|System: X360, PS3, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Loose Cannon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 28, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
After you've completed the zone areas, you'll then need to form a vortex. This amounts to little more than steering Zephyr through an on-rails race, and it's probably the weakest aspect of the game. Control feels clumsy, but luckily, these sequences are brief.
Once your vortex is fully established, however, it's time to take on the totems. Though the premise is the same each time you face the totems, the approach is varied up nicely. You'll once again have to avoid sunlight, as well as molten projectiles being lobbed your way. Upon reaching a totem, you'll then waggle the Wii Remote to attack a certain portion of the totem before a gate closes in on your troupe of Wind Warriors. Waggling feels like a completely unnecessary addition, and the lack of any rumble feedback means it isn't very fun, either.
There is a co-op option for two players, and though it can be mildly amusing, it doesn't actually make the gameplay any easier. In fact, co-op makes completing zones more difficult, since you'll have to share your consumption of objects with another player, causing you to level up more slowly. When you and your buddy are in close proximity, the camera is a single-screen view, though it will automatically change to split-screen when you move further apart from each other. It's jarring to say the least, but you can set the camera for a constant-split-screen configuration in the options menu.
In terms of visuals, Tornado Outbreak once again shoots itself in the foot. It's certainly no looker from a technical standpoint, but the various themes are fun to explore. The real problem, however, is that most levels are dark to the point of making it impossible to see many of the objects within a given zone, and you'll end up wasting precious time wandering about aimlessly. The framerate holds up fairly well, though, and the animated cutscenes are attractive.
On the audio front, all of the dialogue is voiced competently, and the music, though unoriginal, fits the gameplay like a glove. As your tornado grows in size, the music intensifies. Once the zone timer begins to count down the final minute, things really get hectic. The sounds of cobbles clanking and bushes being uprooted sound great, and on the whole, the sound effects and music do a bang-up job of lending excitement to the experience.
Tornado Outbreak has a solid foundation built around a compelling gameplay idea. After all, Katamari Damacy offered an inventive and addictive formula that has yet to be fully explored. Adding the destructive nature of tornadoes to the equation is definitely something we're ready to get onboard with. Unfortunately, Konami doesn't quite hit the mark here, though they're off to a good start. The level of challenge is brutal, but a lot of that is due to poor design. Additionally, the lack of variety, anemic collection of unlockables, and a short story mode make this a better candidate for the WiiWare platform.
CCC Freelance Writer