Keep your distance from this tornado.
At first, Tornado for DS seemed like a hidden gem. It has shiny packaging, furry main characters, 3-D graphics and most importantly, tornadoes. Images of using these powerful weapons to suck up cows, trucks and entire cities had us ditching Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades in favor of something that seemed original and exciting. Then we played the first level and everything fell apart.
We knew we were in trouble the moment we began watching the intro. From the opening slide, we failed to connect to the game's furry heroes, who are on a mission to rescue Earth's stolen items from a greedy alien prince. Characters ramble on about nothing in particular and none of them are interesting. Not good news for protagonists competing against the likes of Mario, Sonic and even Tak, for that matter.
To play, you must transform Toki (the game's hero) into a tornado by drawing circles on the touch screen. From there, you use either the touch screen or the d-pad to maneuver your tornado around the playfield, sucking up all sorts of objects, including trees, cars and even people. To engulf larger things like houses, however, you need to level up by devouring a set number of smaller items. Reach level five, and you can grab everything.
It's an average premise and one that's made worse by restrictive time limits. For whatever reason, the developers force you to meet your objectives before time runs out. The first stage, for example, has you searching for five batteries in four minutes. It's a weird opening act, because you never see enemies or do something fun. Hunt for batteries? That's awful.
Problem is, those restrictive time limits make playing the game a pain. You're constantly trying to beat the clock and more often than not, you'll fail miserably. Once that happens, the game boots you back to the title screen without the option to restart. That's lame.
There is a wireless multiplayer mode for you and a friend, but again, it forces you play with time limits. Eating more sushi than your opponent, transporting more buildings and changing crystals different colors combine to form a decent collection of games, but why can't we just put a 21 sushi limit on the proceedings? Why must we do everything within three minutes? It makes no sense.
Tornado seemed like a good time, but nonsensical missions and time limits killed the game. Don't be fooled by its shiny exterior. This tornado spins itself out.
What's Hot: Pretty packaging, cute characters.
What's Not: Ridiculous time constraints, game kicks you to the title screen after a failed mission, lame mission objectives, lackluster multiplayer.