What do you get when you mix an elephant, Sega, and Game Freak? You get Tembo the Badass Elephant! Now you may ask yourself what makes him such a “badass,” just like I did. Well, Tembo is a parody of Rambo, which is just one of the reasons that makes this elephant such a badass. In an interview James Turner, the director of the game, said that Tembo was “Rambo in elephant form.” With Game Freak as the developer and Sega as the publisher, you can expect to have a zany and fun time with this game.
These graphics are like watching a cartoon or reading a comic. For instance, when Tembo is running, you get the “Ba Da Ba Da” sound effect on the screen, or when he smacks something, it goes “smack,” just like in comics. There is even a comic-style cutscene when you start the game, before you battle a boss, and after you defeat a boss. Even though this is a 2-D side-scrolling platformer, there are 3-D (or more 2.5-D) elements to this game.
I believe some people might like that some of the human characters kinda look like B-side Pokemon Trainers or HarmoKnight characters. I believe that fans of old-school character based platformers will like how cute and cuddly Tembo is, even though he has this tough outer shell.
From Tembo dropping into a level and blowing his trunk, to the sound of crashing through a building, it all blends together just right. The sounds are reminiscent of some old school platformers. For instance, you hear a chime when you collect a peanut, and the sound of fire burning from the flamethrowers is actually pretty awesome! The music is very good and is what you could expect from a platformer, but it also has this Rambo like sound to it.
Fans of the main series Pokemon games, such as Fire Red, Soul Silver, and Omega Ruby; will love the music in this game. The start menu music sounds almost like the Elite Four music but changes a few seconds in. Also, those that have played Sonic and know the sounds of the classic games will like that Tembo makes skidding sounds when he stops running.
Shell City has come under the attack ofrom the evil force simply known as PHANTOM. PHANTOM easily takes over the city and overpowers the National Army, who had come to save Shell City from them. The only one to save the day is Tembo, after getting a radio call from the National Army, you show up to take down PHANTOM. You do this by running through each level, saving the captured citizens, and beating up the small PHANTOM ground forces. After saving so many people and defeating troops you can unlock the boss level.
I believe that fans of the old school platformers, especially ones where you have to unlock levels by doing certain tasks, will love this game, because that’s pretty much how you unlock the latter levels to each map area. Also, there is no speaking in the story; it’s all left up to the imagination and what you think is going down between characters. So it might be hard to understand the story, but all-in-all you are just an elephant running over everything in his way.
The gameplay mixes the best of 2.5-D platformers into what I would call a perfect mix. You are timed for each level, and you get points for the amount of people you save and enemies you destroy, just to name a few things. Tembo also has a “life” system where you have to collect 300 peanuts to get one life; this can easily be completed by the end of 2 levels. Tembo can run, smash, jump, punch, and stomp on enemies.
Fans of Sonic, Rayman, Mario, or just about any other platformer will love this game. I have went back and tried to run through the levels faster (just to get my name higher on the leaderboards), which is challenging, because I don’t see how someone could get through some of these levels so fast.
I originally bought it over the weekend because of the name, which is (by far) one of the best titles for a video game, but I fell in love with how well this game is put together. From how much this reminds me of a Saturday morning cartoon, to replaying levels to find that one hidden civilian, Tembo has something to offer everyone and could quite possibly be a new platformer mascot. I have also been playing Tembo non-stop, which has caused me to get the start menu music stuck in my head, and only a few games can hook me so well. Also, from playing non-stop I haven’t even reached the third area in the game; I’m trying to find and destroy all the enemies in most of the area 2 levels. I would definitely say that you should go to your respective digital store and buy this game. Tembo the Badass Elephant came out on July 21st for $15 US and is available on Xbox One, Steam, and PlayStation 4.