Formstars: A Refreshing and Chaotic Experience of Shooting Bubbles

From the moment it was released, this game caught my attention with its intriguing concept. Despite the presence of a well-known game in a similar category, I expected it to receive mixed reviews. However, to my surprise, the reviews remained overwhelmingly positive. Although I hadn’t played the game myself, I had heard people praising it, saying things like “It’s more enjoyable than I expected” and “It’s a great game,” which raised my expectations even further. Watching gameplay videos only intensified my curiosity about the experience of shooting those ‘bubbles’.

Finally, I had the opportunity to try ‘Form Stars’ at TGS2023, a game that everyone was raving about. And I understood why it was receiving so much praise. In fact, it was so popular that people had to wait over 100 minutes for their turn to play. Formstars truly provided a refreshing and enjoyable experience, reminiscent of Square Enix’s stealth games.

The concept of Foam Stars revolves around shooting bubbles. It is a third-person shooter where each player character uses foam bullets as their default ammunition. The eight playable characters showcased at the event had unique basic attacks and styles, such as akimbo style handguns, shotguns, rifles, launchers, charging abilities, and various types of horses. The main gameplay involves selecting a character that suits your playstyle and competing in team battles.

Players navigate the battlefield by sliding and expanding the area through bubbles. The objective is to knock down enemy players by attacking them. When a player’s HP becomes low, they transform into a ‘bubble ball’. By sliding into them with the R2 button, you can temporarily knock them out. The fallen character rejoins the battle after a set amount of time. Allies can also slide into their bubbles to remove them and restore their HP. Saving teammates who have turned into bubbles and defeating enemies are crucial aspects of the basic combat mechanics.

The game’s controls and mechanics turned out to be simpler than expected. In addition to basic shooting, players can utilize their character’s unique skills, such as dodge and movement abilities, to outmaneuver opponents. These skills strengthen each character’s individuality and can strategically impact the battlefield. Powerful skills that become available over time have a significant influence on team-based combat.

For example, the ‘Plant’ skill of the Akimbo-style character allows high jumps and leaves a trail of bullets, making hit-and-run tactics effective. On the other hand, the Melty launcher can use guided bubble bullets to deliver powerful attacks within a certain range, but is relatively weak overall, requiring protection from teammates. Each character offers different playstyles, catering to personal preferences.

The mobility provided by the bubbles adds an interesting dynamic to the gameplay. Direction changes are quick and free, and the elevation differences caused by bubble accumulation have more utility than one might expect. The battlefield landscapes constantly change due to concentrated firepower and the use of teammates’ skills, leading to unpredictable shifts in the game. During the demonstration, the players trapped the enemy star player momentarily with a wall of bubbles created by their teammate Melty, and then coordinated their firepower to defeat the star player, turning the tide of the battle.

The nature of the game’s bubbles significantly affects the gameplay. Foam bullets generally travel slow and follow a parabolic curve. This, combined with their large size, creates a short engagement distance, making it easy to hit and be hit by bullets. When hit by foam bullets, players become fluffy bubbles and eventually explode. This mechanic often leads to chaotic battles.

The landscape of the battlefield changes quickly but not as rapidly as one would expect. It takes some time to change enemy-controlled areas into friendly ones. However, once the transition occurs, creating new land becomes exponentially faster.

The game exudes a light and casual party atmosphere, where players can’t help but smile. The rapid changes in the battlefield, the challenging rules, and the need for constant alertness create a unique sense of excitement. The demonstrated game mode, ‘Smash the Star’, requires teams to knock down the opposing team seven times. The player who performs the best is designated as the ‘star player’, and defeating them leads to victory. This game mode allows for a comeback even when initially losing, as defending the star player can turn the tide.

Reflecting on the experience, I found it difficult to articulate what makes Foam Stars so enjoyable. There’s a feeling of not knowing exactly why it’s fun, but it undeniably is. It’s a game that effortlessly captivates and excites players. When analyzed, it becomes evident that Foam Stars wholeheartedly embraces the concept of bubbles. The fast-paced battles and misty bubbles enhance the overall atmosphere.

In summary, Foam Stars successfully utilizes its unique concept and showcases its own distinctive personality. The game design brilliantly captures the essence of bubbles, creating an enjoyable and engaging experience. Even after the demo ended, I yearned for more playtime. Foam Stars is easy to pick up, simple yet engaging, and offers a refreshing twist on classic shooting gameplay.

This game was somewhat interesting from the moment it appeared. Since there was already a very famous game in a similar category, I thought it would receive harsh reviews here and there, but the reviews continued to be positive. But since I haven’t tried it myself, how can I evaluate it? I just heard people say, “It’s a lot more fun than I thought” and “It’s a good game,” so my expectations were pretty high. Even when I watched the gameplay video, something seemed a bit surprising, and I was very curious about what it would feel like to shoot those ‘bubbles’.

And finally, on this TGS2023 site, I finally got the chance to try ‘Form Stars’, something that everyone was praising so much. And I understood why everyone said it was so good. In fact, perhaps because of word of mouth, it was so popular that people had to wait for more than 100 minutes for the general display at the site. To that extent, Formstars was truly a game that provided a refreshing experience and enough fun to say like Square Enix’s stealth.

▲ Formstars opens beta / content introduction video
The concept of Foam Stars can be summed up as ‘shooting bubbles’. A TPS where the default bullet for the character chosen by the player is foam. The eight types of characters that were available for display have different basic attacks and styles depending on their individuality, such as akimbo style handgun, shotgun, rifle, launcher, charging, long horse and wide horse, and AR type . The main content is where you choose the character that suits you and compete in team battles.

