PlayStation Plus Just Added the Most Unique, Soap-Soaked Shooter of the Year
The foam party of your dreams.
When you think of Square Enix you likely think of complex RPGs like Final Fantasy and NieR, but the developer is also bringing one of the most unique and colorful shooters of the year. Foamstars is a new fast-paced party shooter that feels refreshingly different from anything out there, made all the better by a vibrant and kinetic art style. Square Enix has also followed in the footsteps of games like Rocket League and Fall Guys, making Foamstars free for all PlayStation Plus users for its debut on February 6.
At its core, Foamstars is a 4v4 shooter heavily focused on teamwork, but with a spin. The key feature of Foamstars is, of course, its foam mechanics. Yes, we’re talking actual foam. This is where the most direct comparison to Splatoon comes in, as foam coats the ground in your team’s color. You can surf across your own foam, while it also slows down enemies. To score you need to “foam up” an opponent to turn them into a giant foam ball, and then surf into them for a huge knockout.
It sounds a little more complicated than it is, but what makes Foamstars is three vital aspects: gameplay speed, unique characters, and a sense of verticality. These three features work in tandem to make every match feel different and dynamic, something vital for any multiplayer shooter.
Foamstars plays at a blisteringly fast pace, focusing on ultra-quick matches where things are typically settled in less than five minutes. Supporting this is a gameplay system that’s easy to pick up, but has a surprising amount of depth. There are only a few mechanics you need to wrap your head around: shooting, surfing, and special moves. Past that, the complexity of Foamstars comes down to working together with your team and using the foam itself smartly.
Every character feels distinct in Foamstars, from the monocle-sporting Baristador who focuses on support and long-range attacks, to the shotgun-wielding Jet Justice who’s all about getting close and causing as much havoc as possible.
Characters have unique guns and abilities, as well as an Ultimate that builds up as you cover areas in foam and eliminate enemy players. For example, Soa, the face of Foamstars, has dual pistols that quickly fire out foam in a short area, and abilities that let her fire a quick forward blast and dodge to the side. These kinds of movesets make each character fill a different role, and it’s vital to make sure you’re playing off your teammate's character choices well. Soa is best as a quick character that bounces between allies supporting them, but make sure she doesn’t get surrounded by the enemy team.
Unlike the ink in Splatoon, the foam has actual weight to it and can build up into giant hills and mounds. This can create blockades to protect you from enemy foam, or high ground that you can use to gain the advantage. The foam element is brilliantly utilized and makes each match feel dynamic, forcing you to adjust on the fly. Of course, there’s even more variety when you factor in the different game modes in Foamstars, each of which puts a little twist on a typical mode.
The ‘Smash the Star’ mode is basically a deathmatch, with teams going through seven player eliminations before crowning a “star” player with boosted stats, who needs to be taken out in order to win. ‘Happy Bath Survival’ puts half of each team in the arena and half outside, with the outside team needing to support the ones inside. Finally, ‘Rubber Duck Party’ is a twist on an escort mission, where you dance on top of a giant Rubber Duck to make it move forward.
Every aspect of Foamstars is painstakingly built around the central idea of a foam party, and that’s what makes the game feel so vibrant. There’s a lot the game already has to offer, but if Square Enix can really deliver on post-launch support, Foamstars might be a new multiplayer classic that can stick around.
Foamstars is available on PS4 and PS5.
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