I wouldn’t normally condone animals fighting, but this game is very cute.
Super Auto Pets is strategy auto-battler game developed by Team Wood Games, a small Dutch games company. The game is currently available for Android and Steam and also has a browser version, and there’s an iOS version coming really soon.
Super Auto Pets doesn’t have like a story mode or anything, so there’s nothing to really spoil, so this review is totally spoiler-free and you can read it even if you haven’t played the game yet.
The premise of Super Auto Pets is really simple. You get some pets in a random draw, and you have ten coins to buy them with. The pets any food (upgrades) for them cost three coins each, and you can spend one coin to re-roll your options. As the game goes on you get higher-tier pets to choose from. You try to build the best team of five pets you can, and you face off against other players in auto-battles, where you don’t have to do anything because the computer decides what happens based on your pets’ stats and abilities and some other parameters that are controlled by a predictable computer. You only have two stats, which are attack and health, and when a pet’s health goes down to zero it’s knocked out for the rest of that round. Your goal is to build a team that can knock out the other teams you’ll face until you win ten rounds.
The best part of Super Auto Pets is that the pet designs are very cute. They just use emoji designs, so they’re very simple and recognizable, and really cute to look at. It makes you feel bad for making them fight, but it’s okay because they don’t die in the fights, they just get knocked out and then they come back. I think Team Wood Games made a great choice in using these designs; they already existed and everyone knows them, so it saves a lot of time and energy and gives them immediate recognizability. The very best choice they made was that they used the turtle as their mascot. I’m sure everyone has their own favourite pet, but the turtle is mine and he’s on the game’s icon and in all the preview material when you’re buying decorative hats and even on their Twitter header, and I just really like looking at him a lot because he seems so happy.
Since you can make a team of whoever you want as long as you randomly pull them, the game can either be totally different every time you go through it, or very similar if you like to use the same pets over and over. Once I made a team that was called the Shy Turtles and it was just five turtles in a row. I abandoned that game because I knew I’d be sad when they eventually lost (turtles aren’t very strong), so I preferred to think of the turtles as just quietly deciding to disband because they didn’t want to fight anyone. But anyway, you can have all kinds of different pets and though some of them are more helpful than others at different stages of the game, none of them are unusable and you can really play with whatever strategy suits you best.
You get the option to name each team; at the start of the game they give you three adjectives and three nouns and you can pick whichever of them you like. There are a finite number of words in their bank, so there are a finite amount of names your team can have, but it’s a pretty big list and there’s a lot of good variety. They’re all a bit silly since a lot of the nouns are just like, the names of body parts or food, but there’s usually an option to name yourself something cute, or something really funny, or something horny if you want to, which I think most people do (I’ve fought a lot of people who have picked names that had Bits, Nuts or Parts in them, for example). It’s a kid-friendly game so it’s not like there’s anything explicit, but it’s nice that they’ve made it possible to be a bit horny if you want.
The pets all have different abilities that affect how you play. For example, the turtle gives the friend behind him really powerful armour for one hit after he faints, so it’s a good idea to put him in front of a pet with a lot of attack, and also a good idea to give him a sleeping pill later in the game so he can rest and make room on the team for someone else—and permanently give that armour to one of his friends. The ox gets armour and bonus attack if the friend in front of him faints, and there are some pets like the spider or the sheep that summon new friends when they faint, so putting them in front of an ox is a good idea. The badger hurts everyone around him if he dies (the devs called him a honey badger in a recent update, even though he’s just a badger in game, and I think that’s because they know everyone pairs the badger with a bee because the bee sneaks into the battle after its friend dies, and that’s a sneaky way to win at the end of the round). The shark gets more powerful every time one of his friends faints. The deer summons a bus with a splash attack after it dies. The peacock gets stronger every time it gets hurt. The penguin buffs all his friends if they’re level two or higher.
Just an aside, but all birds are really powerful in this game. The swan gives you extra money, and the chicken summons really powerful chicks when it gets knocked out. The dodo can give a lot of extra attack to the friend in front of it, and the flamingo powers up the friends behind it when it faints (I had a dodo on the first team I had that won, and a flamingo on the second). There are lots of different strategies for winning, but I’ve never won without at least one bird on my team. Team Wood Games clearly understood that birds are very intense, and I think that’s really funny but also very realistic.
A lot of the pets’ abilities are sort of realistic if you think about them, and I really like how much attention they paid to what the different animals are really like. I personally have a lot of friends who are furries or who are otherwise associated with different animals, and it’s really hard for me not to just call the pets the name of the person they remind me of. Whenever I talk about the game to my friends, I can’t help but call the ox Owen, or the turtle Me, and I don’t know, so many of the animals just kind of map onto people I know in terms of what abilities they have, and I think that’s really fun. Obviously that part isn’t as important to everyone, but it’s a big part of why I like the game. And also a big part of why I lose at the game so often, because I tend to just pick pets that remind me of people I know and keep them around even when I know I should be strategic and sell them to make room for better pets. I know Owen wouldn’t actually be sad if I sold the ox, but I still don’t want to and I think that making teams that remind me of my family is more important than winning.
Which reminds me, I really hope that Team Wood Games puts a wolf in the game someday. There is a DLC pack with extra pets, which I haven’t bought yet, but yeah I’d really like a wolf in the game so that Darby can feel as represented by the game as I do. Maybe its power could be that it gets stronger the bigger the friends behind it are? Just an idea.
Each game of Super Auto Pets takes about fifteen minutes to play, and it’s not hard to learn. You play with randomized people by default, but you can also play versus your friends in a planned game. There’s a lot of strategy to it that’s can get quite complex and it does take a few tries to get the hang of, but it’s definitely worth it, and pretty soon you’ll be able to play across all platforms. It’s also free and the guy running it seems like a really nice person, so actually there’s no reason not to buy Super Auto Pets, at least to give it a try.