How to Build a Winning Vehicle in CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars

CATS is a fast-paced cart battler that pits tricked-out rocket cars and chainsaw tanks against one another in epic 1v1 fights to the death (that is, destruction of one of the cars). However, players don’t actually control their vehicles while …

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CATS is a fast-paced cart battler that pits tricked-out rocket cars and chainsaw tanks against one another in epic 1v1 fights to the death (that is, destruction of one of the cars). However, players don’t actually control their vehicles while they’re fighting: it’s your job as master mechanic to build a cart that can take care of itself and handle the different dangers thrown its way automatically.

When you’re first starting out, you’ll have access to only a couple of chassis and weapons, making it fairly easy to throw whatever you have onto a cart and call it a day. However, as you play the game, you’ll quickly unlock more and more options, and the varieties of available builds will become nearly endless. The goal of this guide is to help players create viable machines that can help them win matches and progress up the ranks, where they’ll unlock even more powerful items and options.

We’ll only be using equipment from the first nine stages of the Championship (wooden and metal) in our example vehicles, so players who are new to the game should be able to build most of these. If you don’t have one of the items shown, just keep unlocking supply boxes and earning medals in the Championship while using a different build. If you’re entirely new to the game, you may want to check out our CATS Tips, Cheats, and Strategies guide for the basics of the game and a wider coverage of its rules.


Car #1: The 360

In early game battles, the Forklift is king. Players love flipping their opponent and then wailing on their defenseless backside until victory. The 360 lets you use this same tactic but also defend against it. If your Forklift doesn’t flip your opponent first, the goal is to have a Blade positioned so it can hit them from the front or the back.


  • A Classic chassis with a square connector at the lower front and a round connector as close to the top-center as possible. Its wheel wells should be close to the ground, but their positioning is not crucial.
  • A Blade on the centered round connector. You need the Blade to be able to hit an opponent that is in front of or behind you, so the connector’s position is crucial.
  • A Forklift on the front square connector
  • A Bigfoot wheel in front and a Scooter wheel in back. However, wheel size on the 360 will really be determined by the location of your connectors: you want your wheels to be small enough that your Blade can reach your opponent from either side and too-large tires could hinder this. Larger wheels will help you reach your opponent faster but smaller wheels can be used if necessary.
  • Strong against: Easily flippable cars like Sneaky; players using the Forklift
  • Weak against: Hard-to-flip chassis like Titans using ranged weaponry
  • Substitutions: A Classic chassis with two round connectors would lose the Forklift and flipping abilities but would gain extra attack power. If you don’t have a strong Blade yet, we’d recommend ditching the Forklift in favor of a Rocket or a front-end melee weapon. This way, you can get some shots in early and then if you do get flipped, continue hitting them with your Blade.

Car #2: The Tank

Once you have a Titan chassis, The Tank style of car is one of our personal favorites. Its purpose is to counter close-range opponents who are using powerful melee weapons or the Forklift vehicle-flipping item. The goal of The Tank is to finish your opponent before it crosses the arena, using its stationary position and front shield to buy time while your long-range rockets do their job.


  • A Titan chassis with a round connector at mid-height or lower and a square connector on the front. Its wheel wells should be as high up off the ground as possible.
  • A Rocket on the rear, round connector
  • A Repulse on the front, square connector
  • Two Knob wheels. You don’t want the cart to roll or move forward at all. If your wheel wells are too low to the ground, you can skip the wheels and just sit flat. However, wheels add health to your vehicle, so it’s beneficial to use them if possible.
  • Strong against: Melee opponents, Forklifts
  • Weak against: Ranged opponents with stronger ranged weapons
  • Substitutions: If you’ve unlocked the Laser, feel free to use it in place of the Rocket.

Car #3: The Low Blow

In the early game, players don’t always have the luxury of tons of chassis with different heights of connectors. You’ll probably run into quite a few mid-height and above weapons. That’s where the Sneaky excels: it sits so low to the ground that projectiles being fired from taller weapons will often go right over it. Putting all its melee power at the front, low end of the vehicle ensures it will hit anyone it runs into and will even continue hitting while being lifted into the air—but it is indefensible if flipped over entirely.


