Capes

Posted:  Jun 05, 2024
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SDHQ CONTENT SCORE: 
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Review

Capes was provided by Daedalic Entertainment for review. Thank you!

I am a huge fan of XCOM-esque strategy games where you move your units on a field and use different abilities and weapons to take down enemies most efficiently. Taking things slow and steady while watching your plans play out in real time can be extremely satisfying. Capes is a similar take on the genre but simplifies some of its elements while focusing on superheroes and how they can work together on the field. It's an interesting concept with a good story, and it does feel like an enjoyable tactical strategy game, but it has some elements that hold it back from being as good as it could be.

Capes

The game's core loop is structured similarly to strategy games like XCOM and Marvel's Midnight Suns. You will start each mission by picking and choosing a specific number of heroes, each with different abilities with an Ultimate ability, and put them on a field with enemies and obstacles. Each character has a turn they take, where you can move them and commit to specific attacks or actions. These actions are based on your character's power and can range from attacking directly to buffing your defense or pushing the enemy away. The level does have an objective, and once you complete it, you get EXP and head back to your home base to level up, upgrade your heroes, and select a new mission.

While most of Capes' gameplay elements, like limited moving around and a unique array of abilities to use, are very standard, it employs a couple of intriguing changes. My favorite is the special abilities you get depending on which heroes you bring to the field. Each hero can interact and optionally augment the other person's ability by giving it new effects, increasing damage, teleporting them around the field, or more. It makes it more strategic to choose heroes whose abilities can work together and whose abilities will be augmented in the way you need them to be. I also like how the abilities can utilize the environment, giving you more options on how to use the abilities you have.

Capes 4

The individual heroes feel especially unique because of this and are handled very differently. For instance, Rebound can teleport around the field and can scale to higher places without needing a ladder. At the same time, Mindfire uses telekinetic abilities, and most of his attacks aren't affected by teammates blocking his path, or Mercurial, who has super speed and can use her ultimate attack to speed up her next turn and move across the entire level in one turn. It matters which hero you choose, and the developers did a fantastic job at making each person feel like their own being and not like a soldier who can come and go.

Some of the levels are a bit on the small side, which I didn't mind, but it does sometimes make it feel like there are only 1-2 solutions to complete a mission. I died many times trying different strategies, and it seemed like none worked until I clicked with one, and that's it. I did go back to the mission to see if I could complete it any other way, but there seemed to be some restrictions in place that could make it feel like tunnel vision with only one path to go down. It can sometimes feel more like a puzzle game than a strategy game.

CapesQuality 4

I also found myself wanting more customization in Capes. When you are back at the hub, you can level up with EXP after completing missions and upgrade skills with skill points you get by completing optional objectives or each character's checklist. There are some extra abilities to unlock, and the upgrades are good, but that's it. There's no equipment to equip or stats that get more powerful as you level up, which may be outside the scope of the game, but I enjoy having those elements in games like this.

The story is interesting, and I think Spitfire did a great job telling it. Superheroes have been eradicated, and The Corporation has taken over to save the city. But in reality, this is an evil corporation that has massacred the only people who could stop them, and now they want full domination. One of the old heroes from before has come back to assemble a team of new heroes to hopefully save the city and take down The Corporation before things get worse.

Capes 7

While the voice acting isn't the greatest, I was all in for the story. Watching a rag-tag group of heroes come to terms with their powers, how they can use them for good, and witnessing the horrific treatment of their kind by The Corporation is intriguing. I especially like that the secondary or "Patrol" missions you can take also offer glimpses into each hero's personal life, like helping out Rebound's ex or trying to help Weathervane see his family again.

The visuals are also really appealing. They remind me a bit of toy figurines, with how cartoony and colorful they are and how the gameplay elements work. Each environment looked great and was very balanced with detail and character. I also liked the artwork that was used when not in battle, which is definitely more stylized.

But the best part is how easily Capes can run on the Steam Deck, even if it's a bit weird.

Capes - Steam Deck Performance

The first tutorial level for Capes was a little bit worrying when it came to performance, but it did get a lot better afterward. Still, there is some weird behavior throughout. This was first brought to my attention when playing on Epic quality with a resolution scale of 90%, which got me a solid 30 FPS with under 13W battery drain. That's low for the highest quality, so I uncapped the framerate. The game went up to 39 FPS, and the battery drain shot to 19W - 20W and stopped there. I would consider this a bit weird, but that's when I got to changing settings.

Compare
30 FPS Capped
Uncapped Framerate
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Uncapped Framerate
30 FPS Capped

The game seems to be doing some internal capping on resources depending on the options you choose, and while this could be specific for the Steam Deck, it does mean customizing to fine-tune the experience is a bit harder. But it is possible, and these are the ways I would recommend playing:

Recommended Settings

By keeping all settings on Epic, except for Effects and Shadows (which are brought down to "High"), keeping rendering resolution at 90, and keeping Screen Space Global Illumination off while Ambient Occlusion stays on, we can get to 40 FPS with the low drain of 12W - 13W. It looks beautiful, feels a bit smoother than 30, and plays great overall.

Quality Build

I did try enabling every setting in the game to see if it was possible to run at the full max quality, and while it can get close, it isn't able to handle it. But by turning the framerate cap to 30, we can get a solid framerate by turning down Effects to High. This allows everything else to be on Epic and Screen Space Global Illumination to be on without showing signs of framerate drops on the screen.

I did try to find a way to save battery or boost framerate up to 60, and while each are possible, I felt they asked for too many sacrifices, like getting rid of almost all Shadows. It wasn't worth it to completely diminish the visual quality the game offers, so I won't have settings for either.

Accessibility

There is a specific accessibility tab in the settings that includes toggles for Blood and Profanity while also giving you the choice to change indicator colors. Otherwise, we can change difficulty on the fly, toggling camera rotation and auto continuing conversations, language, and different audio sliders.

The game supports 16:10 resolutions and has controller support with cloud saves. There are no HDR settings.

Conclusion

Capes is an enjoyable superhero strategy game that succeeds in a lot of ways, while also making me wish for more. I love the gameplay mechanics that were added in, especially the way you team up with other heroes to augment your abilities, but it makes me want a bit more customization to make the heroes feel even more like my own. Luckily, the story is great and I love the visuals, even if the voice acting could be better. It does react oddly on the Steam Deck with some weird internal limits, but overall, it's still quite solid to play at high quality settings. If you enjoy turn-based strategy, this is worth your time!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Capes is an enjoyable tactical turn-based strategy game that's enjoyable to play on the Steam Deck, even if it falls a little short in some aspects.

Content

Gameplay: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star
Graphics: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Story: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Sound: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Fun Factor: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$39.99
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Proton DB Rating
Unknown

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Other Builds
Quality Settings
SteamOS

Limit

30

Refresh Rate

90

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

No

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

1200

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Textures: Epic

Anti-Aliasing: Epic

Effects: High

Shadows: Epic

Post Processing: Epic

Shading: Epic

Resolution: 90

 

Advanced:

Anti-Aliasing Method: Temporal AA

Upscaling Method: Temporal

Ambient Occlusion: On

Screen Space Global Illumination: On

Bloom: On

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

12W - 16W

62c - 68c

~4 hours

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