Capes Review – Déjà vu of the best kind

Reviewed May 29, 2024 on PC


PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X|S


May 29, 2024


Daedalic Entertainment


Spitfire Interactive

Capes is a new turn-based adventure in the vein of tactics greats like XCOM. It’s developed by Spitfire Interactive, a new Brisbane-based team where some of the talent previously made beloved hits such as the Hand of Fate series. Taking their clever combat prowess found in these roguelike forays and coming for the tactics throne, the team have chosen the fantastical superhero-themed skin to tackle the genre. Landing onto battlefields, chasing after super baddies, and chaining together blows with superpowers such as speed, bolts of lightning, and emitting crystal exteriors as means of defence, we’ve certainly been here before.

Thankfully, that déjà vu doesn’t stand in the way of the boisterous good time you’ll have as you throw your weight around and take on some mooks. Capes was a delight to play for the entire 30-odd-hour experience.

Twenty years ago, the supervillains won. They now rule the dystopic King City. Having or developing a superpower is outlawed, and anyone with such abilities is captured and studied. This in turn vanquishes any threat the supervillains might have. You must band a group of superheroes together in secret, putting a stop to not only these supervillains but the faction of criminals intent on policing you and innocent powered individuals. It takes some time and your objectives and understanding of Capes’ world gradually change, but eventually, you’re watching the empire fall by your very hand.

This is a bit of a boilerplate premise but thankfully Capes manages to hold its own, exploring its world in intriguing ways through its characters, personality, and style. The superhero group feels like their own offshoot of the Xmen, a group of outcasts. Even in trying times, the crew works together and complements each other well.

What Capes has nailed is tone. Found throughout are biting criticisms of capitalism and billionaires, with a heavy dose of social justice themes. The cast is distinguished and isn’t dazzlingly perfect like Marvel characters. Despite featuring a decent amount of swearing and violence, the crew are also not the over-the-top edgy nature found in The Boys. They’re something in between. People who act like actual people who just happen to have superpowers. Finally.

Rebound, the roguish punk with teleportation abilities seems the loner type but in a private mission with her, you learn about her and the complexities surrounding her ex-girlfriend, a bandit who plays both sides. It’s safe to say the pair did some damage to each other but soon you see Rebound begin to learn to lean on others in the group. There’s Mercurial, the speedster who has a situationship with an off-and-on-again ex, but when that person into threat, they’re thrust into work with the team, doing everything they can to keep that person that’s admittedly important to them safe. Mindfire is a hero that is paralysed in day-to-day life, but thanks to the telekinesis abilities that let them fly, they’re empowered to make changes to the world… a little bit to the overbearing concern of their parents. At the end of the day, they’re a team that lean and rely on each other. 

This co-dependence also translates to the battlefield. One of my favourite parts of tactics games is when they offer you multiple options for party DNA, finding out which characters bounce off of each other and bending battles to your will. Capes provides plenty of opportunities for such play. Mercurial has the most reach, being able to sprint far distances. If she pulls off this move in the vicinity of Facet, the hero who can produce crystals onto the battlefield, then you can leave a line of these obstacles to either protect a target or cordon off a baddy. Then combine this with the fact that the beefy jock known as Weathervane can send out rays of electricity, using these crystals as conducting pylons to further increase spread, hitting multiple targets at once… and you’re in for some pretty cool plays and devastation if you play your cards right.

“…I’d call Spitfire Interactive’s debut a hearty success.”

Capes is very good at making you constantly reconsider and work with the game’s meta. The abilities aren’t quite as punchy as the ones used by Marvel’s Midnight Suns‘ beloved characters. Similarly, your heroes are more squishy and can’t take as much damage. This means that you’ll often do well to not only plan your current move but your next four in advance. For instance, Rebound may over time be able to upgrade her attack strength and range, but she always can only withstand three hits before she’s down. This compliments her play style of being a run and gunner, performing a backstab on an enemy before teleporting away, never lingering in a spot too long or else one of your most valuable players is down for the count.