  • A Sneaky chassis with two round connectors near the front, ideally close to the bottom. Wheel wells should be near the bottom of the cart and spaced far apart, but their position is not critical to the build
  • A Chainsaw or Drill on the round connecter nearest the front; a Stinger on the round connector farther back
  • A Scooter wheel in the back and a Roller or Knob wheel on the front. Ideally, whatever wheels you choose will be smaller and keep you close to the ground—bigger wheels will just make you taller and negate this build’s benefits
  • Strong against: Taller chassis with weapons positioned near their center or higher
  • Weak against: Forklifts and other Sneakies
  • Substitutions: If you don’t have a Sneaky with the right composition, a Boulder can sometimes offer a similar result. If you don’t have any chassis with two front-end round connectors, you could swap in a Forklift near the front or a Repulse if your square connector is near the front-top of your car.

Car #4: The Long-Distance Reunion

A lot of our favorite vehicle builds were discovered simply by fighting other players and seeing what they had come up with. This one in particular wasn’t something we expected to be strong—placing a Blade on top of the tallest chassis initially seems counter-intuitive—but an opponent used this against us and we were wowed while being destroyed. Its ranged weapon eats away health while you close the gap and its Blade helps finish the job mid-flip.


  • A Titan chassis with a square connector near the front-bottom, a round connector near the bottom-back or –center, and a round connector near the top-front. Wheel wells should be near the ground and ideally far apart, but their location is not crucial
  • A Rocket or Laser on the bottom round connector and a Blade on the top round connector
  • A Forklift on the front square connector. In addition to flipping smaller, unstable builds, the Forklift will hug cars to you while the Blade does its job
  • A Tire on the back wheel and a Roller or Knob on the front wheel. Anything bigger than a Tire on the back will likely cause you to tip over
  • Strong against: This is an all-around design that should do well against a variety of opponents. The trick is making sure your ranged weapon is as low to the ground as possible to hit shorter chassis and your Blade is not too high up and just whiffing air
  • Weak against: Repulse will potentially tip this build over, leaving it defenseless. A Blade that is more centralized might still be able to hit an opponent even when flipped
  • Substitutions: A Repulse in place of the Forklift. You really need a strong ranged weapon to make this build work, and a Repulse can buy you some time against melee opponents that the Forklift will not.

Car #5: The Wildcard

Sometimes trying something ridiculous and seemingly terrible can return surprisingly useful results. None of the builds we’ve listed here are foolproof: they are simply vehicles that have proven themselves in battles we’ve encountered, but they all have weaknesses. Testing out different creations and seeing how they perform is the only real way to find what will work for you, especially since the weapons and chassis types/layouts you have in your garage will be different than what we have. The build below is just one for-fun vehicle we’ve tried and enjoyed watching in action.


  • A Boulder chassis with two square connectors and one round connector. Ideally the round connector will be near the center of the chassis. Wheel wells should be close to the ground but position is not really important
  • A Blade on the round connector
  • A Booster on each square connector
  • A large wheel like Bigfoot on the front wheel well and a smaller wheel like Knob on the back
  • Strong against: This Wildcard has lost plenty of fights, but it’s also won against some much, much stronger vehicles simply by flying over them before they can get any shots off. It’s landed on top of Titans and simply sat on their head, pummeling them with the Blade; it’s flown over Surfers and then rolled into their backside, pushing them into the time’s up wall-of-doom
  • Weak against: The danger of this Wildcard is that it can ramp off smaller vehicles and fly straight out of the arena, being destroyed immediately. But even that loss is kind of fun to watch.

Specific builds aside, our main recommendation is to focus on Rockets and Lasers over melee weapons. Ranged weaponry almost always wins out over weapons that require you to actually get to your opponent. Many times in later matches, the player with the strongest Laser is going to be the winner. The exception is the Blade, which comes in handy when dealing with being flipped by a Forklift. Staying stationary and hitting your opponent from afar is your safest strategy—you just need to be sure you have a strong ranged weapon and enough health to endure any projectiles coming back at you. Keep fusing items onto your strongest Lasers, Rockets, and Chassis to increase your strength and HP.

No matter what type of offense you choose, make sure your weapons are low enough to the ground to hit even short opponents, and of course check that melee weapons stick far enough outside of your chassis to actually reach someone (a Chainsaw equipped in the middle of a Surfer is essentially useless). And, most of all, experiment! You never know what you’ll like best or what will prove powerful against certain challengers until you try it out. Use Championship or the League as your testing grounds and save Quick Fight for when you have a build you’re confident in. Happy crashing!

Jillian will play any game with cute characters or an isometric perspective, but her favorites are Fallout 3, Secret of Mana, and Harvest Moon. Her PC suffers from permanent cat-on-keyboard syndrome, which she blames for most deaths in Don’t Starve. She occasionally stops gaming long enough to eat waffles and rewatch Battlestar Galactica.