Graev and I LOVED shows like Battlebots and Junkyard wars. There was something about the idea of building something out of parts and doing battle against someone else's construction that we both find so addictive. I think that's why I'm so enthralled by this new iOS/Android game called Crash Arena Turbo Stars (or C.A.T.S. for short).
The game is incredibly simple and straight forward. You collect parts and place them onto various vehicle chassis. You can upgrade parts by combining them together or wagering them on other people's battles.
Certain chassis have different benefits and will pair better with weapons. Each vehicle, depending on how much it is upgraded, can only hold a certain number of parts based on how much 'power' they cost. This limits you and forces you to make choices of what you want to put on your chassis.
Once you've built your vehicle, you can pit it against other people's creations either in the quick match or championship modes. Combat is automated, so you'll just watch your bot move forward (or not depending on if you put wheels on it) and hope that your configuration bests the opponent.
The more you win, the more you gain rewards or go up in tiers. The higher your tier as you move up in the championships, the better items you'll be able to use and equip.
There are obvious strategies which coincide with the types of things I remember from watching the Battlebot shows as a kid. You can put 'flipper' on your vehicle to flip enemies over, or build yourself like a wedge to ram the other vehicle into the wall. Some people are even clever enough to purposefully flip themselves over so you can't move them.
CATS is monetized through IAPs which are pretty standard stuff. You get crates the more you win and can hold 4 crates at a time. Crates right now take me 2 hours to unlock. You can open them instantly for gems or wait.
Crates can also be purchased with gems. A "Giant Box" is 150 gems. Gems cost $9.99 for 600 (other amounts for other prices exist).
I'm having lots of fun and spending no money at all. I'm sure as I progress further and further in the championship tiers that spending money will really start to matter. After all, upgrading items so that you maximize your attack power and health for the amount of power you're consuming is everything.
It's well made and easy to pick up. I find myself reconfiguring my vehicle constantly to try new things. The excitement of watching my creation battle away is worth the free download.