Tornado Review
Tornado box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Skonec Entertainment 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Ignition Entertainment 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 24, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
A Knock Off, Not a Knockout
by Cole Smith

Tornado can be best described as a Katamari wannabe; a game in which you pick up items that gradually increase in size creating a snowball effect as your clump of junk grows with each addition. The main difference is Tornado uses of the stylus, touch-screen, and built-in microphone to move with. It's essentially the same gameplay with only a few variations on the clump-gathering theme. Even if you really like the Katamari games, you would be wise to observe that this game lacks the charm and fun of the original.

Tornado screenshot

Your enjoyment level of Tornado will depend on your age, skill level, and overall temperament. The story is simple, the characters are too far on the other side of cutesy, and the repetitive nature of the gameplay is sure to make more sophisticated gamers wince. Tornado would have made a great mini-game but it struggles to maintain interest over a number of hours. To fill up time there is an awful lot of padding and make-work scenarios such as collecting, controlling the tornado with the stylus, trial-and-error gameplay, and having to entirely replay failed levels. Players of all ages are likely to find the challenges and the tornado-drawing control system frustrating.

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Toki is the Sonic-inspired protagonist of the game. He's the leader of the Cosmic Cleaners, a gang of cartoon animals that use special tornado machines to clean up and collect a variety of objects and substances. In this story, a mischievous space prince has used a black hole to suck up a variety of items from planet Earth and hurled them around the galaxy. Everything from the kitchen sink to city skylines have been stolen. It's the job of Toki and his crew to tackle more than 60 levels to find, suck up, and return these items. They will be collected using the power of the tornadoes that you will conjure with skillful twirls of the stylus on the screen.

Tornado screenshot

Story, Arcade, and the two-player Versus mode offer some stylistic gameplay differences that don't add much new content or alter the gameplay mechanics, but can literally make or break the game for some players. The single-player story mode can be very challenging as I will discuss later. It's not easy to get on to the next level for a number of reasons but primarily the culprit is the time limit. The Arcade mode doesn't include such strict challenges. It allows you to play around with the concept of collecting while at the same time increasing your skills, so that you can do your best in the Story mode. Unfortunately, all three modes include the restrictive time limit. There's a great deal of luck and trial-and-error involved in the Story mode. Challenging another player in the Versus mode may be the most fun some players will get out of this game. You'll have a limited amount of time to collect as many crystals, vehicles, and buildings as you can.

Tornadoes are powered by continually outlining a circle formation on the screen with the stylus. Drawing circles quicker will result in faster and more powerful tornadoes. They will begin by picking up a few minor items such as food and fence posts and will gradually increase to pick up much larger objects as you progress. The tornado has five stages, each with accompanying abilities to give the gameplay some variety. Blowing into the microphone will give you micro-power bursts in speed, but you'll have to be at level two to use this feature. At the highest level, the tornado is not only larger but will split in two, enabling it to deal double damage. In fact, the power is so great it's virtually screen-clearing. But it's not always easy to get to this last level.

Tornado screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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