If there was ever a badass elephant, Tembo would be it. From the creative minds behind the Pokemon games series comes a new type of hero who is big, husky and isn't afraid to get right into the middle of the battle.
Say perhaps you like elephants? Ok what about the Rambo character? You do? Well that’s great because you would absolutely love Tembo: The Badass Elephant as our hero is called up from his peaceful lifestyle to help protect Shell City from the invading Phantom forces.
The game works as a 2D platformer and Shell city is broken up into three areas, each with a boss at the end to defeat. As for the levels themselves, Tembo has a variety of skills available to him in order to complete them such as its tusks to charge forward, a slide to get under small spaces quickly, a jump with added dragon punch type ability and a roll attack. The jump button can also be held down, so Tembo can float in the air for a bit longer. (How an elephant does this? Well I didn’t really question that).
I know this all makes our favourite mammal sound invincible, but alas even Rambophant (that’s elephant and Rambo put together) can get hurt, however this can be replenished via small boxes scattered around a level with an apple symbol on them. What I like about this is not only the fact that it threw me back to the apple crate smashing days of Crash Bandicoot, but also that their appearance is pretty rare, so don’t expect to be saved constantly.
Each level requires that you defeat a certain number of the Phantom forces in order to progress on to the next. This involves destroying foot soldiers, wrecking mini bases, stomping on tanks and pretty much terminating anything that even resembles their arsenal. There are also hostages in the levels that you can save. Once you pick one up, your head count in green will update and they will ride on Tembo’s back throughout the level. They can also provide assistance when it’s really needed, but obviously in rare quantities. Lastly there are also peanuts you can collect with 300 of them equalling one extra life which comes in the form of a can of peanut butter.
|I don't care who you are! You get hit by that and you're done!!|
Visually Tembo follows a cartoon/ comic book style and this is noticeable not only in the art, but the gameplay itself. I feel that this perfectly represents it as it makes it stand out a lot more and gives it some extra charm.
An elephant warrior sounds ridiculous if you say it out loud, however when baked in the game development oven, that idea actually turns out to be loads of fun. I feel that GameFreak got it just right by providing enough of a challenge, but not making it so hard you want to smash your controller. A lot of the gameplay does remind me of familiar franchises such as the inspiration of the cannons that blast Tembo around coming from the Donkey Kong franchise. If there is one thing that didn’t sit well with me, is that the bosses themselves were a little too simple. I know this makes it sound like I am going back on my previous statement, however when I compare the difficulty of some levels to the bosses that occupy the end of them, it doesn't make me feel like all that effort was worth it.
|Robot animal bosses... heck yeah!|
It’s certainly something that’s quite different than the Pokemon games we've seen Game Freak churn out, however it is a fresh, welcome addition to their portfolio that is not only fun to play, but visually charming too. Its very old school in its approach and that is not a bad thing, If anything it may have been a little too short in terms of its offerings, but if Tembo ever wanted to come back for round 2, I’m game!
What did you think of Tembo: The Badass Elephant? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on twitter - @TheLibanAli
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