GET READY TO BE A BADASS…Elephant. Seriously.

When I first heard that GameFreak, creators of the world-famous Pok√©mon series were working on a new title I was ecstatic. I’ve always loved their quirky gameplay choices, even back to Drill Dozer on the GameBoy Advance that used a rumble pack! So when they finally revealed that their new title was coming to the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam I was intrigued. Then I learned it featured a BADASS elephant named Tembo.

They had me.

10_1433256035The aptly named Tembo The Badass Elephant features Tembo, a 7.5 ton elephant commando that is ready to take on the Phantom Army. Each stage has you set off to defeat as many of the Phantom Army as you can while rescuing ten citizens from the clutches of the evil army. With a mighty¬†“HRAAANNHH!”, you’ll set off in each level charging ahead with quick to pick up controls. If you’ve ever played a classic Sonic game, you’ll understand the feeling of speed that comes along when you’re sprinting ahead without worrying about enemies. This works early on, but get careless and you’ll quickly find yourself at the end of an enemy’s sword. You’ll find that you’ve got to pay attention to what you’re smashing and how fast you’re traveling the levels, as you’ll miss hidden secrets and citizens that you need to save!

Though each level has a general “Rescue Civilians, kill bad guys, Get to the end!”, most levels introduce a new sort of mechanic to the mix. You’ll quickly learn that while smashing and dashing is fun, putting out fires is a must! Luckily Tembo has the ability to squirt water out of his trunk to extinguish flames. You’ll start with easy flames right in front of you, but when you’re bouncing around on bounce plants and trying to put out a fire so that you can move to rescue a civilian or find a batch of baddies to exterminate, you’ll be glad to have that trunk. The platforming feels right at home alongside titles like Donkey Kong Country, and actually feels very similar to controlling Rambo in those games. The level design feels very straightforward, but have many hidden areas to them that you’ll rarely find your first time through. Make sure to defeat every member of the Phantom Army that you see though, as unfortunately they’re your key to fighting the boss at the end of each section!

Tembo_The_Badass_Elephant_Screenshot_6_1426089923With each new level, you’ll find new skills with Tembo coming into use. From ground pounding to a fierce uppercut, Tembo has all sorts of ways to defeat the Phantom Army as he collects peanuts and saves lives. The general enemies are a bit dumb, usually just standing when you’re stampeding toward them, and I would’ve liked to see more aggressive enemies mixed in earlier on. Roughly the first half of the game feels like a sort of cake-walk, with only a few clever puzzles and tight platforming sections really standing out. That isn’t to say that the levels aren’t fun though. You’ll find yourself going back to play through especially fun ones looking for hidden civilians and any extra hidden goodies that you might find along the way. Every single action that Tembo does feels straight out of an action movie mixed with a comic. And can I just say that I love the little hover-jump that he has? Just saying.

Tembo the Badass Elephant has one of the most simple goals that you can imagine: Smash and Rescue. With amazing art and sounds, a silly over-the-top story, and great level design, Tembo really shines. Combine this with a classic yet somehow still fresh platforming feel that reminds me of saturday mornings playing Sonic and Donkey Kong and you’ve got something truly special.

  • Amazing platforming and level design.
  • Really delivers a feeling of speed and over-the-top action.
  • Clean and crisp art and a surprisingly catchy soundtrack with great sound effects.
  • The idea of a commando elephant. Seriously.
  • He floats. The elephant has a hover float.
  • A few more varied enemies could have been nice.
  • Using defeated forces as ways to advance feels like a ploy to make you replay levels.
Graphics Pixl Score 5 5
Story Pixl Score 3 3
Sound Pixl Score 4 4
Controls Pixl Score 5 5
Fun Factor Pixl Score 5 5