Tembo The Badass Elephant encompasses everything that Sonic ever did, and it makes it better, and more enjoyable.
I’m glad to announce that Tembo is indeed a badass Lucanian cow. No, he doesn’t have Godly super-powers, and no, he doesn’t have a sweet sense of humor a la Deadpool. Instead, Tembo revels in being super-fast, and with a thirst to cleanse his city of baddies.
But not your ordinary wrongdoers. No, sir. Those highly-trained, slightly goofy looking, Phantom soldiers are trying to take Shell City with force. Part Rambo, and all elephant, Tembo is here to stop them. But does Tembo The Badass Elephant has what it takes to save innocent lives?
Tembo The Badass Elephant Review
Tembo has been developed by Game Freak, a company known for working with Nintendo on their Pokemon game series. They are also known to be an independent game company, and not rely solely on the popularity of the big N.
As a side note, Game Freak is also known for Pulseman, Click Medic, and Drill Dozer.
It’s a blend of Sonic, and a better non-existent Sonic – only this time, the hero weighs about 5 tons.
With a quirky, and fresh artwork, it can charm you straight away. The color palette used, brings a nostalgia flavor to Tembo, and animations, which screenshots don’t do justice, are remembering of a by-gone 16-bit era – if the fourth generation gaming age was addicted to steroids.
Think of it as a crazy modern-looking platformer which involves an elephant.
Your role, as soon as you’re transported to the avatar named Tembo The Badass Elephant, is to cause havoc, and make Phantom soldiers wet their pants when hearing an elephant trumpeting, or rumbling about.
Tembo has one hell of a level design. Pair that with awesome, and intriguing puzzles, and this might have been the modern classic platformer we all have been waiting for. Might have been.
Gameplay is where Tembo takes a hit to the crotch. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.
It’s as straightforward as they get, and because Tembo is limited to a few weapons in his arsenal it makes playing the platformer a little bit boring – after a while.
Well, if you hold down one button Tembo can dash, thus destroying enemies. You will realize from the get-go that Tembo always dashes, and there’s no stopping this 5 ton behemoth. When holding down the button to dash, push up, and down to make Tembo smash things in the air, or slam the ground with his big bubble butt.
Tembo has a trick up his sleeve which is basically used as a defense mechanism. He can spray water from his trunk, which you can use to put out fires, temporarily short-circuit electric devices that pose as obstacles, and help flowers grow.
Besides destroying as many Phantom soldiers as you can, and trust-you me, they can come in all shapes, and sizes – from simple soldiers, to tanks, mech units, and even choppers; Tembo needs to save prisoners of war. Developer Game Freak takes advantage of this loop hole, and makes the game sport a replayability factor. Although, I wouldn’t play it after finishing the short, but sweet, plot-line.
It’s more than liberating to squash tiny insect-like soldiers with your butt. Technically, you don’t kill Phantom soldiers, because they vanish in a smoke after being vanquished by your big tush.
But it’s not that satisfying to replay already-beat levels just so you get your enemy counter up in order to advance to the next stage. This is another big no-no in my book. Don’t force gamers to replay certain levels, and scour stages for missed enemies. Adding a mark to reach in order to play the next level is horrible. I don’t know how Game freak thought this wouldn’t be detrimental to their game.
Another game-mechanic flaw that I found is the fact that you only get a certain number of lives – you can add more lives by collecting 300 peanuts, crushing them, and cooking a reviving peanut butter. But good luck with that. Peanuts aren’t that easily found.
After losing all of your lives, you need to restart the level. That’s an hour wasted.
Yeah, I know. Gamers have been bitchin’ that they want a platformer that resembles Castlevania, and Contra, and now, when we have it, we complain that it’s too hard.
It’s not that it’s too hard, it’s the fact that checkpoints really do make a game more enjoyable. Badly scattered checkpoints across the game’s timeline can annoy the gamer to the point of uninstalling the whole shebang.
The game’s life system is unnecessarily old-school. Taking the bad, and only a slight few good elements.
Boss battles are simple, and don’t prove to be a challenge at all. Dodge that, don’t step into the fire, push that, and voila.
Tembo The Badass Elephant Verdict
It’s not a long game, mainly because Game Freak wanted it to be a short, unforgettable gaming experience. Alas, it proves to be disappointing. It’s novelty wears off pretty soon. Good thing that it costs only $15.
You can play Tembo The Badass Elephant on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC ( via Steam).
Tembo The Badass Elephant Verdict: 6/10