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REVIEW: Tornado Outbreak

Check out AWN's review of Tornado Outbreak by Konami.

One of the more recent sleeper titles by Konami is Tornado Outbreak. Tornado Outbreak is sort of an action / puzzle title that follows the story of the main character Zephyr who is a “Wind Warrior” and is a part of an army of Wind Warriors.

Gameplay

What you’re looking at in the gameplay is something very similar to Katamari in that you are placed in an environment that you can gradually impact on a greater scale based on the size of your tornado and the time limit. You start each level as a small tornado and then build yourself up to a level 10 tornado causing chaotic damage. Later on you can find and collect enemies called Fire Fliers. Finding Fire Fliers in levels adds seconds to the timer (once you start reaching the timed levels), gives you a speed boost and helps you grow your tornado faster. The more you find at one time, the better. Mini games and boss battles are also in the mix of Tornado Outbreak which gives the game some variety.

Art & Animation

The art style of Tornado Outbreak is “cartoony” like characters from a cereal box. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing had it not been for the story but we’ll get into that later. The cinematic scenes are mostly static 2D images with dialogue. As far as the art goes, it feels like Konami could have really pushed the art style further with Tornado Outbreak. From what is seen in the concept art, Tornado Outbreak had some great designs. It has kind of a Dave Wasson feel to it but once the art made the transition to 3D, it feels like something was lost. It’s good but it could have been better.

Audio

During gameplay you are presented with a slew of sound effects that match each scenario very well. Things like crashing houses and the hilarious in-game chatter by the bulbous characters as they get sucked up by your tornado really hit the mark. The dialogue is actually very well written but it just feels out of place in this game style (I’ll explain later.) The music in Tornado Outbreak is great. Lots of different tunes add to the feel of each of the different levels such as a sort of “backwater” melody that plays during the trailer park level and a “militant”, drum based anthem that plays during the military base level.

The Final Verdict

Tornado Outbreak, although is fun to play, has a ridiculous story to it. The whole idea of being a “Wind Warrior” means that you are trying to accomplish something serious and somber when all the while hilarity ensues as you progress through the game; it just seems like the whole feel of Tornado Outbreak tried to go into two totally different directions. Another problem is that you will come across bosses known as Totems. Fighting these Totems involves you punching them instead of “tornado-ing” them. It doesn’t make much sense, you’re a gigantic tornado by the time you reach the bosses; why would you have to punch them?

On a much more positive note, tearing things apart and collecting Fire Fliers is very enjoyable and, once you get big enough, it’s satisfying to plow your tornado through everything in sight. The game gets gradually harder and always feels like a balanced challenge. Little extras like finding water and rock creatures adds to the challenge but isn’t required. Either way, if you can get by the goofy story of Tornado Outbreak, it’s actually a fun time. Tornado Outbreak is out for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

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