By Spencer . September 16, 2008 . 5:58pm
Ignition Entertainment isn’t just publishing AQ Interactive’s games. They also picked up Tornado from Success. While Tornado has no set release date in Japan I have a build of the US version in my possession. It’s pretty much complete with English text and all too. In Tornado you control Toki, an environmentally friendly space cat who can spin into a tornado, He heads to Earth to clean up all of the junk on the planet. On his mission Toki gets sucked into a black hole by Prince, a monocle wearing greedy human, who took everything from Earth. Now you have to help Toki grab all of the objects sucked into the black hole and transport them back to Earth with the power of Toki’s tornado machine.
Some might say you power actually power Toki’s tornado machine.
Not by simply tapping buttons either. At the beginning of a level you need to get a tornado started by repeatedly drawing circles on the touch screen. Once the tornado is in motion you can move it with the D-pad or by drawing spirals in the direction you want to go on the bottom screen. When Toki turns into a tornado he can pick up objects, but each time he tries to grab a large object like a building or elephant Toki’s tornado power meter depletes. This means you need to draw more circles to recharge it. Grab enough objects and the tornado levels up, but before you can start grabbing pyramids you have to draw more circles to charge it. I get the concept of making players viscerally fuel the tornado, but the control scheme didn’t make Tornado more fun.
You may have imagined Tornado’s story mode to be a collect-a-thon like Katamari Damacy where you need to suck up as many objects as you can before time runs out. Nope! It is a time attack where you need to find specific items like tornado machine batteries and more often a fellow space cats lost somewhere in Earth. Once you retrieve your targets you move on to the next stage. However, most space cats are boxed in by large objects. You need to spend the first few minutes leveling up your tornado so it’s strong enough to suck up the wall and the clueless space cat behind it. Some levels have nuisances like a hero who wears purple tights and blasts Toki with some kind of slow-ray vision. The Hero, that’s his name, is awfully confused. Talking to him doesn’t work, but shooting him with the lightning cubes scattered on the stage does the trick. You can fry the hero by grabbing a cube then tapping the hero to aim the lightning bolt. The Hero’s sole purpose is to burn your time and he wastes a lot of it since he doesn’t have anything better to do than follow you around.
Tornado’s story mode doesn’t give players a whole lot of freedom. Arcade mode is for players who just want to grab objects and clean every 3D model from a level. However, you need to unlock stages in story mode before you can play them in arcade mode. Each stage in Tornado is modeled after a country like the United Kingdom, France, and… Iraq? Someone on the development side made the awkward decision of littering the Iraq level with bombs planted in the ground, tanks, patrolling soldiers, and other elements of war. It’s not like the Iraq stage is outright offensive, but it’s a grim dose of reality in what appeared to be a lighthearted game. I wasn’t sure if the developers were attempting satire I just didn’t get, but seeing the level was, well, strange.
Actually, strange is the best word I can think of to describe Tornado. There are some good concepts here, but they something seems off. Tornado doesn’t draw you in with charm, instead you’re doing the drawing.
Images courtesy of Ignition.