Capes – XCOM in Superhero Guise

REVIEW – XCOM may never be continued (many of its developers Firaxis have left the studio), so it’s no wonder that many titles have appeared on the market that mimic it, but even in superhero themes there have been similar ones, as Marvel’s Midnight Suns (which was also created by Firaxis) tried the concept. So it is questionable how well Capes can survive in the market.


It’s neither Marvel nor DC, so the Capes offer a third way, so it will be superheroes not known here who will save the world.



A boring core concept


There is a company called The Company. This alone shows the low level of the story, where the bad guys behind The Company have wiped out the heroes; those who are left are in hiding. We have a young team of inexperienced heroes operating under a Batman-like figure, Doctrine. It’s not the story that will make Capes memorable (it’s probably just the kind of game that will be on PlayStation Plus in 1-1.5 years), and in terms of gameplay, Spitfire Interactive’s product doesn’t seem all that new. You unlock new characters by completing missions and optional challenges, and that’s how you get the experience points to upgrade skills; combat takes place on grid maps, so you can only make a certain number of moves or attacks per turn, and anyone who thinks of XCOM for that definition is not alone, as it’s pretty much the same thing. So it’s very important how you position your team, so Capes is essentially a puzzle game, a Bunsen burner on low, because what you plan doesn’t pay off at first, but when it all comes together it’s quite a sight (and the reverse is also true: it’s annoying when a bit of sand gets into the machinery).

Upgrades don’t improve much, but stacking them on top of each other can really speed things up, as can the difficulty, because if you don’t use your team members’ skills properly, you can fail in a hurry. As a result, the capes are not simple, and an example of this may have been seen in 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown. So if, for example, Weathervane’s speed, Rebound’s teleportation, or Facet’s brute strength are not used properly, the result will be failure. The way to turn the situation (which is usually us being outnumbered) to your advantage is to have your teammates attack back with team-up moves. Perhaps this is one of the game’s flaws: some missions seem to take too long, as they can sometimes take a surprisingly long time to complete. This makes the already problematic pacing even worse, as it lacks the momentum you might expect. But if that were the only problem with Capes, then maybe even the rating would be a relatively round number… but it didn’t get one; it didn’t get spiky for nothing.



Let the word be heard (but if only if it were not so)


The presentation of the capes is not the best. I’m not sure if that’s the right word. For some reason, the game looks like a free-to-play children’s mobile game (and it doesn’t matter what platform you’re looking at it on; it doesn’t matter if it’s PC or PlayStation 5 – there’s almost nothing on the latter, it’s such a no-name title). While it’s understandable that it’s trying to take on the style of an older, 90s cartoon, it looks lifeless to look at, the animations are too machine-like, and seeing things drawn on top of that feels numb. And the voice acting is average at best (!), but rather below average. It’s like they’re cut together to talk to each other, but they don’t communicate WITH each other.

And the chats you can unlock don’t make any sense (although the Fire Emblem franchise has shown that they can be useful). So it’s a downer in terms of audiovisuals in general, though it’s no surprise that it even showed up on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch trio in Daedalic’s release (they made The Lord of the Rings: Gollum… and they no longer develop games). This makes the situation a bit strange: the gameplay is mostly good, but everything else has some flaws or shortcomings, and therefore it can’t be given an excellent rating, but you have to take into account that this is the first game from Spitfire Interactive, and the presentation is more Daedalic’s fault (they should have spent more money on the voice acting).



Being a hero does not always pay off


The basics of Capes are good, but the execution is not. That’s why you can’t really rate it much higher than a 7/10. The strategy and execution are fun, but the graphics, story, audio, and to some extent the atmosphere are not very strong. The price has no influence on the rating, but it might not be worth spending 40€ on the game. For that price you can get Into the Breach AND Marvel’s Midnight Suns!



+ The gameplay itself isn’t that bad
+ The visuals mostly bring the superhero theme
+ Able to challenge


– Forgettable in almost every aspect except the gameplay
– The dubbing and the scenes are of debauched quality
– A couple of missions seemed ridiculously long

Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment

Developer: Spitfire Interactive

Style: turn-based strategy

Release: May 29, 2024.


Gameplay - 8.3
Graphics - 7.2
Story - 6.2
Music/Audio - 6.3
Ambience - 7.5



Not all superheroes wear capes... or they aren't superheroes.

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Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

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