Tembo The Badass Elephant Review: An Old School Elephant In The Room

Tembo The Badass Elephant Review
out of 5

Tembo The Badass Elephant may have a silly title, but if you look past that, you will find an incredibly deep and challenging 2D old-school platformer/side-scroller developed by Game Freak, the geniuses behind Pokemon. Got your attention yet?

Tembo is a simple tale of an alien invasion on Shell City, and the military is forced to call in their secret weapon: a militarized, spec-op-trained commando elephant to save the city and ultimately the world. Tembo has a skill-set that you would expect from an elephant. He can charge, jump, attack and shoot water from his trunk. Okay, so elephants can only do a fraction of those skills, but most elephants aren’t trained in the art of war, and Tembo truly is a badass.

Tembo The Badass Elephant Review

Tembo The Badass Elephant is broken down into three areas, each with various stages — 18 in total. After a tutorial level, Tembo is sent on his mission and the learning curve is pretty steep. By the fourth stage of level¬†1, the enemy becomes more difficult, as does the game as a whole. This increase in challenge is welcome, as Tembo is given three or four objectives to accomplish, including wiping out all enemies, destroying all structures, and saving all the captured humans, and playing through levels multiple times to complete each objective becomes more and more necessary as the game goes on. Especially since stages are unlocked by completing a set number of those tasks.

The level designs make for some exploring to find everything, and finishing a stage and seeing what you missed will cause you to scratch your head and then try again — especially if you’re a completist.

Tembo The Badass Elephant Review

Tembo has an old school feel and look, as the game looks like it was ripped from the arcades of the late 1990s and married to 1980’s action films, which is a good thing. Tembo himself is cartoony, and the levels play on peanuts in very comical ways (Shell City…get it?). The action is fast and fierce and there is comedy here. I especially like that when I find captured humans (around 10 per stage), they ride on Tembo’s back, even as he charges through the level, taking on enemy after enemy. It’s a small detail, but fun none-the-less.

Tembo The Badass Elephant is a throw-back in every sense of the word. It’s a game developed by a veteran studio and published by SEGA, an equally veteran publisher. If you are looking for a fun, tongue-in-cheek game that harkens back to a time since passed, give the elephant a shot. As the title says, he’s a badass. You’ll see.

Tembo The Badass Elephant Review

Tembo The Badass Elephant is a full-featured game for an economical price (around $15) and Playstation-Plus and Xbox Live Gold members get a 10% discount the first week of launch. It’s available as a download only in the Playstation and Xbox Box Live stores. This review is based off a Playstation 4 review code provided by SEGA.

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