Tornado Outbreak

 
Exciting to be animated twister, but chaos is massive.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Despite the good intentions of the hero, rampant destruction is played for fun in the game, and that is likely to be the main takeaway for younger kids. There can be some real benefit, though, in older children analyzing the hero's motivations. The heroes moral dilemma can actually be quite thought-provoking. In a less redeemable aspect, trailer parks and poor southern neighborhoods are depicted in a stereotypically "trashy" way in the game.

Positive role models

The hero causes unbelievable destruction throughout the course of the game, but he does so because he has been duped into believing what he is doing is helpful. He also states his remorse about the damage he's done and then tries to help the displaced humans rebuild.

Ease of play

The controls are very instinctive and the difficulty increases as just the right rate.

Violence

In the guise of a whipping tornado, the hero tears through trailer parks, amusement parks, roadside attractions, small villages, army installations, and other doomed areas, destroying everything in its path. Cars explode, trees are ripped up, houses crunched, and people and animals get thrown, screaming, into the air. The sounds of roaring winds and crunching wood and metal are near constant throughout.

Sex

A tornado too small to lift a person can rip off his clothes, but the cartoonish characters always have more clothes underneath. One of the recurring "townspeople" that can get tossed around is a very round woman in a halter top.

Language

Not an issue.

Consumerism

Not an issue.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not an issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tornado Outbreak's hyper-kinetic action allows kids to revel in the fun of destroying property. Kids take on the role of a destructive windstorm and tear up one town after another. They will throw people and animals to unseen fates as well. The hero of the game is an outer space Wind Warrior, who [SPOILER ALERT] has been deceived into believing the destruction he causes is all in the name of a good cause. Through most of the game, he thinks he must tear up buildings and farms in order to unearth the evil Fire Flyers that are hiding there and plan to destroy the Earth. He discovers in the end that he was being manipulated and fights back against the true evil ones. The heroes moral dilemma can actually be quite thought-provoking.

What's it about?

In TORNADO OUTBREAK, intergalactic Wind Warriors are enlisted to become tornados on Earth and tear up landscapes in order to find lost power orbs and the evil Fire Flyers who hid them. The eager young commander of the squad has misgivings about the destruction he is causing (\"The humans didn't ask for this,\" he says), and wants to help rebuild the Earth once their elemental war is over. Still, he carries out his orders, [SPOILER ALERT] only to discover that he was being deceived all along and was actually carrying out the plans of the evildoers. He fights back for ultimate victory.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Tornado Outbreak, while not as creatively original as the Katamari games, has similiarly addictive gameplay. On each mission, you start off as a small dust devil, and as you suck up larger and larger items, your size increases until you're able to destroy barns, monuments, and even skyscrapers. It's guilty fun. There's a time element, as well as a rule about Wind Warriors' vulnerability to sunlight, which requires you to only travel within shaded areas and adds another level of challenge. The story is probably more complex than you'd need for gameplay that is essentially, "How much stuff can you break in the time limit?" But it's got the kinds of plot twists and character depth that you'd never expect from such a game, which succeeds in making the whole experience far more interesting.

Families can talk about...

  • The concept of collateral damage is brought to the foreground by some of the cutscenes in the game. The hero feels remorse for the people he hurts, but also believes it was all done in the name of the greater good. This opens up various moral dilemmas for families to discuss, including the "I was just following orders" defense. It's heavy stuff, but,  the game brings it up.

  • Families can also talk about the depiction of trailer parks and impoverished towns in the game. Can these stereotypes be hurtful?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Konami
Release date:October 13, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence (Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old March 27, 2011
age 6+
 
I don't know WHAT the reviewer of this game was even talking about! There are no screams, AND the violence is EXTREMELY CARTOONISH!!!
Parent of a 6 and 7 year old Written byhuffmanclan July 14, 2010
age 5+
 

My 6 yo likes it.

This is what my six year olds birthday gift was. He has no trouble playing it. He has had it about a week so far he has really enjoyed it.

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