At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, the upcoming competitive multiplayer shooter Foamstars was playable. I went hands-on for a few rounds in a live 4v4 battle. What I came away with actually surprised me.
When Foamstars was announced back in May at the PlayStation State of Play, it was almost universally mocked for looking like a Splatoon clone. Today after playing the game I can honestly say, there is some truth to that. With that said, Foamstars is a fun game. It has just as much potential to become the next Overwatch as it does the next Rainbow Six Extraction.
What Is Foamstars?
With Foamstars, it is not about how much space you cover, it is a traditional shooter in the sense that you have to shoot the other team to reduce their health and win. Although, you will traverse faster in the area that you have covered. Once you have reduced an enemy’s health to zero, a slide attack with knock them out of the game until they respawn.
With our demo, we played one of the two announced game modes. In Smash The Star, you have a designated sole survivor on your team. When they are knocked out the game is over. With the continuous respawns and the map filling up with foam, it creates a level of chaotic excitement I have not felt since the launch of Fall Guys.
The second game mode (which we did not get to play) is called Happy Bath Survival. Publisher Square Enix describes the second mode as, “A battle where two players are placed in the arena, and two out of the arena. Knock out the opponents in the arena to win! The battle will continue until one team’s two combatants are knocked out. Players out of the arena can support their allies and also obstruct the other team. There is a maximum of three rounds, and the team to get two wins will be crowned the victors.”
Will It Be Enough To Succeed?
I like the idea of having asymmetrical modes and I hope they lean on that. At the same time, I hope for classic modes like Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. One thing is for sure, it would be a terrible mistake for Square Enix to launch Foamstars in a minimum viable product state, and then add free content later. With how quickly Live Service games are coming and going, I think it is important to put your best foot forward. Part of me wonders, if Foamstars is going to be a $70 retail game, should there be an offline component or some sort of campaign?
While there has not been a lot of content announced, there are eight characters in total, each acting as its own class. It feels like enough to start with but, they should add more. Foamstars is not a fighting game where competitive balance has to go under a microscope. If Overwatch can launch with 21 characters in 2016, Square can find a way to get to 15 or so.
The core differences between each character are how wide versus how long they spray the foam. Someone releasing a wide load of foam, may not shoot that far. Yet someone with a longer hose may not cover as much space. Aside from that, each Foamstar has its own set of special attacks. The L1 and R1 buttons allow you to release a timed special attack with a cooldown clock. The Superstar Skill is built up through combat, and then initiated by pressing triangle.
Foamstars Open Beta Party Next Week
As for how much fun Foamstars is, you will not have to wait long to see for yourself. There is an “Open Beta Party” next week. From 9:00 PM ET on September 29th, through the entire weekend, PS5 owners will be able to play an open public beta.
As for the game’s release, there is no window yet given but, with how little content they have announced, it should not be rushed. When it does launch, it will be exclusive to PS4 and PS5. There is no planned PC release yet and it will be a console exclusive long term.