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Cut the Rope creator unveils C.A.T.S. vehicle combat game

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ZeptoLab’s Cut the Rope has been downloaded more than a billion times since 2010. And now the company hopes to get another big hit with a new mobile game, C.A.T.S.: Crash Arena Turbo Stars.

In this game, you play a “street cat” cartoon character and build your vehicle. Then, like in the television show BattleBots, you enter an arena and fight another human player. Your job is to destroy your opponent’s vehicle in an 1-on-1 arena.

“You have to build a vehicle is such a way that it can withstand a lot of fights,” said Misha Lyalin, the CEO of ZeptoLab, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Above: Battles in C.A.T.S. will be fast and furious.

Image Credit: ZeptoLab

ZeptoLab’s teams in Moscow and Barcelona have been building the free-to-play multiplayer mobile game for a couple of years, and now they will release C.A.T.S. on iOS and Android in April. It will also debut on Amazon and Windows Phone.

There are lots of ways to upgrade your vehicle, either through earned currency or in-app purchases. Over time, that is expected to grow to hundreds of parts that you could use to equip your vehicle for fighting. If you win, you rise on the leaderboard. You’ll battle in a variety of locations, like abandoned warehouses.

Thanks to the success of Cut the Rope and its sequels, ZeptoLab has grown to more than 120 employees, said Lyalin. The team took its time with this title, prototyping lots of versions until it was happy with the gameplay.

“Everybody in the company liked it a lot,” Lyalin said. “We all loved building fighting machines as kids.”

In soft launch, the game had very good virality.

“That gave us confidence to launch it worldwide,” Lyalin said. “We want to launch it and finally see how it does.”

“We love to mix different genres, experiment with game mechanics and themes,” said ZeptoLab creative director Semyon Voinov in a statement. “C.A.T.S. is a perfect example of this approach. It’s fun, innovative, and cute — exactly what you would expect from a ZeptoLab game.

“As kids, many of us loved building tanks and battle cars from the stuff in our backyards to create epic toy battles, so we thought — why not turn it into a mobile game? And to make things even more fun, we decided to man our bots with cute — but highly competitive! — kittens. Who doesn’t like machines, explosions, and cats?”

You start with a simple wooden car, which you can later upgrade with an arsenal of deadly handmade weapons and gadgets — from drills and chainsaws to soda pop bottles. Players compete against each other in similar ranking groups; those on top of the leaderboard move to the next stage.

As players crush the competitors and progress through the stages, upgraded materials and new skills become available. The goal is to reach the highest league — Crash Arena — and fight to become its champion.

Google Play fans can register to get the game now. ZeptoLabs’ previous game was King of Thieves, which has been downloaded more than 50 million times so far.

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