the PvE game mode that can be played solo or in teams, but they essentially act as tutorials. Mostly, they’re wave defense mini-games where you try to stop an onslaught of foam baddies from destroying your energy core. While these missions are relatively easy, they do provide some background story content for the characters; however, the conversations are not skippable and not always that interesting.

The Versus game modes are likely where most players will be heading in Foamstars. Smash the Star is the main competitive match where teams will face off in an arena, attempting to eliminate their foes. Once 7 enemies have been eliminated, one of their players is designated the ‘All-Star.’ In order to win, you have to defeat the opposing team’s All-Star; it doesn’t matter how many other players you eliminate, only the All-Star matters.

I actually found this to be quite a cool game mode as it allows for a variety of strategies and offers opportunities to make a comeback. One match, my team was down to its All-Star before the enemy lost a single player. Despite finally losing in the end, we could still rally and summon the enemy team’s All-Star before ours went down.

In Happy Bath Survival, 2 players from each team face off in the middle, and the team that wins two rounds is the victor. While the four players duel it out in the arena, the spectators can shoot foam and use other special abilities to help out their allies. I wasn’t as big of a fan of this mode simply because it felt too chaotic with so much happening inside of a tiny arena.

Finally, Rubber Duck Party is a tug-of-war style mode where teams will fight over control of a giant rubber duck in the center of the stage. Once you gain control of it, the duck will advance toward the opposing goal, and the team that scores or makes it the farthest wins. I’ve personally always liked objective-based game modes, so I found this to be the most interesting. Unfortunately, it’s unavailable and rotates on a schedule with Happy Bath Survival, while Smash the Star is always active.

Content Drought

If Foamstars was truly a free-to-play game, I might not be so hard on its lack of content as plenty of great games have only a handful of modes available. However, Foamstars is supposed to only remain free with PlayStation Plus until March, and then it will be available to purchase for $29.99. This will definitely hurt its longevity. Furthermore, it’s also loaded to the brim with microtransactions, such as outfits and, of course, a Season Pass, which immediately unlocks a new character who is otherwise gated behind reaching Season Level 31.

In general, what’s available just doesn’t feel good enough to keep players engaged. The PvE missions are basically tutorials and don’t have much replay value. There are 3 Versus modes, but only two are active at any given time, and the arenas are pretty small without offering much variety. Some of the characters are definitely fun to play, but overall the skill ceiling seems pretty low due to the wide area of most of the abilities and weapons. Despite generally enjoying online PvP games, I can’t see myself returning to Foamstars too often with its current content selection.

Reviewed on PS5.

6.5 Okay
Pros
  • Interesting selection of characters
  • Unique, stylized aesthetic
  • Free with PlayStation Plus
Cons
  • Lacking Content
  • Tons of microtransactions
  • Nothing we haven’t already seen in an online shooter


Nick_Shively

Nick Shively