Foamstars review: Chaotic, colourful shooter lacks depth

Foamstars review: Chaotic, colourful shooter lacks depth
Images via Toylogic

Written by 

Daniel Megarry

Published 

16th Feb 2024 17:10

I hope your prescription is up to date, because Foamstars is going to put your eyesight through the wringer. Not only is this bubblegum shooter a colourful assault on the senses, but it also has some of the worst visibility I’ve ever experienced in a multiplayer game.

While Nintendo’s beloved shooter Splatoon - a clear reference point for this new game - sees you squirt paint over surfaces and other players, Foamstars opts for neon-coloured foam, which builds up over time and leaves your surroundings coated in the fluffy stuff.

I love the concept, but in practice, it becomes incredibly difficult to spot your opponents or distinguish them from your teammates. Before anyone says this is a skill issue, everyone I’ve spoken to who’s played the game has agreed that visibility is one of Foamstars' biggest downfalls.

GGRecon Verdict

There’s a lot to like about Foamstars, but there’s unfortunately a lot to dislike, too. I appreciate that it goes all-in on the candy-coloured visuals and embraces its silliness, and there’s something to be said for the adrenaline rush it provides in standard 4v4 matches.

But with a poor story mode offering, wildly expensive microtransactions, and visibility issues that really hamper gameplay, I can't see Foamstars making waves in the sea of multiplayer shooters that already exist.

A feast for the senses

It’s a shame about the visibility issues, because the game's presentation is lovely. I'll take bold, bright colours over realism any day, and Foamstars is full of them - characters sport garish hairstyles with matching outfits, the arenas you battle in glow with neon lights, and the foam itself takes on lovely pastel hues.

The core gameplay is fun, too! Smash The Star is the main versus mode, where two teams of four compete to reach a set amount of eliminations before knocking out the ‘star’ team member to claim victory.

Although those visibility issues I mentioned earlier are frustrating, it’s a rush when you do manage to get a few eliminations and take the victory.

A Smash the Star match in Foamstars
Click to enlarge

Then there are two rotating modes; Rubber Duck Party, which tasks you with capturing the giant rubber duck at the centre of the arena and taking it back to your base, and Happy Bath Survival, where two team members go in for the chill (no, you’re not allowed to say ‘kill’ in Foamstars) and the other two assist by spraying foam from above.

Chaotic is the best word I can use to describe Foamstars' gameplay. It won’t be for everyone - I needed a lie down after a few hours of playing - but I do appreciate that the game goes balls-to-the-wall with its presentation and gameplay.

I imagine younger gamers, especially, will find this very appealing, which could make it a good ‘my first shooter’ experience.

Paint me like one of your Foamstars

There are eight characters to choose from in Foamstars at launch, a relatively small offering for a multiplayer shooter, especially as one of them (Mel T) is locked behind a Battle Pass.

The character selection screen in Foamstars
Click to enlarge

The good news is that each Foamstar plays fairly differently with their strengths and weaknesses. Some, like Tonix and The Baristador, favour long-range takedowns, while others like Rave Breaker and Agito require you to get up close and personal with your rivals if you want to chill them.

Each character also has two flashy abilities and an ultimate move, all of which complement their playstyle or make up for their shortcomings. Agito's shotgun, for example, has terrible range, but his Storm Shot 2EX ability chucks an exploding shuriken at far-off rivals.

Story missions are a washout

Outside of traditional multiplayer matches, there are Foamstar Missions, which offer bitesize story modes for each character to play through. This is the game’s attempt to add lore for its cast, but it’s so uninspired and repetitive that I can’t imagine anyone playing for long enough to actually learn anything about them.

In my first mission, I was tasked with protecting an energy core from an onslaught of generically cute Bubble Beasties. In my second mission, I did the same. In the third mission… oh look, more of the same.

I switched to another character hoping for some variety, but no, it was the same wave of Bubble Beasties to foam up - just with a different backdrop and some slapdash story-based dialogue.

A story mission in Foamstars
Click to enlarge

These missions feel like an attempt to add some extra value to the game, but they just come off as lazy. You're not missing anything if you skip over them.

They cost how much?!

Foamstars also sinks a little too deep into the microtransaction well for my liking. The premium Battle Pass is a reasonable £4.99, but cosmetic bundles range from £6.49 to a whopping £36.99. It's incredibly hard to justify spending that much on a few outfits and weapon decals.

Expensive cosmetics are nothing new, sure, but Foamstars is a game that's going to cost £24.99 for anyone who doesn't claim it from PlayStation Plus in February. Stuffing a paid-for title with cosmetic microtransactions is something that never sits right with me, and I know plenty of people feel the same way.

The Verdict

There’s a lot to like about Foamstars, but there’s unfortunately a lot to dislike, too. I appreciate that it goes all-in on the candy-coloured visuals and embraces its silliness, and there’s something to be said for the adrenaline rush it provides in standard 4v4 matches.

But with a poor story mode offering, wildly expensive microtransactions, and visibility issues that really hamper gameplay, I can't see Foamstars making waves in the sea of multiplayer shooters that already exist.

2.5/5

Reviewed on PlayStation 5. A code for the Battle Pass was provided by the publisher.

Daniel is GGRecon’s Deputy Guides Editor. He graduated from university with a degree in Journalism & English Language before covering video games and LGBTQ+ culture at publications including Gay Times and Dexerto. His favourite games include Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, and anything Nintendo. You can reach him on [email protected].