A fun and unique shooter that might not last unless they make some changes | Review - FOAMSTARS

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✨Overview FOAMSTARS is a 4v4 online party shooter with PvE coop elements, that challenges players to utilize foam-based weaponry to attack, defend, and strategically manipulate terrain in fast-paced multiplayer battles. With a diverse roster of characters, each equipped with unique abilities and foam guns, players engage in frantic competition across various game modes. The game has recently launched today for PS Plus subscribers with an option to buy it full come next month on March 5, 2024. 🟩Pros +Fun highly team based casual gameplay +PvE game modes both Solo and Coop +Refreshing PvP game modes +Vibrant art style and excellent presentation +Diverse roster of characters 🟥Cons -Slow and unengaging gunplay if you’re looking to play it like a shooter -In-app purchases on top of a need for a subscription or initial purchase -Lack of split-screen support ⭐️Score: 7/10
📖Story and Premise While the emphasis of FOAMSTARS is tightly focused on its vibrant multiplayer arena, there is still a hint of storytelling and world-building elements included in the game, particularly in its Missions PvE game mode. As the world's premier sports event, the Foamsmash tournament gathers these capable athletes called Foamstars to showcase their skills, wit, and charisma in a spectacle of foam-fueled competition. Set in the bustling city of Bath Vegas, players find themselves amidst a backdrop of chaos and conflict as monstrous invaders threaten to destroy the city's precious energy cores. As Foamstars, players must rise to the challenge, defending their home turf against the relentless onslaught of creatures bent on destruction. 🎨Visuals and Art FOAMSTARS features a vibrant and colorful art style that perfectly complements its eccentric cast of characters and dynamic gameplay. The graphics aren’t aiming for a realistic look and are all stylized, but they still look impressive, bringing Bath Vegas to life with its neon-lit streets, towering skyscrapers, and vibrant color design. The character designs are quirky and imaginative, with each Foamstar sporting their own unique look and personality. The soundtrack is also a banger and fits the chaotic fun nature of the game quite nicely. How the matches are presented also comes with lively in-game commentary and audible audience cheers that makes it feel like you’re watching a Live broadcast. 🎮Gameplay FOAMSTARS is a multiplayer party shooter that prioritizes fast-paced action and strategic team-based gameplay. Contestants use foam to attack, defend, and strategically alter terrain to their advantage. The gameplay is like Splatoon but with a twist, using foams and bubbles instead of inks. It’s not a complete copy, more like just an inspiration, as the gameplay here and matches are much different. To start off, players choose from a diverse roster of Foamstars, each with their own unique foam gun with its unique way of shooting foam or bubbles. It can be long range, shotgun type, or a spray type of projectile, or many more. Some weapons will have a charged shot in addition to the regular shot.  Players can unleash foam attacks to disorient opponents, create slippery surfaces for mobility by way of Surfing and Sliding around, or erect defensive barriers to shield themselves from enemy fire. When you down an enemy, you need to slide-kick them to fully eliminate them from the competition. On the other hand, teammates revive each other by similarly slide-kicking downed allies. All characters will have two abilities and one ultimate, which can change the tide of battle ranging from offensive foam attacks to defensive utilities. Whether it's laying down slippery terrain to skate around the arena at high speeds or creating vantage points to take out opponents, FOAMSTARS offers a wide range of tactical options to suit every playstyle.  You can customize each character’s appearance using cosmetics unlocked through the course of playing the game or buy spending real money via the in-app store; together with your very own customizable personal space called the Personal Lounge. ⚔️Controls and Combat The controls are responsive, including movement, surfing, and using abilities. However, the gunplay is a little slow-paced and unengaging despite the chaotic nature, as the projectiles are slow and have limited range. It's more of a proverbial tug-of-war between two teams instead of an outright battle of firepower. It loses a bit of the fun factor, especially if you’re playing it like a shooter. 📜Game Modes FOAMSTARS features a plethora of game modes that cater to both PvP and PvE players, mainly with its Missions and Versus game modes. 💥Versus (PvP) Versus is a fun game mode. It doesn't have the typical run of the mill team-based deathmatches, capture the flag, or conquest game modes; Instead, it offers refreshing team-based matches that focuses on empowering and supporting teammates. The main Versus mode is 'Smash the Stars,' which starts off like a Team Deathmatch (TDM) but transitions into a Protect the VIP-style gameplay later on. Two teams duke it out, 'chilling' each other until the respawn points of each opposing team reach zero. At that point, a Star Player will be assigned that will need to be protected by their other three teammates, who will have unlimited respawns. The first team to eliminate the opposing star player wins. To simply put, TDM first to determine who’s the star player, then it’s now a battle to eliminate the opposting team’s star player to win. There are other modes too like the Rubber Duck party, which is a objective-based push mode that pits two teams escorting an giant Rubber Duck across the map. Happy Bath Survival is a much more support-based format, where teams are divided into two: two supports on the sidelines shooting foams and abilities on the environment to assist the combatants, while two combatants duke it out inside the arena against the other team's two combatants. As mentioned before, all the Versus modes are fun overall and feels very refreshing. The support-based casual gameplay makes it highly encouraging to play. The only thing missing is a color lock/preference option as it can be quite confusing to remember what color you are in the heat of the moment. 🌍Missions (PvE) The PvE modes are primarily wave defender modes, but the solo and coop experiences are very different. The solo experience is more casual, serving as a glorified tutorial for the player to learn each character. Each character gets their own set of three missions that involve wave defense with a bit of small dialogues in between serving as background story/lore. On the other hand, the coop mode is much harder and can only be played on two maps for now: the medium or the hard map. Every wave, players are also given a choice between three upgrades, similar to a rogue-like system, ranging from faster reloads to powerful damage. Eventually, players can upgrade their ‘cores’, meaning they improve their character permanently, exclusively for these PvE missions only. 🕹 No local/shared screen multipalyer I apologize for expecting much more than the game offered, but FOAMSTARS would have greatly benefited if it added split-screen support, mainly for the coop PvE missions. I wouldn’t mind Versus mode having it as well. It would also have slightly boosted player numbers and given it multiplayer life outside of a PS Plus subscription and server/playerbase dependencies. It just seems like wasted opportunity that I hope the developers can implement in the future. 💵Monetization The game is available now for all PS Plus subscribers, regardless of Tier. But the game will be available for a direct purchase at around $30 next month, on March 5. On top of a subscription/purchases, the game still has in-app purchases for cosmetics, which is a little bit disheartening. They could have just made it a completely free-to-play game like Fall Guys or Rocket League now, and likely in the future that will be the route that they can take. ⚖️Conclusion FOAMSTARS presents an engaging and casual multiplayer experience with its distinctive foam-based gameplay mechanics, diverse game modes, and captivating presentation. While the game offers fast-paced battles and cooperative PvE missions, its much of the main focus is on team-based PvP modes that is unfortunately hindered by the lack of splitscreen support, making it highly dependent on the playerbase. Unfortunately, the current pricing model, either through a subscription or outright purchase, limits accessibility and may affect long-term player retention.
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