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[PS4 Awesome Action Review] Tembo: The Badass Elephant

Tembo The Badass Elephant Logo

Tembo: The Badass Elephant from GAME FREAK and SEGA is a hard hitting action platformer on PlayStation 4 that stars Tembo, an awesome elephant employed by the military. When the Phantom Army decides to attack and starts to capture civilians, Tembo gets called into action to once and for all defeat the Phantom Army to bring peace back to the island

TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT features 18 action filled levels, packed with charm and cleverly designed platforming action all wrapped in a unique art style with a tongue-in-cheek humour that encapsulates classic console mascot games, with a nod towards 80’s action movies. Put simply, it’s seven and a half tons of fun!

Before you can get right into defending the island you’ll be sent into a tutorial level that teaches you what Tembo can do. Our trusty elephant can run very fast, use dash attack, jump and float for a bit (yeah, this elephant might be huge, but he’s graceful enough to flutter for a bit!), do a ground pound, curl up into a ball mid-air to attack its enemies, and it even can use an upward attack that will decimate the Phantom Army. Since Tembo is an elephant, he can also suck up some water to fill his trunk and use this to put out any fire it finds, as well as use the water to destroy some mechanical enemies or to make smaller enemies dizzy. You also need to be careful with where you aim Tembo’s trunk because enemies with electric energy will discharge deadly electrical rays all over the place, which can

You have a health bar that can be replenished by breaking the health crates you’ll find in each level, and once said health bar is gone you’ll lose a life. Extra lives can be obtained by getting 300 peanuts to create a container full of peanut butter, which acts as Tembo’s Popeye fuel. If you lose all of your lives then you’ll be booted out of the level and returned to the base, where you’ll be provided with a fresh supply of five peanut butter jars so that you can try again.


The goal for every level is simple: get to the end of the level and destroy the Phantom Army statue. But while the goal might be the same, what happens in each level as you go from point A to point B is what makes this a fun platformer. There are several enemies out to stop you, going from foot soldiers to tanks and helicopters. You’ll also need to be careful of bottomless pits, fire and electricity hazards, conveyor belts that make running harder, and dangerous mechanisms that will crush you in a single hit.


The sorta subgoals in each level consist of defeating every single enemy (yes, down to the last foot soldier in a hard to reach area) while you rescue the ten civilians that have been trapped by the Phantom Army. I say they’re sorta of a subgoal because you must always try to aim for both goals because you must defeat a specific number of enemies in the regular levels of a region in order to unlock the path to that section’s Dome. Enemies can be worth 1 or more points, and each civilian you rescue is worth 10 points as well. At the top of the screen you’ll be able to see how many points are available for the level, and there’s also a handy civilian counter as well which will instantly let you know if you missed a civilian since each slot is filled in the order you should have found them.


Some of the levels include doors that lead you into small self-contained rooms where you’ll usually find a hidden civilian and, hopefully, a large peanut that will count as 100 smaller peanuts, which greatly helps to bring you closer to getting an extra life. These separate rooms will also contain a puzzle, a large number of enemies, a strong set of enemies… or all of the above. The reward is worth the risk, and those of you going for a full trophy run need to search all over the place in order to find these rooms since otherwise you won’t get a perfect score for each level.


At the end of each area, you’ll face a deadly boss.. or at least you will for the second and third areas since the first boss is a pushover. It might seem fearsome and deadly, and if you try to decipher its pattern, you will definitely have a tricky time. The key to the first boss battle is just to attack it over and over again until you can dump him into the pit on the right of the screen. Sure, you might get hit a couple of times, but that’s it. But don’t think that the other bosses will be as easy since they will definitely test everything you’ve learned up to that point!


Trophy hunters need to know that Tembo does not include a platinum trophy. I would have definitely loved to see this one get a Platinum, but at least the available trophies aren’t impossible to get and just need players to be patient so that they can find every single civilian and defeat all enemies in the game. Oh, and once you clear the Phantom Army from the island, you might want to wait a bit before you claim victory.


Tembo: The Badass Elephant is a very fun action platformer with clever and fun gameplay mechanics that will keep you busy for several hours. Having to defeat a certain number of enemies (or rescue civilians to bump up your numbers) means you’ll have to replay some of the levels again in order to get a better score, but at least any extra points you have from a previous area carry over, so by the time you’re in the second and third areas of the island you might have enough to unlock each dome as you reach it. Game Freak did a great job with Tembo, and I do hope they create new content for the game.

pros=”Great level design
Fun gameplay
Lovely art style” cons=”Some trick areas here and there” score=90]


This review is based on a PS4 copy of Tembo: The Badass Elephant provided by SEGA.