Hello, everyone. It’s SurpriseEnema (FernGully) with my game spotlight for this week!
So, the game up for my spotlight is Tembo the Badass Elephant. Yes, that’s the actual title. I know, it’s pretty freakin’ sweet.

Now, Tembo was developed by GameFreak (Developers of Pokemon) for Sega and was released for the Playstation 4, PC, and Xbox One on July 21, 2015. What can you expect from this game other than a kick-ass elephant that blows shit up while saving what appears to be various human beings? It’s a side-scrolling platformer where you play as the larger-than-life character of Tembo, a Rambo-style elephant who can smash through obstacles in various ways to save people from “The Phantom”, the bad guy running amok in “Shell City.”

I love a good story board.

I love a good story board.

So, what is there to do? Well, you can smash things… and ram into things… and smash more things. It’s pretty basic, but that’s not always a bad thing. Too often we have games that like to immerse the player into a world where you, by the end of it, think “well, shit.” Tembo the Badass Elephant doesn’t do that. Instead it shows comic-style story-boarding mixed in with colourful backdrops and an elephant. It’s hard to not notice that to be honest.

I could make several elephant based jokes, but we here at TandemShock are above that.

The thing I have to say here is this: It reminds me heavily of Sonic the Hedgehog. Take that how you will. The colours, the side-scrolling, even the movement of Tembo makes me think Sonic… and it’s hard to stay away from that comparison as the game is published by same people who brought you the blue hedgehog.

It's hard to hate a game that reminds you of your childhood.

It’s hard to hate a game that reminds you of your childhood.

There is also a strong resemblance to Crash Bandicoot with all the smashing and bashing and animal-like kick-assery. If you don’t think Tembo is being influenced by the 90’s adoration for comical animal Rambo-like characters, then you were probably born in 1997 and have no memory of what I am talking about… leading me to cry a little because I’m showing my age.

The art style is pretty nice, it’s not amazing… but it gets the job done. I will say that the background art was far superior than Tembo or any of the foreground art. It seemed crisp and well done, rather than the front of the screen seeming loosely drawn with not enough effort put into it.

I died just so I can see what the graphic was, and I loved that he ate peanut butter. Delicious.

I died just so I can see what the graphic was, and I loved that he ate peanut butter. Delicious.

But this is all subjective at best on my part. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people didn’t have a problem with it at all.

The gameplay is a little clumsy at times. You want to find your rhythm but notice that to get that sort of movement going, you have to stumble a bit before you get comfortable. It’s like a square dance… you know you can do it, as it’s easy enough, but you know you’re going to step on your own feet a couple of times and people are going to laugh at you. It’s not a good time, but you know it’s all for fun in the first place (what a stupid analogy).

I wish elephants could jump in reality. *sigh*

I wish elephants could jump in reality. *sigh*

Will I play this game again? Sure… it isn’t bad in the sense that it’s horrible. It’s a cute game, but I think you have to be patient enough to get the rhythm of the game down.
There are always a bunch of things that can be good or bad about a game, and Tembo the Badass Elephant doesn’t disappoint… but I suppose I just was expecting more. I’m not a game developer but this is such a strong contender for next-gen side scrolling platformers that you have to respect what it was trying to do. I found myself not playing the game merely for the mechanics, I can go play Sonic for that. I continued playing for the character of Tembo. He is actually pretty bad ass.

Check out some Tembo the Badass Elephant footage below.

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