CO/GAMER Review: TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT - the first peanut chompin, villian stompin hero

What do you get when you mix Dumbo, Rambo and an elephant together? TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT of course! Officially announced in March of this year, TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is a digital only 2D side-scrolling action adventure game from the makers of Pok√©mon and HarmoKnight. Heavily influenced by fast-paced games like Metal Slug, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Donkey Kong Country, Tembo smashes his way through hordes of enemies with finesse and style.

Shell City is in a state of emergency after coming under attack from a menacing force known as PHANTOM. The citizens have been taken hostage, and the city is facing mass destruction by land, sea and air. Not to worry thought, the National Army under the leadership of General Krenman has been called in to put a stop to PHANTOM. Facing serious trouble, the General calls upon Tembo to save the day.

Along with his companion, Picolo, it’s up to Tembo to stop the PHANTOM invasion of Shell City and restore peace. You’ll smash, punch, swing, jump, and stomp your way through 17 wittily designed levels, in this unique, tongue-in-cheek humour, action packed, mammoth adventure.

Sound pretty cool doesn’t it? Let’s take a further look and see if TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is worthy of your time and hard earned money shall we?

Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC ( Steam )
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Sega of America
Genre: Platform, side-scrolling
ESRB Rating: E10+ For Everyone ages 10 and up

Who knew destroying everything could be so much fun

The premise behind TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is simple, destroy everything in your path while saving Shell City citizens along the way. You’ll begin the game with a tutorial that teaches you all of Tembo’s moves, including smashing objects, jumping, dashing, punching and the devastating butt stomp. All of Tembo’s moves are easy to pull off, with most requiring a simple button press, making it easy to perform his attacks during heated battle.

You’ll guide Tembo across three different peanut shaped zones, each containing three levels, an enemy base, and a boss stage. To make it to the enemy base you will need to destroy a certain amount of PHANTOM soldiers, before it is unlocked. Occasionally, you will have to return to levels that you have already completed and hunt down those pesky foes that hide in places that you might not normally go.

The PHANTOM soldiers come in a variety of different types, including helicopters, tanks, and even giant mech suits. Much like Contra, the beloved classic by Konami, you will have to evade your enemies’ attacks and use different strategies to take them out of commission. If you’re going in guns blazing with Tembo at full speed, you may find yourself unnecessarily dying at the hands of your enemies, so you will have to balance speed with strategy.

Platforming at its finest

The levels in TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT often offer different routes that you can take, revealing hidden areas for you to explore – something that you must do if you hope to take out every PHANTOM soldier and rescue every citizen. What makes Tembo’s level design great is the choice to blaze through each level carelessly, or the ability to take your time and explore each nook and cranny. When I first started to play, I was all about speed, rampaging through the levels as fast as I could. However, in the later stages I found myself taking my time, and planning out how to take out enemies without getting hit. It’s so great!

Being a platforming game, TEMBO starts out with five lives, you can earn more lives by collecting 300 peanuts. Tembo uses these peanuts to make peanut butter, the games equivalent of a life. Each level is filled with checkpoints, however when you run out of lives you’ll have to start from the beginning.

I’ll let you in on a secret, when coming across a level that is particularly tricky simply go back to an earlier level, collect peanuts, and stock up on extra lives. Yes, this can become tiresome at times but it’s an easy way to stock up on those precious elephant lives and get you through those tricky later levels.

Incredible visuals and sounds 

This side-scrolling cartoon platformer is absolutely gorgeous! Game Freak used a charming comic book style art that will knock your socks off! Watching the rescued civilians riding on Tembo’s back is a joy, it’s as if they were riding on a roller coaster with their arms flailing around. TEMBO and his surrounding environments are exquisitely animated and will leave you wondering if you are watching a cartoon or playing a video game. It’s that good!

The sound effects in TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT are a delight! You’ll have a smile on your face as you hear Tembo roar while he destroys absolutely everything in his path, on his mission to take out the evil forces of PHANTOM. Hearing the destruction of cars, trucks, tanks, and walls is insanely satisfying and will get your adrenaline pumping.

The accompanying jazz infused sound track fits the game perfectly, propelling you forward as you explore Tembo’s world. Weirdly enough, I also found the music to be calming and soothing at the same time, allowing me to focus on the on-screen action.

Final thoughts

TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is the type of game I dreamed about playing as young teenager on my Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Turbografx 16. I was so impressed with the art style, hand drawn graphics, superb animation, and enticing gameplay that I often found myself in awe at this complete masterpiece.

At a value price, this game offers a surprising amount of content that will keep you and your family entertained. For those of you wanting to try the game before buying, head over to the Xbox Store, or PlayStation Store and grab the demo.

+ Fast paced side-scrolling action that will keep you on your toes
+ Fun to play
+ Easy to pickup and just play
+ Value priced

Gameplay: 5/5
Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 4/5
Replay Value: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (90%)