It’s been a while since SEGA put out a quality platforming game. “Sonic” used to be king of SEGA platforming games but the quality and popularity have waned in recent years. Even though it has a silly name “Tembo the Badass Elephant” is one of the best SEGA platformers to come out in recent years.
Tembo really is a badass elephant, in fact he was retired from the military but he was drawn back into the fight because his home town of Shell City is under attack from the evil forces of PHANTOM. “Tembo the Badass Elephant” is a 2D side scrolling game where you jump, stomp and spray water all over the forces of evil. The graphics are stylized and look hand drawn. The music is catchy, especially the trumpet noises. There isn’t a ton of story besides the basic premise but the controls are tight and it makes great use of classic platforming elements in fun, silly ways. An interesting thing about Tembo and it’s a testament to how badass he is, he doesn’t need power-ups. He has all his abilities right from the beginning of the game. If you get a running start you can use the dash ability to break through barriers, he can spray out fires with his trunk, and he can even hover in the air for a bit. The controls are spot on and it controls great, the only hang up I had was the jump and roll attack are the same button so I rolled to my death a few times but that doesn’t make the game feel broken. You just need to get used to it.
“Tembo the Badass Elephant” doesn’t feel as fast as the classic “Sonic” games but the quality level design is there, including lots of hidden paths and places to explore and things to collect. You have to explore each level to find all the hidden hostages and get all of your friends to freedom.
If you kill the bad guys and find all the hostages you get medals. The medals can’t be used for much but if you are completionist you will want to win them all. The first couple of levels are super easy but the difficulty really ramps up later on in the game, once you start getting armored enemies, the challenge really begins and the game can get frustrating. Tembo does have a lot of health but it doesn’t mean the game is easy, you can’t just bust through each level you sometimes have to take your time and use strategy to make your way through.
When you get to the really tough areas of the game there are tanks and helicopters, and in these sections you have to be extra patient and learn the patterns if you are going to find the right time to strike. If you are having trouble don’t worry, “Tembo” is very generous with lives and save points, but there are still some difficult parts.
Overall “Tembo the Badass Elephant” was OK, it doesn’t do anything drastically new but it’s a lot of fun, and it shows that SEGA can still put out a quality platforming game. It’s not a huge blockbuster title but as far as smaller downloadable games go I had a good time with this game. I loved the comic book aesthetic and the nostalgic gameplay. If you are a fan of the old Sonic games or just like a good 2D side scroller you will definitely want to check out “Tembo the Badass Elephant.”
Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]
System: PS4, Xbox One,PC
Rated: E 10+ : Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
Publisher: SEGA Developer: Game Freak