Each character has their own ultimate that is charged in a different way. Facet, the tankiest character of the bunch, with the highest health, gets a charge each time they’re hit which pairs perfectly with their ability to create a hardened shell of crystals around themselves to take on more damage. Then he can let out an ultimate attack that covers all nearby enemies in crystals, slowing them. Rebound can build up hers the more backstabs/flank attacks she pulls off, then fittingly unleashing a flurry of attacks in an area of effect. Weathervane’s ultimate is a storm that can let out a more powerful version of his typical chain lightning attacks, no longer requiring enemies to be in close vicinity to be chained together. I mention these examples because without a doubt this trio is the easiest to earn an ultimate with each turn, and are also arguably the most effective castmates. 

Friction is felt a little bit in the early-middle game of Capes. It’s not until a good way through the game that you can unlock characters with healing abilities. These come earliest from Ignis, a quirky streamer character who charges their ultimate and skill pool the more fire she absorbs. Much later you unlock a scientist by the name of Hyde who too can heal. It took me a while to get used to and love this design where you’re demanded to pick your battles, though when med packs and the like in hardcore tactics games like XCOM are available from the get-go, I can’t fault anyone for not gelling with this choice.

There are upwards of eight superheroes you assemble in the campaign, with a majority of missions allowing you to load in with four. Naturally, there’ll be your go-tos and these for me largely were Rebound, Mercurial and Weathervane, with Mindfire or Facet being interchangeable. Simply put, these are all the characters you get the soonest and are the most powerful. Too powerful in comparison. The others that you get later down the line are certainly creative atypical choices, especially if you can get a mission with Ignis just absolutely covered in fire from environmental damage. However, they’re never viable for main set pieces when you have a tough battle ahead. It’s not game-breaking by any means and I would certainly suggest using the ‘recommend’ option to prefill characters for a mission when you’re worried you’re neglecting someone too much. Still, this disparity is certainly noticeable and will feel unbalanced to some. 

Party variety was my saving grace when it came to completing optional objectives and character challenges. These are all key to upgrading your cast of characters and it wasn’t until I revisited some missions after some good old-fashioned quality levelling that I was able to get core upgrades for the more experimental cast that I could get tough busy work challenges such as “no hero KOs.” In addition to the expected “add x percent damage to y attack” upgrades, there are some quality perks in there. Any that played interference, such as aiding in moving my enemy’s attacks further down the timeline, is essential. Thank you also to every decoy ability in this game. You’re my true hero and I love you. 

Capes is an incredibly fun tactics title that will have you feeling for its cast via not only the optional character missions that give you further insight but also by its surprisingly decent performances. This little underground crew is a cute band of damaged softies and players will quite enjoy the little tidbits of interactions, let up only by the plastic or waxy-looking appearances of character models that don’t quite hold up in close-up dialogue shots.

Regardless, it is easy to spend dozens of hours mastering the nitty-gritty tactics, completing every objective in every mission. It’ll test even the most seasoned of players. Awaiting you are joyous setpieces such as taking out monstrous experiments in scientific labs, tackling a billionaire and her android army… even a series of stealth missions that see you on a grab job hunt for key objects or information as you quietly dispatch and pick off military men one-by-one. It might not be the highest budget game in the world but the nerdy tactics meat and potatoes are definitely there.




  • Excellent potential for experimentation and attack combinations between party members
  • Tone for a superhero story is done really well
  • Charming cast of characters
  • Meaningful upgrades and skill trees
  • Hours of fun to refine your skills and complete side objectives


  • Not the most original game in the genre
  • Some tough balancing that won't be for all

If Capes’ biggest crime is that it isn’t the most original game and that its fights require more thought than some might like, then I’d call Spitfire Interactive’s debut a hearty success. Within its deep tactics gameplay is plenty of exciting and creative party DNA to tool around with. It even has a surprisingly refreshing tone and take on the superhero genre that is the most authentic I’ve seen in a while. So why not go save the world? I promise a super duper good time awaits.