Using emojis for game art was a clever idea
For a long time, Super Auto Pets used a strange and clever (and cheap!) source of artwork for its attacking animals: emojis, scaled up far larger than they appear in WhatsApp messages from your mum. The super auto-battler did eventually start making custom artwork for its later expansions, but much of the furious fauna was still emojis. That has now changed with today’s patch, going back to replace all the old emojis with new animal pictures. Goodbye, old friends.
When Super Auto Pets first started, Team Wood Games leaned heavily on emojis to create the game’s art, using critters from the publicly licensed emoji libraries of Google, Twitter, and FireFox. It wasn’t the most consistent look, but it was cute enough and it did work. I really respected that decision to use available artwork to get a great game up and running faster. Team Wood did start creating their own animal art from the second expansion onwards, but animals in the base set and first expansion had been emojis until today.
The new art for the old pets often has a similar-ish pose or colours to the originals, though they’re certainly cheerier and sillier. Animals from the new expansion look tweaked a little too, with some different colours and expressions.
“Why did we make new artwork?” the devs ask themselves in the patch notes. “To make Super Auto Pets more unique, consistent and feel like something that was made by us at Team Wood Games instead of being a mash-up of different emoji sets.”
I like quite a few of the new old pets, but some are big misses for me. Thankfully, you can switch them back. Head into the Customize/Pets menu and you can switch any individual animal between their Classic and Standard looks, as well as switching all at once. I’m not feeling some of the new sounds either.
Today’s patch also added a Hard Mode for serious animal fighters. After every shop tier upgrade, you have to pick a new negative perk (a toy, to use the in-game term) that’ll hinder your run. Maybe you’ll choose to give your opponent bonus stats, or ink your own pets, or damage your pets when their pals faint, or lose money when you buy from the shop, or… some of them might help the right build a bit, but mostly they’ll screw with you.
I’m glad that my favourite auto-battler is presumably doing well enough for the developers to pay for new art. It’s a cracking game (our favourite games of 2021 too) and extremely generous, with a huge amount available for free.
You can play Super Auto Pets free from Steam or in your browser on Itch.io, as well as on iOS and Android. The base set of pets is free, as is the best mode (the rotating Weekly pack of random pets and items), while expansions and a few of the cosmetics cost cash. It is extremely generous.