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Wow, this is a strange one. Tornado Outbreak is a completely new IP from Konami – home of Silent Hill and MGS – but it looks and feels like a Saturday morning cartoon tie-in. It’s hard to believe that this saccharine sweet title was once thought to be MGS creator, Hideo Kojima’s next project after Guns of the Patriots. When it comes to internet rumours, sometimes there definitely is plenty of smoke without fire.
You play as Zephyr. He’s part of the Wind Warriors who can harness the power of the elements to turn into a huge tornado. Your mission – if you choose to accept it – is to seek out the hidden orbs scattered around Earth and restore the once mighty Omegaton creature back to his powerful state. You do this by destroying everything in sight. Clever, eh? You start as a tiny gust of wind and, just like in Katamari, you have to suck up little things like chickens and flowers to level-up and become bigger. You chew through fences, lampposts, vehicles and more until you can fling houses into the air quicker than you can say “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” A copied formula, but good fun.
But then it seems the developers had a crisis of confidence and decided to add some annoying features to Tornado Outbreak to separate it from the simple Katamari styling. Features like boss fights where you have to guide your tornado to a big totem pole while avoiding sunlight (UV rays kill wind, you see) are truly tiresome. Then there’s the not-so awful combo-system where you catch fire-flies to string together big scores and, more importantly, open new levels. The annoying Gate Races that you fly through to create a vortex before each boss are as fiddly as they are pointless too.
Tornado Outbreak would’ve been better if it’d just been about the destruction and Katamari-style ‘levelling-up,’ which is by far the best thing about it. You feel nothing but disdain for the characters, and because there isn’t a cartoon show to back up any stories, you’ll always feel detached from all the stuff that’s padding the game out. Without any real substance to back it up, Tornado Outbreak has a lot of huff, but not enough puff.
Nov 2, 2009