Years ago, Nintendo developed a fun formula for a family-friendly shooter. The development team named it Splatoon, and it has become a very successful franchise. Square Enix noticed Splatoon's success and decided to see if their development team could replicate it. The result of that experiment has arrived with Foamstars. Foamstars features both single and four versus four action. The story in Foamstars revolves around saving Bath Vegas from Bubble Beasties.
The single-player campaign in Foamstars has a very light story. Bath Vegas finds itself in trouble and at the mercy of Bubble Beasties. The game introduces the main antagonist but then never shows him again. The Foamstars get called to eradicate the problem before the Bubble Beasties foam the entire world. Foamstars features eight different protagonists. Each has their own weapon and powers.
Repetitive Missions Drag Down the Experience
While going through the campaign, each Foamstar also has its own story. Each Foamstar has three missions to complete. On the surface, that isn't a problem. However, when the game repeatedly gives the player the same mission, the repetitiveness sets in quickly. Each Foamstar has a backstory; however, the overall story turns out the same for each one. The locations need protection from the Bubble Beasties, despite the player having done that multiple times already with a different character.
It feels like this campaign became an afterthought for the development team, with its only purpose being to serve as a tutorial. There isn't anything wrong with using a campaign to train someone to be competitive in multiplayer, but at least change it up. Don't force the player to play the same stages repeatedly.
Upgrade Your Experience To Stop the World From Getting Foamed
Foamstars features two types of missions—the “Foamstar Mission” and the “Squad Mission” and the ability to upgrade energy cores. The “Foamstar Mission” features the single-player action mentioned above. The “Squad Mission” allows players to play with up to three others in a wave-based format. Players can set the difficulty to either normal or hard. Then, once paired with other players, the goal revolves around surviving against ten waves of increasingly difficult enemies. Playing with others can be more fun than the single-player missions on offer. However, a lot depends on team dynamics and whether or not everyone can work together to survive the onslaught.
As the player goes through these missions, players will earn enough currency to upgrade the core powers. These include increasing shot power, using skills more frequently, using the liquid in the game more efficiently, decreasing the time it takes to reload a weapon, and more. Each power has different associated levels, going up to level nine. By the time the weapon's power gets completely leveled up, for example, the power has increased by forty percent. Depending on individual playstyle, this could give the player an edge against the enemy.
Multiplayer Would Be Better Without Limited-Time Modes
Moving over to the multiplayer portion of the game, Foamstars offers a number of events to try out. For starters, “Smash the Star” utilizes the standard four versus four, team-based format. This mode will be the standard team death match with a twist. As a character chills (the family-friendly way of saying taking out the enemy) an opponent, the opposition's count gets closer to zero. Once that number gets reached, the game selects the best player from the other team. Once the game does that, a team must focus on that star player.
Once the star player gets taken out, the game ends. The next mode, “Happy Bath Survival,” features round-based action. The concept revolves around a team having two players on the battlefield while the other two players go to the sideline. Those players don't sit around, though, as it becomes their responsibility to support the two on the battlefield in an effort to eliminate the opposition.
Foamstars also features some limited-time events. The concept can be easy to understand but frustrating for players who want to play their favorite mode, but it isn't available then. Splatoon had a similar issue in the past, where players enjoyed some of the limited-time modes, which would annoy players when the modes left.
One of the modes in question for Foamstars can be pretty fun. The “Rubber Duck Party” mode revolves around taking the rubber duck from center stage and putting it into an opponent's goal. The first team to do that wins. For those who want competitive action, “Ranked Party Lonestar” might be the way to go. This mode has different ranks the player can earn, promising it will match players close to skill level. For those who want to set the rules, “Private Party” lets players select the parameters for the game and pick the stages to play on.
Customize Your Experience as a Foamstar
In addition to the gameplay, Foamstars also offers a decent amount of customization. Players can customize the Foamstars, use different stamps and emotes, change their player cards, and more. Foamstars also has a shop where players can spend real-world money on costume sets, weapon sets, and other accessories. In addition to all of that, the player can customize the lounge.
This location will be the player's home when not playing a round, either through single-player or multiplayer. In the lounge, players can switch to decoration mode, which allows a good amount of customization for a home space. This includes being able to pick the floor, whatever plants might be in the lounge, the furniture that will occupy the space, the signs that might be up, and much more. Some items will be available initially, and others will become available by completing in-game challenges. This feature offers fun to those who like to customize their space.
Foamstars Doesn't Live Up to Its Inspiration
The gameplay for Foamstars flows well and doesn't require much skill to pick up. Unfortunately, Foamstars does not have the charm or appeal of the franchise from which it draws its inspiration. Due to their repetitive nature, players will quickly abandon the story missions. That becomes problematic because the development team could have done something cool here.
Instead, they produced a fairly average game. The multiplayer, though fun, misses a hook that will keep people interested in the long run. The game plays well, and many people will try it out thanks to Foamstars being a free game for PlayStation Plus members for February. It will be interesting to see how long those players stick around, especially with bigger titles arriving on the platform soon.
Rating: 6/10 Specs