The player reaches the battlefield by sliding, expanding the area through bubbles and attacking the enemy players to knock them down. Here, a character whose HP is low becomes a ‘bubble ball’. If you hit him by sliding through the R2 button while he’s in a bubble, he’ll knock you out for a few seconds. After that, the flow of the basic battle continues, with the fallen character rejoining the battlefield after a set amount of time. And when you become a bubble, an ally on the same team can slide to remove the bubble and heal you. If you don’t clear the bubbles, they will explode over time and knock you out, so rescuing allies that have become bubbles and defeating enemies is the key to basic combat.

▲ Battle Summary: Bubble Bubble Pong Pong
▲ The operation is much simpler and simpler than expected.
In this not difficult process, you have to play around with your enemies by using your character’s unique ‘skills’ which have a short silence. It was introduced in a form that strengthened the individuality of the character, including dodge and movement skills that instantly jump and leave bubbles, while also pouring powerful firepower into the area itself. And while using this skill itself is not difficult, it can have a significant impact on the battlefield depending on its strategic use. Powerful skills that can be used over time feel so influential that they must be used at team level on the battlefield.

For example, if you use the Akimbo style ‘Plant’ skill, you can jump high and leave a line of bullets to quickly leave the battlefield and use a hit and run style to disperse aggro. However, the Melty launcher uses guided bubble bullets within a certain distance to attack powerfully, but its body is weak. Therefore, you need someone to protect you, and even the skill pours a large amount of foam bullets from a certain distance, which has high firepower at once and creates a foamed ground. Chaos Ender, a sterilized demon, has skills that maximize the style that suits him, such as hiding in a bubble and launching a surprise attack.

▲ 8 usable characters.
▲ You can use it depending on your favorite style. Personally, Soa and Agito were the best.
Players can move over their allies’ bubbles by sliding, and the bubbles are the key here. Surprisingly, direction changes are very quick and free, and the elevation difference caused by bubble build-up is more useful than you might think. Rather than a static landscape, the battlefield landscape changes temporarily due to the concentration of firepower and allies’ skills, and the game changes suddenly. In the actual demonstration, they momentarily trapped the enemy star player with a wall of bubbles created by their ally Melty, and temporarily combined the firepower of all three players to take down the star player, turning the tables around and win.

The reason why this change in topography and the difference in elevation has such a big impact is because the coal is a ‘bubble’. Basically, most foam bullets tend to draw a slow, parabolic curve. Of course, each character has different characteristics, but first of all, the bullet does not exceed the speed of sound and is slow enough to be seen, and because it is very large, the engagement distance itself very short, so it is easy to hit and be hit easily. If you shoot bubbles like this and hit them, you will get fluffy and the other person will also bubble and then explode. It’s a weird game that can easily lead to chaotic fights.

In addition, perhaps reflecting the fact that it is a bubble, the landscape is changing quickly but more slowly than expected. It’s a weird word, not like a hot iced Americano, but here’s how to explain it. ‘Creating’ the land is quick, but changing the land means it takes some time. The bubble area increases quickly and it is easy to change the landscape of our bubble area, but changing the enemy area to our friend area takes more time and bubbles than expected. However, the moment you turn the enemy bubble area into a friendly bubble area, land creation becomes exponentially faster.

▲ There is some tension, and the atmosphere is refreshing and light.
So the feeling of ‘partying’ is strong, and the battlefield has a funny rather than serious tone, which makes you smile. The battlefield changes quickly depending on the terrain, and the rules of the battlefield make it difficult to let your guard down, so contrary to the slow and dreamy atmosphere of shooting, the transition of the battlefield and tempo’ the battle is very fast. The strange flow and charm of the game created by this imbalance seems to make the most of a light and casual party atmosphere.

The battlefield rule used in the demonstration is ‘Smash the Star’. If you knock down the opposing team 7 times, the player who performed the most will be chosen as a ‘star player’ and you can defeat this star player . As there is no victory or defeat until this ‘star player’ is defeated, if you do well, you can aim to return even on the battlefield where you were losing, if you fight well in defending the star player.

▲ Open beta starts at the end of September. It is said that you can queue with your friends at this time.
Sometimes there are games like that. The feeling of “I don’t know why this is fun … it’s fun.” From a reporter’s point of view, it’s a really terrible and terrible situation to evaluate, but it’s a helpless feeling that I can’t help but feel excited about seeing an interesting game. That’s what Pomstars did to begin with. It’s easy, simple, and straightforward, but I enjoyed the game the whole time, and even after the demo was over, I wanted to ask if I could order another game.

When I calmed down, thought about it, and analyzed it again, I realized that Foam Stars are really faithful to the concept of ‘bubbles’. Unlike the slow-motion shooting, the tempo of the battle and the situation is fast, and the misty bubbles create the atmosphere and the ending explodes.

It is a game that adjusts the tempo produced by bullets called ‘bubbles’ to suit the party atmosphere. Yes, in summary, it’s a game that uses the concept well and creates the basics well, but also has its own personality. I think the game design that really captures the concept is the driving force behind Formstars’ unique charm.

It is clearly a one-time demonstration, and the atmosphere created by the ‘bubble’ is so unique that there may be additional points that you are not even aware of. Perhaps because the exhibitors were not familiar with it, there were many areas where they were not able to use the skills well in general. So, it might be overrated in a one-time demo, but we shouldn’t ignore that it’s a game that can feel different if you play it for dozens of hours.

But I can’t deny that the demonstration was incredibly fun. It cannot be denied that it is a game that creates a good atmosphere with a faithful concept. Since the open beta test will be held on September 30th, I hope many users will experience the charm of this game for themselves. It’s an exciting shooting game where everyone can burst and explode in the crazy bubbling bubbles.

#Ambush #Square #Enix #Refreshes #TPS #Form #Stars