Tornado Review

Tornado is an interesting gimmick in need of a game. You play as a cat-like 'cosmic cleaner' charged with returning the cities of Earth back to their home planet after they've been whisked away by somebody or other. Well, to be honest, I'm a little bit sketchy on the story. The cosmic cleaners converse with each other in an annoying series of chirps and clicks and the text-based translations of their banter doesn't make a whole lot of sense especially when you're pounding on the A button in an attempt to stop the chirping. Anyway, to recover the cities and their monuments you must spin yourself into a tornado and sweep everything up Kansas-style. To do so you must quickly and continually trace a circle on the touch screen to keep yourself spinning. As you spin and begin collecting smaller objects such as trees and people, you'll build energy to grow into a bigger tornado that has the power to scoop up ever bigger objects such as buildings and monuments. You need to keep up the spinning though, or you'll begin to lose energy and shrink down to a smaller tornado.

At first the game is kind of fun there's some enjoyment to be had tooling around a city scooping up buildings. However, any enjoyment you have playing is very quickly sucked out of you. First, there is the issue of your goals on each level which have you searching for objects or other cosmic cleaners in the current city. There are no clues or indicators where to find your targets and the screen only shows a tiny square of the city. To find anything requires a slow and methodical sweep of the city a block at a time. This would be a bit tedious in and of itself, but it is made downright frustrating by the imposition of ridiculously tight time limits. There's not enough time to scour the city, but if you don't scour the city you'll have no hope of finding what you're looking for. Making matters worse, some of your targets are hidden in larger buildings so you'll need to waste precious time building enough energy before you can even begin searching the buildings. You'll replay levels countless times as you slowly learn where everything is hidden, and when you finally do, it will still be a mad dash to pick everything up in time. Adding totally unnecessary insult to injury, each time the clock expires it's game over time. Not 'would you like to try again' game over time, but 'reboot the game to the initial loading screen' game over time. You'll have to sit through all of the loading and credit screens before you'll have the chance to try again.

I can see why the time limits were added. If you look closely there's not really much of a game here without them. However this is just lazy game design. Slap a draconian time limit on the game and the ten levels in the game will feel like a hundred, right? Wrong. Next time try building a game around your concept rather than turning an exercise in repetition into an exercise in mind-warping frustration. Not only does this game leave your head aching in frustration, it will leave your hand aching from drawing thousand of small circles as well. My advice to you is to just keep your head down and let this tornado pass you by.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 40%. Toss this one into the storm cellar and lock the door.


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