Tembo The Badass Elephant Review

By Megan Walton, 4 years ago
Sometimes a game sticks in your mind because it has an emotional, engaging story. Other times, you can be drawn in by irresistible graphics, or a soundtrack you can't help but listen to over and over again. Often, there is a character in the game who keeps you hooked to the game the whole way through, and sometimes that character just happens to be a Badass Elephant called Tembo. A new platformer brought to the Xbox One by SEGA, Tembo The Badass Elephant sees you take control of Tembo and help save the world. What more could you ask for?

Forget seeing pigs fly, it's all about flying elephants nowForget seeing pigs fly, it's all about flying elephants now

After being met with a big, dramatically styled menu screen for the game, you are thrown straight into the story. An evil corporation named PHANTOM has taken over, attacking your poor towns and cities, and the army is struggling to keep them at bay. With no other options left, one of the army chiefs has a flashback to the olden days, remembering an elephant called Tembo who he thinks might be able to help. After a quick phone call, Tembo hastily agrees to help, and is flown in immediately. This is where you come in, and take control of Tembo through your new military training, which serves as the game's tutorial. You are introduced to all of Tembo's moves and powers, as well as the basic layout of the levels and the collectibles you will be looking out for on your journeys.

The game consists of fifteen main levels for you to complete, with a couple of extra levels unlocked at the end. These are split into different zones each with its own theme, varying from lush green grasslands to a crazy carnival. In each level you'll be making your way through a fairly simply laid out path, during which you'll want to collect peanuts, defeat phantom enemies, and save civilians. Each of these aspects add a little extra interest to the straightforward levels, as they can be hidden away down secret paths you can completely miss your first time playing through the game. This also adds to the repeatability value of Tembo altogether, as you will most likely be playing through each level at least twice in order to find and explore every area, destroying every enemy and rescuing all civilians in order to get the two completion medals for each level.

If you are a boss, you have to be flamboyantIf you are a boss, you have to be flamboyant

Each level is fun and fast paced, with some even taking place on a moving object such as a train. The enemies often come thick and fast, varying from small hand to hand combat guys to giant robots you have to hit in their weak spot a few times in order to defeat them. Whilst some of the enemies pose little to no challenge, the later levels provide a multitude of tougher enemies, without ever letting the game be unbeatable. There's also little fear over dying in a level, as checkpoints scattered about the level give you multiple chance to replay, and even if you run out of peanut jars (which serve as lives; one for every 300 peanuts), you are simply sent back to the hub and given five more lives with which to carry on. Some particularly hard levels may cause frustration eventually after a lot of replaying, especially when if you die before making the first checkpoint while searching for hidden enemies and civilians.

The game plays like a good platformer should, with only basic moves to master throughout. Along with the simple run and jump, Tembo can also do an uppercut, ground pound, water spray, and a dash, each of which will help you in getting through the levels. You'll need to uppercut some enemies in order to kill them, or to smack a bowling ball into the air. In addition to those maneuvers, you'll also want to learn when to use your water to spray fiery obstacles and when to simply avoid them in order to preserve your limited water supply. Both health and water can be replenished during the levels, at water stations and with fruit boxes, and these are spaced far enough apart to keep you going all the way through without a problem. You can only take a few hits before you die though, and sometimes it seems to be a little too easy to jump off or fall off the edge.

Only a Badass elephant can use their trunk like a hammerOnly a Badass elephant can use their trunk like a hammer

Tembo has a fun and funny atmosphere all the way through, and thrives on making silly jokes. The game's humor starts with Tembo answering his mobile phone at the beginning of the game and just continues on from there. The cutscenes also fit in with this sensibility, and the way in which those cutscenes are delivered, through an old comic book style, fits in perfectly with the humour. They manage to tell the story with no words, making this a definite throwback to an older time of gaming where platformers were dominant. The game thrives on its simplicity, and never takes itself too seriously. The bright and bold colours throughout the game entice you in and make the game enjoyable to watch as well as play all the way through. The colors also fit in well with the environments you explore, with bright greens and blue for the grassland area, and grey and blacks in the demolished cities.

The game itself may not take you very long to play through, but the achievements list adds a little extra for you to do. In total there are just 17 achievements for you to unlock, and for definite the one that will take you the longest will be to collect 99 peanut jars. The more trouble you have with completing the game, the longer this will take you too; there isn't any shortcut, so you will just have to replay levels and collect peanuts. A lot of the achievements will come with natural progression, including defeating each drone and beating the final boss. You'll probably need to replay at least a few of the levels though in order to find all of the civilians and defeat all of the phantom enemies.


If what you want is a fun and simple platformer, then look no further than Tembo. The whole game has a fun, nostalgic feel to it from start to finish, and the civilians and phantom enemies as collectibles give you a reason to go back and play the levels again. The game is never too easy or too hard, but, at the same time, it doesn't really challenge you too much in any way. For the price, Tembo the Badass Elephant definitely gives you your money's worth in a short but enjoyable experience. If you don't take it too seriously, then there is a lot of enjoyment to be had here, because an elephant never forgets - to have fun and be a Badass!
4 / 5
Tembo The Badass Elephant
  • Fun, bright, colourful platformer
  • Funny story told in cute, comic book style cutscenes
  • Checkpoints sometimes too far apart
  • Movement often clunky and awkward
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent nearly 7 hours collecting peanuts, saving civilians, defeating enemies and generally being a Badass, unlock 16 of the game's 17 achievements. A digital download code for the game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthday cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.