Tembo the Badass Elephant is a fun and vibrant 2D sidescroller with a much larger than usual protagonist. There are some noticeable influences and styles from some older platforming legends like Sonic the Hedgehog and Donkey Kong. The infamous Pokemon developer Game Freak has made a seven and a half ton bad ass commando elephant with the ability to destroy everything in his path while saving civilians and eating peanuts.
Story mode sets off with Shell City being invaded by an evil army known as Phantom, taking civilians as prisoners and over running the military until the unlikely hero gets a phone call to come and help wipe out the Phantom operatives. Your missions are to save civilians, eat peanuts and charge through the different areas to take Phantom down while finding and destroying the three huge vehicles that they have invaded Shell City with. This can prove to be an interesting challenge as you have a set amount of enemies to destroy and civilians to save in each level and as there are level locks in each dome, you will have a determined number of enemies to destroy before you can progress past these checkpoints later on so you may need to replay some of the levels to get to that magic number.
Tembo has a few tricks at his disposal, he can jump quite high as standard and also if you hold the jump button he can float a bit.. somehow. While in the air pressing down will give you access to a butt stomp, you will go straight down and destroy pretty much everything you land on bar train tracks and lava which will kill you instantly. He can do an uppercut to attack enemies from below or take them out of the sky with a mighty swipe. Like Sonic the Hedgehog, this elephant likes to move fast and keep the momentum going, this is done by holding ‘X’ and Tembo will not stop dashing until you let go of that button, even if you change direction. This will pretty much be your main type of transport as his walk speed is pretty slow. He can however combine his dash with jump to smash through higher walls and combine the dash in to a range of other moves like an uppercut. After a few levels you will need to learn to utilize Tembo’s trunk as a water spout to put out fires to keep yourself safe. This can also be used to attack enemies from range as well as spawn platforms in later levels. You can also combine the water spout with his dash to engulf Tembo in water, to be able to charge through flames like the fearless commando he is. Tembo’s water supply is not infinite there are water pumps and water bottle collectables dotted around some levels so you can recharge your supply.
Reviving the old life system is a welcome walk through the past, where you have a certain amount of lives throughout your play through so collecting peanuts is your staple in this game. They will earn you an extra life from every 300 you collect and the counter does not reset after a death, giving you more of a chance to keep going. You initially start off with five lives and you should earn more on the first few levels quite quickly. As the levels are quite long there are a few checkpoints dotted around to aid you in your travels and there are a few bits and bobs hidden away for those looking to 100% the game.
This game does come with a leader board system and it is ranked on score per level and judged on your completed time, enemies destroyed and civilians saved. There are already many high scores that I think will be hard to beat. See how you fare against the world or your friends.
GameFreak have used a visually pleasing art style that runs as smooth as it looks, everything is bold and simplistic with vibrant colours. The start of each level begins with Tembo’s war cry setting the mood for what to expect and the sound track matches it as you charge through and cause plenty of destruction while rampaging through the city.
A challenging platformer that does not lose momentum from the speed and constant destruction, there is plenty to do in terms of getting 100% by killing all enemies and saving all civilians in every level as well as trying to top the leader boards. Playing through this, I feel it took a necessary step into the past with the life system and without it I believe this game would have been way too easy and not posed as much of a fun challenge as it has done. It has kept me entertained for a good while and has felt somewhat familiar. Tembo’s attitude shines through throughout the game, his relentless attacking abilities know no mercy and he has a life span that allows many hits and punishes all that cause him harm.
Tembo is one Badass Elephant.
Thanks to SEGA for supplying TiX with a download code
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