Review: Capes

One would be forgiven for thinking that Capes is simply XCOM with superheroes. And to be honest, it kind of is. However, from a small team, Capes is a fantastic, turn-based game with some clever writing.

In Capes, superheroes (referred to as the titular ‘capes’) have been banned. The Company was established to control the superheroes, and would you believe it – The Company are dastardly supervillains at work! The general public doesn’t know any better, they believe the word of The Company and hate the capes. It’s with this backdrop that you begin your fight.

As a small crew of capes, you recruit a (still small) team and begin the fight back against the company. As different members are recruited, you are introduced to their different abilities. Combat is split into rounds, and in each round, you get to move each of your characters. As you’ll be familiar with from many other turn-based games, Capes limits movement to a certain number of squares, and restricts actions limited to ‘action points; so you can’t attack on repeat. Once done, it’s the turn of the bad guys to move, and then repeat until all are dead.

What I enjoyed most about Capes is the simplicity. Characters have a simple health bar, and every attack does a certain amount of damage. No worrying about cover multipliers and random chance of failure. The control scheme is operated using only a handful of buttons, so instead you can focus on who is in your team and how you want to use them. One character can crystallise themselves – and then taunt enemies, drawing fire but with significantly increased armour, protecting him against the onslaught whilst his teammates attack. Another has a teleport ability, offering significant ‘in and out’ movement attacks. These abilities come with conditions for charging an ultimate. For example, Rebound (our teleporting friend) can travel behind an enemy to backstab them for increased damage. This also builds her ultimate meter, so you’re encouraged to weave these preferred methods of play towards each character.

One neat feature is the ability to team up. By combining hero abilities, you can create some devastating combinations. Early on you’re introduced to how this works – our crystal friend has limited movement but can team up with Rebound to move much further and faster around the battlefield. In exchange, she can have her weapons crystallised as she goes for a backstab, increasing the amount of damage. 

It’s not easy, so the planning needs to be carefully considered. I liked that all of the information you will need is easily displayed. It’s complemented by the clean but cartoony style of graphics, fitting for a superhero game which feels like a comic at times. This is most noticeable in the cutscenes, whereby comic panels are well-voice-acted, and the dialogue is quite amusing.

Sadly, you can’t create your superhero – which is a shame but makes sense I suppose when you consider how woven together the story is based on the set of assembled characters. You do have the capability to level up the abilities of your capes in an order you choose, to help tailor and set your builds but otherwise, the combat is the core pull here.

Capes is a decent turn-based game with a fun theme. It’s tricky at points but it’s always clear what is going on and you don’t have to learn masses of mechanics to have a good time.

Reviewed on PS5