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Tornado Package Art
GENRE
Action
DEVELOPER
Skonec/Success
PUBLISHER
Ignition Entertainment
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
Yes
BUY NOW AT

Tornado

A dastardly fellow rips all of Earth’s objects away from the planet and uses it to create his own little Earth. Standing in his way is a crew of felines who put their special waste management skills to work to stop him. They begin transporting all the objects back to Earth, by spinning themselves into tornados with the suction power that would put David Oreck to shame. They run along the world, lifting just about anything off the ground. It may sound familiar, but the aptly named Tornado is far from appealing.

visuals

Tornado uses mostly three-dimensional graphics mixed with an isometric view. Buildings are reasonably detailed, often representing real-world locations such as the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and other famous landmarks from various cities around the world. Other items are a little smallish on the DS screen, with most people looking bland and trees coming off a little boxy, but overall the look is solid. The main characters, which spend the majority of time as their various tornado forms, look rather slick, particularly Deva, with his crisp green funnel.

The desire for 3D without providing full 3D viewpoints, however, can get in the way of gameplay. Moving up or left on the screen works fine, but reversing down or right gives far too small of a buffer between the tornado and the next object. And because some objects are detrimental to the team’s progress, this limitation becomes a major annoyance.

audio

For a game that rewards players with bonus songs, Tornado does little to mix up the music. Most are the forgettable techno/rock music tracks with a quick loop. Sound is still important for gameplay, as a few effects provide clues as to which buildings are liftable and which need to be left for later.

gameplay

Tornado is controlled entirely with the touch screen, with the microphone coming into play for occasional maneuvers. Players draw circles to make Toki and his crew spin into tornados. Circles drawn near the edge of the screen move the tornado that way, and running over an object picks it up. The more items collected, the larger the tornado’s level becomes, which can then lift larger items. Some power-ups require a few additional patterns with the stylus, but a good 98% of the game is spent drawing circles. Hand cramps ensue, not to mention a little worry over the health of the touch screen with such repeated motions.

But the real pain is in the core gameplay. In the main game, levels are essentially collectathons -– find five of those or eight of these. Such levels are tolerable, as players fight a set time limit to find the required items, but stages vary mainly in appearance with hardly any real puzzling areas. It’s all trial and error: find a few items, fail the level when time expires, remember where they are, then try again.

Worse are levels with a one-object goal. Stage two is a perfect example and the main reason players will quit on Tornado very early. In this level, players have four minutes to find a fellow shipmate Deva in a recreation of Paris. The time limit is too short to search the entire stage in one go-around, so by default it should take a few tries to find little Deva. The problem is Deva’s location is random. Each time the level is replayed, he can be hiding in a new building. This gives no chance at employing any strategy or logic in a canvassing of the stage. Instead, it’s a big game of chance that could lead to replaying a level 15 or 20 times, which proves a frustrating and tedious affair.

Before too long, it become quickly evident the game’s main storyline -– collecting Earth’s objects to rebuild our planet -– is a mostly forgotten and underdeveloped byproduct. Sure, it’s important to pick up towers and castles, but only to complete the main goals of finding batteries or shipmates.

Tornado also makes some poor general design decisions. Failing a level -– which happens quite often -– restarts the entire game as though the DS is loading the card for the first time. In addition, only one game can be saved at a time, which means any DS co-owners cannot work their own progress.

multiplayer

There are a few modes available for local multi-card play. These modes have players roaming a level to either collect the most of a particular item or transport the most buildings.

overall

Games that break the standard molds are often copied in concept, but most imitators find reproducing originality is far from original. Tornado is a game that looks to mimic the appeal of Katamari Damacy but instead becomes increasingly annoying, quite monotonous, and not at all fun. Do not be fooled.

final score 3.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Dave Magliano
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"Tiger uppercut!!"


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