I’ve never hidden my disdain for Nintendo’s on-going quest to create underpowered gaming machines. I feel that while it’s smart (cheap machines means more profit!) it’s also a disservice to the hardcore gamers who want a Nintendo machine that can keep up with Sony’s and Microsoft’s. I’ve always wanted to play Splatoon but never had the chance because of Nintendo’s crappy Nintendo Network and the piddling Switch. While Splatoon going multiplatform is out of the question, Square Enix is trying to fill that void with FOAMSTARS.
Due to Bandai Namco help, we got to go hands-on with the game for a couple of rounds at TGS 2023.
Surprisingly, it’s pretty good!
FOAMSTARS is a third person shooter which borrows some elements from Splatoon, a dab of inspiration from hero shooters (like Valorant and Overwatch) and then makes it all bubbly! It’s a weird niche (come on, who has a bubblebath fetish out there?) but it makes for some cool gameplay.
We tried 2 four on four FOAMSTARS during our session, paired up with and against some Japanese media. Hero selection was available, but since we didn’t have a lot of time to look through the roster, we just chose whoever was already preselected on the demo machine.
Combat was fun and really hectic. Bubbles were everywhere! Piles and piles of it! You’re actually encouraged to spray as much bubbles on the map in FOAMSTARS as on your opponents because your team moves faster while you’re on your colored bubbles!
It’s a game of movement as much as it is a team deathmatch.
Our FOAMSTARS demo matches also had an interesting twist; you don’t K.O. if you’re foamed up. Instead, you’re encased in a foam ball and need to be slid at to knock you out. If your teammates manage to slide into you while you’re encased, you’ll be freed and able to return to the fight.
It’s a cool mechanic and reminds me of military shooters (like Call of Duty and its Kill Confirmed and Search & Destroy modes), where being downed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the game.
The 2 FOAMSTARS matches we were able to play weren’t able to give us a ton of insight into the game, but it did show us some nifty gameplay, a lot of puns (the game’s apparently set in Bath Vegas!) and really has the potential to be a standout title…IF players pick up on it.
Like it or not, without players, a game like FOAMSTARS will fizzle out faster than you can say pop.