Tembo the Badass Elephant is a side scrolling platformer with a lot of charm and is fun to play. As the title suggests, you play as an elephant and it is your job to save the day. The forces of Phantom have decided to attack Shell City and it is up to you to stop Shell City from being obliterated. That is pretty much all there is to the story but these types of games tend to be much more about gameplay than narrative anyway. All of your standard platforming moves are here. You can jump from platform to platform, jump into the air and then hit down on the controller to do a butt stomp, duck a projectile that is fired towards you and more. To me the controls feel pretty tight and responsive and if I happened to die in the game it was my fault and not a byproduct of bad game design or anything like that.
After going through the prologue which teaches you the basic skills you’ll need in the game you will find yourself inside headquarters with the world on the screen. Of course, since you are an elephant, the world is in the shape of a peanut and is broken up into three different zones. The first zone is Shell City which should be fairly self explanatory. It is an urban area that is on fire and under attack. The second zone is the Greenville Peaks and is more of a forest and mountainous area in addition to having a couple of levels that are more vertical and will put your skills to the test. The third and final area is Zappo Land, which is essentially a theme park. All three zones are completely different in terms of aesthetic which is appreciated as it helps things feel fresh and doesn’t have that “been there, done that” type of feel. The enemies in the game are fairly varied as well. You’ll have your standard low level grunts to contend with but as you get further into the game you will also have to deal with tanks, drones flying above you, helicopters, giant robots and much more. It is a good amount of fun and the challenge seems to be right where it needs to be. There are some areas you will no doubt have difficulty in while others are a breeze and while it obviously depends on the type of gamer you are, I didn’t feel the game was too difficult. There were definitely areas where I died numerous times but I could recognize it was due to an error on my part and not the game being cheap or anything.
Tembo the Badass Elephant does indeed feature some boss battles as well. The first one is really easy if you stumble onto a trick you can do (which I won’t spoil) with the second one being a bit harder and then the others also increasing in difficulty. As you progress through the game there are a couple of different missions you will want to accomplish (especially if you want the achievements and/or trophies). The currency in this game is peanuts and they are laid out all over the level. As Tembo you want to get as many of these peanuts as you can. If you collect enough to fill up a jar they will turn into peanut butter which is essentially what keeps you alive. Say, for example, you have 10 jars of peanut butter so far. If you happen to die in a level you will be brought back to life by Tembo eating one of those jars so you will be left with nine jars and so on and so forth. Another mission is to save stranded citizens. They are trapped in a force field type contraption and need you to bust through and rescue them. Once you do they will ride on your back for the remainder of the level. There are ten citizens to save per level and you will want to save all of them if you can. Then, of course, you want to take out all of the enemies. I know this sounds like a really obvious statement but getting to some of the later levels requires you to have taken out a certain number of enemies to “unlock” that level. If you try to bypass enemies or anything and don’t have the required number then you will have to go back and replay levels. There are also achievements and trophies tied in to taking out all enemies in the zone as well as in the game, as well as saving all the citizens in a zone and the entire game.
Tembo the Badass Elephant features 18 levels. Those players who are really good at platformers like this will probably have the game beat in a few hours. Those who aren’t quite as skilled will take a little longer but this really isn’t a long game by any stretch of the imagination. I’m of the mindset that a game doesn’t have to be long to be good but I know there are others out there who might disagree. The style and humor of Tembo is a bit of a nod towards 80’s action movies which those gamers who grew up in that era should appreciate. Overall I really enjoyed my time as a badass elephant. I don’t have any complaints about the game other than the initial load time can be far too long while other times it didn’t seem bad at all so it seemed to be luck of the draw, so to speak. If you enjoy platformers then I definitely recommend checking this game out. How often do you get to play as a badass elephant?
Originally posted on Gaming Target