Let's jump right into this: Tornado is the tale of a group of "Cosmic Cleaners" (what they actually do I'm not entirely sure) that are in the unfortunate position of being on Earth when a malevolent entity steals everything on it. People, buildings, missiles, all gone. So it's up to this crew of cat-like creatures to use their tornado powers to…suck it all up…or something. It's kind of vague. What this means is you'll be spinning around as a tornado, picking up items, getting bigger, and picking up bigger items while completing objectives.

The first thing that hit me when I started playing Tornado was its similarity to Katamari Damacy. In a nutshell, you spin around the countryside, picking up objects while getting bigger and bigger. The difference is that in Katamari Damacy, it's fun, and not an exercise in frustration. You see, in Tornado, for the Story Mode, you're given objectives to fulfill. These are quite simple tasks like "find five batteries" or "find your partner". Completing these tasks is really simple, but a colossal pain in the neck.

First of all, the camera is about as close to your tornado as it can be without actually clipping through the thing. So you see about ten feet around you, which can be just a little problematic. It gets even worse when you use your boosting ability (activated by blowing in the mic), because you are essentially shot in a direction of your choosing, completely blind. The speed makes it incredibly useful, the fact that you're likely to run into an object capable of stopping you cold because can't see a thing makes it incredibly worthless.

This sort of segues into the objectives. You're given a large map, full of objects and people and buildings and whatnot that you can suck into your tornado. Your mission objectives often involve scouring the map searching for things. This wouldn't be such a problem except that you're given ridiculously short time limits to search the entire map, and that includes needing to vortex up a number of objects just to get your tornado large enough to pick up the bigger buildings and structures. And I'll mention the claustrophobic camera again.

There's no indication on the map you're given about where the objectives could possibly be, which means you just have to wander randomly, hoping that you run into something you're supposed to. Sometimes, especially when rescuing your Cleaner buddies, you need to suck up specific buildings to find them underneath, but again you're given no indication as to what buildings need to be sucked into the tornado, so you're left to blindly wander the level until the timer runs out. Which is often does. It all means that you'll be repeating levels over and over and over again, up to a dozen times for some. All while continuously spinning circles on your screen to keep your tornado's power from dropping.

It's not just the trial-and-error gameplay that makes Tornado a chore to play, but the fact that the game doesn't seem to think you should be losing. Every time you fail a mission, you're treated to a screen that shows your stats for the level slowly counting up before revealing a MISSION FAILED message. Then it resets, bringing you back to the developers logo. The first time? Not annoying. The seventh? Annoying. There are not a lot of levels in the game, which means that having to play the levels again and again may be intentional, and if so, it's a terrible way to add replay value. At least there's an Arcade Mode, which just has you picking up as much stuff as you can, which is the way it feels like it should've been in the first place.

I would not recommend Tornado at all. It's a decent concept (one we've seen before) but is executed in an extremely frustrating manner. Playing levels over and over again, repeating the same routine, being booted back to the start menu after every failure, hot coals on the back of your neck: all of these things are not fun. Tornado uses three out of four of these techniques. It's not torturous - that's where the hot coals come in - but it's not fun either.