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From Spitfire Interactive, former members of Defiant Development who made Hand of Fate, comes the superhero strategy game Capes. Note: a key was provided before release.

Story: Twenty years ago, the supervillains won. Since then, they’ve created a dystopian city where developing superpowers is a crime and no one has dared oppose them. Until now! Assemble a diverse team of heroes while fighting to take back their city, now controlled by evil despots! Play across the dark and gritty campaign and patrol assignments, push the story forward and reveal the truth behind the horrific Enhancement program of The Company that is pulling the strings behind the scenes.

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Inspired by XCOM, here you get a cinematic and rather action-packed turn-based strategy game, that mixes in team management with a little comic book flair. So if you love superheroes and anything resembling XCOM, you're going to feel really at home with this one. Capes is all about rising from the ashes, as you build up a ragtag group of new Capes (their word for heroes) to hopefully take back the city, taking down The Company. And hopefully find out what they've been doing to all the captured heroes.

Capes is a pretty intense and brutal strategy game and not one to beat around the bush with the setting either. Even from the intro section you're greeted with supervillains and their goons gunning down civilians right in front of you — and of course you get the blame for it.

It's not as open as XCOM in how you play as it's a linear game, since it's firmly based on playing through the acts of the story, and certainly not on the level of graphical quality of Marvel's Midnight Suns (another superhero strategy game) with it being from a small team, but there's a huge amount of charm to it thanks to the strategy involved with each individual character. The combat is just a whole lot of fun but it does take a little learning, and a bit of trial and error, due to how unique each character you recruit is.

Not only can you move and attack in any order, as long as you have the points, but each character has multiple unique abilities. Some can teleport, create crystals to block line of sight or stop people in their tracks, use telekinesis to launch objects at enemies and telepathy to mess with minds and more.

The beauty in it though is how the abilities of the individual characters work together with the special link system, where multiple heroes link together if they're close enough to do a slightly more special attack. There's a good number of those team ups too and they really are powerful, but needing to keep your people close enough together can also be a big issue and your downfall on some missions. Adding to that, each character also has a unique ultimate ability that you have to charge up during a mission, with each charging up a different way based on their main abilities.

Another element to the battles are the need to disarm enemies, as various thugs that carry weapons can have it knocked right out of their hand either through the specific disarm ability if you're close, or by using some special hero abilities that disarm enemies in addition to taking down their HP. Needed often too, since weapons will cause more problems for you from enabling enemies to have range (terrible for low-HP heroes) and sometimes extra attacks on you.

There's another layer to the game with your base of operations, that sees your team hidden in the old spot where the original strongest heroes would meet up. Although it's looking a little worse for wear. Here you can upgrade your heroes and there's a good few different ability upgrades for each of them, along with unlocking entirely new abilities. Although, even with plenty of upgrades, they never really feel over-powered against enemies. You're still going to need to think tactically during every single mission making good use of all their abilities together.

Like me, you'll probably end up with some favourites for their abilities, as well as their link team-up abilities, and you'll end up hardly using some others. The best bit though? There's no random hit chance. No 99% miss. No lurking behind cover either it's all about the movement, positioning and using the abilities together.

There's an interesting challenge system to this as well. Each character has an individual set of challenges, doing each one will unlock more SP points, which you can then use to upgrade their abilities some more. It ranges from simply using abilities to more interesting challenges like hitting a certain amount of enemies in one go, knocking enemies off ledges and so on.

A useful feature is that you can also re-play missions, enabling you to "simulate" them to ensure you complete all the available optional bonus objectives. Some of them are pretty difficult too and nicely varied so they don't feel like a boring chore to get through, so you might end up going back a fair bit because you actually want to. And because it never gets old seeing all the special abilities smashing through multiple enemies. Completing them all fully allows you more time to level all your heroes up, to proceed further into the story if you need to. Or just practice time to mess with the various abilities if you need it.

Some missions will be straight-up fights, some (like pictured above) make you sneak around stealthily, some have you protect a specific character and so on. There really is enough variety there that it does keep you nicely on your toes. And you don't have to sit waiting either, as you can fast-forward the enemy AI turns to get control of your team again a bit quicker, which I do wish some other strategy games had — nice touch.

Those damn challenges though, some feel impossible without first levelling up your heroes, which I feel is part of the point but I was determined in some cases and ended up replaying through a few missions many times to do them. There's so many fun ways to do the missions once you get more heroes and upgrade them.

Lots of nice little details to it too, like the main cut-scenes having their speech bubble tail moving around with character's mouths as they're talking. All the little comic-book animations during conversations and through the UI really help bring it to life.

Issues: one real nuisance quirk I did have on Kubuntu Linux 24.04 (KDE Plasma), was having to switch between borderless and windowed mode to get it to actually fill the screen properly. First launch had the bottom cut, after that it kept going into a small window. Thankfully, Gamescope entirely solved that issue forcing it into a 1440p full-screen window. Apart from that, it worked beautifully (no other Linux issues noticed, that is).

