Mechanics are supposed to be the "big idea" behind Tornado
. Using the stylus on the touch-screen, you swirl around in a circle to form a Tornado
... Keep swirling and the energy meter fills, helping you maintain form until you meet up with an object you can't transport or anything big enough to make you work. As you maintain the Tornado
, you'll see the energy level rise, increasing the power of the Tornado
and its ability to transport objects. Level 5 is the biggie, as we all know - this category of storm is capable of transporting big buildings like the Eiffel Tower - but the lower levels have their place. Movement of the storm can be handled by touching or swirling the stylus in the direction you wish to travel. A handy D-pad will also serve as navigation for your growing storm. Using the D-pad was the only was we found to really make progress during the level; the alternate method of swirling the stylus in one direction of another us just too clunky. There are some special abilities you pick up during the game and initiate in different ways. Picking up special objects will often require a gesture, performed with the stylus, to unlock their power. Other times you'll be asked to blow into the mic to cause your Tornado
to scoot along quickly. Special abilities, like splitting your tornado or projecting smaller storms, come in handy as you face off against larger and larger enemies.
Tornado feels reminiscent of older games like Jumping Flash that built on a single interesting gameplay device. The problem comes in when execution doesn't match vision... No doubt there were some good ideas behind Tornado; it shows in the storytelling, the imaginative design for the game's look, and the idea variety of multiplayer and single player options. Very uneven difficulty and unrealistic countdown timers change the game from something welcoming to players from different backgrounds that want something different. Different is good in the industry, and games that successfully execute on the big ideas win much praise. Most likely Tornado will die on the retail vine because of its quirky mechanics and unrelenting difficulty. If the game does find an audience, that audience will recognize that Tornado isn't about being the slickest looking package on the street. It's about adventure and exploration with the immediate gratification of spreading what looks like mayhem, when in fact you are actually cleaning up the streets. A quirky title that may be worth a look for very patient children or very bored adults.