Capes review for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch

Platform: PC
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Spitfire Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

As someone who always loves a good superhero game, Capes has been on my Steam wishlist for awhile. Even if I’ve never been great at tactical, turn-based combat games, in the right circumstances I can really enjoy the genre, and I figured that the promise of “XCOM, but with superheroes” would count as the right circumstances. I mean, I (mostly) enjoyed The Lamplighters League, which was XCOM-meets-Indiana Jones, and this is even closer to my interests, so it was practically a sure thing, right?

Not really, as it turns out. Capes isn’t so much a super-powered version of XCOM as it is a mediocre XCOM clone that happens to feature superheroes – and there is a difference, as this game illustrates.

The key difference? Capes looks and sounds and feels kind of cheap. It’s got characters that look like knock-offs of your Marvel and DC favourites, pre-canned animations and cutscenes that look pretty rough, mediocre voice-acting, and, worst of all, superheroes and attacks that feel distinctly underpowered.

This last point is, of course, the real killer. The whole point of superhero games is that they allow you to vicariously imagine yourself as a superhuman, complete with crazy powers. In Capes, you only get a fraction of that – you may have attacks that allow you to hurl things with your mind, or launch enemies with a punch, or teleport around them to hit them from multiple angles, but they seldom feel very impactful.

This, in turn, means that combat always feels kind of dull, and every battle feels like a slog. It may improve as you upgrade your characters and increase their power, but to get there, you need to grind your way to improvements, and it’s just not very fun. Even if the game rewards you for getting through battles faster, it still feels like you need to grind just to get to that point. Consequently, you spend a lot of your time fighting the same battles on the same small maps with the same ugly animations over and over and over again.

There are some bright spots here and there. Capes gives you a team of superheroes to choose from, so you at least have the option to mix and match between heroes to find the squad you like – and it’s actually doubly important you do that here, since the best moves are the ones where you have teammates work together to increase their attack power. I’ll also give Capes credit for sticking to its superhero motif through and through, with the story often told via comic book-style visuals (and, unfortunately, accompanied by that less-than-great voice acting).

But a few points in its favour aren’t enough to make Capes worthwhile. It’s got a great idea but it doesn’t come close to living up to its promise, and you’re better off playing any number of other superhero games or XCOM-alikes.

Daedalic Entertainment provided us with a Capes PC code for review purposes.

Grade: 6