Super Auto Pets is the first game out of independent studio Team Wood Games, and is available both as a free browser title as well as a mobile app for Android and (soon at the time of writing) iOS. At the easy-going cost of FREE (click here to play now), and with a lightning fast pace, it’s certainly a game worth checking out.
So the elephant in the room is, is this really an RPG? To which the answer is no, and the developers aren’t really claiming that it is. But the party based combat system is deep, strategic and would work extremely well inside of an RPG’s trappings. The game is also fairly new, having launched on Android at the time of writing this review, so may later see additional content such as a campaign mode that would 100% make this something our site would cover. However for now, if you’re a fan of turn based combat mechanics, think of this as a traditional RPG battle system set to AUTO and cranked to 11.
Visually the game manages to do a lot with very little. The base game plays with a single fixed background (a lush country field) and a ‘pack’ of mixed animals and food represented by cute 2D images that will be used as you combatants. These are rendered in a simple but adorable cartoon style that is very endearing, and houses roughly 58 animals and 16 snacks with an additional expansion pack of alternative animals and their nibbles to draw from. Menus are very simple and make use of chunky fonts with big large buttons for easy pressing, though the title screen could certainly use some work as the game loads directly into the main menu without a splash screen to give a new player that smack of first-impression fun. Alternative backgrounds and hats for the animals are purely cosmetic, but available using in game currency (screenshots model the Christmas hat as it’s December).
The games music is sparse, but amusing with a jazzy piece on the menu screen that’s extremely likable, giving way to the soundscape or rustling trees and birdsong when in game. Combat uses thundering drum beats for a burst of fast, energetic fun before returning to the more serene shop screen where you’ll be outfitting the party. Sound effects are nice, fitting the cartoony aesthetic and tone of the game well. overall it’s an attractive audio package.
Sadly the game, as mentioned previously, has no campaign mode and focuses on multiplayer matches with friends or strangers. This is a shame, as the system would work very well set as battles across a sprawling map, and the animal-based comedy tone would make for an amusingly off-beat scenario, but as narrative is not the games focus this can be forgiven.
Gameplay is the real meat of the experience here and it’s where the title really shines. Ultimatly it’s a title about planning and crafting a team of temporary animal fighters to send into lightning fast skirmishes with the aim of winning 10 victories before your total of 10 lives runs out. Initially this is a 1-1 loss to life equation, but as the game goes deeper the later battles will cost 2, 3 and 4 lives per loss, making hitting that all important 10 wins a harder task than you’ll imagine on a first playthrough. The shop screen is where you will spend most of your time, building a selection of up to 5 animals from a selection of 3 randomly drawn from the pack (strength matched to your depth into the tournament) and two items. As you play more you will unlock more animals to choose from, new items and a larger selection based on how far into the match you’ve survived. The order you buy animals, what you feed them, and combining them for higher levels affects both their combat attack and health stats, as well as their passive abilities, which are unique to each animal. This is where the depth of the games system really comes into play because you will want to take advantage of EVERYTHING in order to win your next match, with each round played against another player’s party who has reached the same round as yourself (so you cannot plan based on what you’ve seen an opponent use in a previous round). Feeding them items can buff on a full time or single combat round basis depending on the food in question, and some add additional passive buffs such as armour or spawning a new monster when that monster dies. When you’re ready it’s click go and watch as a super fast round of combat plays out before spewing you back with a whole new selection to be made and alterations to your party to be planned out based on their coins you won. Turns play a big factor as many abilities trigger between these, and can boost all kinds of things too. It’s a simple system that makes for a very deep and vibrant amount of strategy. For every round won you get a trophy, and these act as in-game currency to buy cosmetic alterations such as backgrounds and hats. The second animal pack has even more possible depth, but will cost the player a little real-world money.
Overall, this is a fantastic first game that could easily be updated with further content in the future (Team Wood Games has mentioned additional content is planned on their twitter feed) or make for a great foundation for a future, more in-depth title from the same studio. At the price tag of free, and totally without in game ads, energy systems or gattcha mechanics, this is possibly the best kind of Christmas gift they could have given us all.