Another issue, much like other similar games, is sometimes the camera angles during attacks get a bit weird. Not too often, but you probably will see a good few times that something is covering up the screen during an attack.

Performance all maxed out at 1440p on my Ryzen 5800X and Radeon 6800XT desktop has been great, constantly above 100FPS. No complaints there.

Highlights:

  • Be Mighty: Play as heroic protectors of the innocent, each with unique skills and powers. Master your hero and unleash devastating ultimate abilities!
  • Assemble Your Team: Select the right team for the right mission. Combat isn’t based on random numbers, so choose wisely to win the day!
  • Level Up: Complete challenging missions and side-quests to improve your heroes with new abilities and powerful upgrades!
  • Defeat Evil: Face down vile villains and criminal corporate henchmen. Do you have what it takes to free your city from the clutches of villainy!?

Capes has Native Linux support and it's Steam Deck Verified.

If you love strategy games with a dark but fun story to follow, this is pretty much an essential purchase. The depth of the characters, along with all their abilities together is a lot of fun to smash through all the villains. Fun style too, although some of the characters look just a bit plastic, almost toy like in some cases, but it doesn't distract from the overall experience which is thoroughly enjoyable.

A firm recommendation to go and buy. Only a villain would pass up on playing Capes.

You can buy Capes on GOG and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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9 comments

Definitely wishlisting this.
Corben May 29
Really cool also that on Deck it's the native Linux version that made it through the verification process, thanks to Cheeseness and Nemoder!
Cheeseness May 29
Gosh, this is a very nice writeup. Thanks so much - it's super nice to hear the game is resonating with you, and gratifying to know that the game's focus on teamups and positioning shines through and feels like a strength.

QuoteLike me, you'll probably end up with some favourites for their abilities, as well as their link team-up abilities, and you'll end up hardly using some others.
Don't leave us hanging! Who are your favourites? :D

QuoteIssues: one real nuisance quirk I did have on Kubuntu Linux 24.04 (KDE Plasma), was having to switch between borderless and windowed mode to get it to actually fill the screen properly. First launch had the bottom cut, after that it kept going into a small window
Oh darn. We saw this on the Steam Deck, but I thought we'd fixed it. I'll look into it further and see what I can do.
AdaMacey May 30
Instant buy based on this review!
stormtux May 30
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The game is good and fun, nice graphics and for now performance and stability are good. The absence of randomness and cover makes it quite different than the classics, it is more centered on the interaction between the characters.

Quoting: CheesenessOh darn. We saw this on the Steam Deck, but I thought we'd fixed it. I'll look into it further and see what I can do.
I found a similar problem linked to the interaction between the cursor and the UI elements (buttons, checkboxes). It looks like there is some offset between the cursor coordinates and the UI coordinates. The cursor is not interacting with the buttons in the lower part of the buttons but keeps interacting on the upper part even where the UI element is already ended. Switching to windowed and back fixes the problem. I am running a Fedora 40 with KDE, AMD GPU and a 2560x1440 monitor (there is also another 1920x1080 monitor connected).

One thing I found missing is the audio for the narrator in the intermission videos. The characters speak and then... silence... then they speak again. A good narrative voice would perhaps have improved the interludes, and given more opportunities to add more funny jokes .
Cheeseness May 30
Quoting: stormtuxI found a similar problem linked to the interaction between the cursor and the UI elements (buttons, checkboxes). It looks like there is some offset between the cursor coordinates and the UI coordinates.
Yeah, it's all the same thing. Unreal has a separate transparent SDL window to capture input events, and keeping that in sync with the window the game renders to ends up being a little awkward. My workarounds so far covered a bunch of cases, but returning to being a borderless fullscreen window after being minimised seems to have more idiosyncrasies than are visible in Gnome on my development machine.

Until I have a more robust fix, the quickest way to toggle to windowed mode and back is to press F11 (that way you don't have to go via the menu).

Quoting: stormtuxOne thing I found missing is the audio for the narrator in the intermission videos. The characters speak and then... silence... then they speak again. A good narrative voice would perhaps have improved the interludes, and given more opportunities to add more funny jokes .
Would have been nice to have, for sure! If we had been able to get that recorded, it would have been Seraph (the character who gives the narration in the intro cutscene) narrating.


Last edited by Cheeseness on 1 June 2024 at 12:48 pm UTC
melkemind May 31
Marvel's Midnight Suns set the bar pretty high, so even if this game is half as fun, Im in.
QuoteAll Reviews: Mixed (57%)
Nooooooooooo
Quoting: hardpenguin
QuoteAll Reviews: Mixed (57%)
Nooooooooooo
It's difficult to feel like many of the negative reviews reflect the game we made (people are never wrong about how they feel though). It's a bummer for sure.
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