Xbox One Review: Tembo The Badass Elephant

Gotta Smash Them All…

Tembo the Badass Elephant is the latest from the makers of Pokemon, Game Freak. Yes, you read that right. The game is a 2D platformer with a 80s action hero-inspired elephant named Tembo who goes from left to right to reach the end of each stage and stop the “Phantom” group from taking over Shell City. But is this a pocket sized outing or one that you won’t forget?
It’s somewhere in the middle, really. Tembo plays like a combination of Sonic, Donkey Kong Country, Yoshi’s Island and Metal Slug. It’s a good combo and clearly has influences from Game Freaks’ HarmoKnight. Each level has ten civilians to rescue and a number of Phantom enemies and structures to destroy for those achievement hunters out there, although you will need to reach a certain number to unlock further stages.

This isn’t too difficult, but what is will be replaying levels trying to find the one enemy that somehow eluded you the first/second time through, which ends up feeling like a chore and isn’t half as fun the second time. The levels are well designed, but they don’t quite have the replay value that you would hope and with only a dozen or so levels that last a few minutes each, you might feel short changed here.
That’s not to say that Tembo isn’t a good game, it’s actually quite relaxing to charge through multiple soldiers, destroy tanks and put out fires with your trunk. It just loses it’s appeal quickly and as it doesn’t have tons of levels to dive into, once you’ve finished it you’ll have little reason to return other than for achievements, but even then it won’t add that much time onto the game.

One thing I will say is that I love the visual style of the game, it’s 2D yes…but it’s well animated and has 3D effects running throughout. It almost feels like an 80s-90s Saturday Morning Cartoon, which is no bad thing. The story is told through comic-book like panels and sadly the plot is paper-thin, but then again it’s not really that important when you have an elephant being the last resort to stopping an invading force.

The Verdict

Overall, I really enjoyed Tembo the Badass Elephant. It’s cute and fun to play, but it clearly borrows from too many different games and loses it’s identity in the process, as well as not lasting very long which is disappointing. However, if you are craving a platformer with a difference, then it’s well worth giving Tembo a chance.

Overall Score: 7.5