Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developer(s): Game Freak
Release Date: July 21th, 2015
Reviewed on the PlayStation 4
When you think of an elephant, the last thing I’m sure you’d imagine is an image of this rough, tough and complete badass, who could take down his (or her) foe in any manner of different ways. Yep, that’s exactly what I though as well, that is until I got my hands on Sega’s recent release of Tembo The Badass Elephant. A cute, 2D side scrolling platformer that takes subtle hints from a variety of old school titles, packs a lot of charm and would be right up the alley of fans of Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Bros.
Who is this war painted elephant?
As Tembo, you have a surprising amount of attacks at your disposable. No, I’m not kidding you. You have an upper cut that’s useful for taking out not only enemies but platforms above you, an aerial slam attack that utilizes your massive posterior to take out foes below you, a rolling attack that propels you forward to take out all who in your direction, a sliding kick and even a water attack that uses that almighty trunk to fire a massive stream of water. On top of that you can also jump, float (complete with a hilarious animation effect), dash and even crawl along the ground.
The premise of the game is quite simple. Like another military theme hero, you belong to an organization that is tasked with protecting the city. When they can’t handle the heavy hitters, they call you in, the heaviest of them all to take it to them. Levels are broken down to several objectives; Neutralize the baddies, save the citizens who got caught up in the chaos and that are now spread around the level and of course collecting peanuts which act as this games coins.
Controls are super responsive, which is a key factor when it comes to a game such as this and thankfully they don’t fall short here. While there aren’t many life and death jumps to make, the controls are keen in how well you can get through a level as well as being able to keep yourself out of the line of fire. Did you think your enemies would be blind to seeing a elephant charging at them? Though if I had a complaint about the controls, I felt at times that they were a tad too responsive at times. Typically when I do one more like the uppercut and I press down, which will cause you to do the slam attack or when I’m dashing and jump… and then tend to hit down ever so slightly, well let’s just say it isn’t fun when you’re high up on a platform and now you have to do it all over again. Not so much with the game than it likely is with me and or my controller.
So it plays good, but what else?
Ah, this is why I like. A hand drawn 2D world that looks just as good in action as it does standing still. The game actually reminds me of a comic book come to life, similar to a past favorite of mine, Comix Zone. Which also happens to be another classic Sega title. At first glance this would seem like a typical side scroll-er, well t the untrained eye at least. That is until you see this game in motion, it’s truly a sight to behold when it comes to the amount of detail and animation that was put into this game. A perfect example is when Tembo runs around the screen. Instead of a simple dust cloud or traces of wind behind him, you instead see what appears to be letters.
However, when you look more closely you’ll actually see that the running animation leaves traces of the word “BAD”, over and over. Yes my friends, he is a badass elephant that even has his own themed running animation. But it doesn’t stop there either. From the stage designs which are colorful, the enemies you encounter which also have their own set of unique animations, such as becoming dizzy from an attack, attacking animations and even when performing a kamikaze attack when they’ve given up all hope and run to their doom… much to my laughter. The game ran smooth on the PlayStation 4 build I was provided with for this review, however I did noticed some slowdown here and there, but nothing that detracted from my gameplay. The audio in the game is no slouch either as the game features a equally impressive soundtrack, with sound effects that help to bring the game to life. There’s a large amount of detail and love that’s been put into this game and it really shows through the games production value.
The game is, I feel, the perfect mix-up of speed as you speed through the levels with a touch of platforming elements thrown in. In fact if I was to sum up the game, I would say it’s a combination of Sonic the Hedgehog x Donkey Kong Country, with a touch of Guacamelee! Seriously folks, it’s that good and just as much fun as any of the previously mentioned titles. Tembo is a shining example that shows that 2D games can be just as fun as a 3D title and that you don’t need fancy graphics to make an enjoyable title. Combined with it’s charm and easy to master gameplay, Tembo will definitely delight just everyone who picks up the title. The only negative aspect about this title is that despite appearing that it could be done easily on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or Wii U, it simply isn’t available on those platforms and that’s a shame.
Tembo The Badass Elephant will be available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC / Steam as of July 22, 2015.
*Copy provided by publisher*
Big on fun, Tembo The Bad Ass Elephant will put a smile on anyone who’s in the market for a title that’s fun, fast and doesn’t take it’s self to seriously. A tour de force for fans of the 2D platforming genre.
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