Tembo The Badass Elephant is a comic book style, 2d action sidescroller that takes place in the fictional Shell City. The story starts with the city under attack by Phantom, an evil military force consisting of multiple war machines intended to take you and the city down.
We first meet Tembo on a secluded island away from the invasion taking place where we see him gear up and head out to face Phantom. The island acts as a short tutorial level before we get into the main game. During the tutorial we learn the basic controls and the different ways Tembo can get around the levels.
The enemies don’t make their appearance until the first level of the game, this is also when lives start to take effect. Tembo can gain more lives by collecting Peanuts which get converted into lives once you fill the peanut butter jar. Before Tembo loses a life he can take multiple hits thanks to his health bar. Health can also be replenished by collecting apple crates placed around the levels. Once Tembo is all out of lives there is no ‘Game Over’ but you will have to restart the last level you played from the start after getting sent back to the level select and being given 5 lives to start over with.
The gameplay is similar to that of the original Sonic The Hedgehog games, it is split into different zones and stages, even some of the elements of the game such as Tembo’s rolling attack and the way he gains lives are similar to Sonic. There’s even a zone called Zappo Land which has a very close resemblance to Star Light Zone, with bumpers, flippers etc.
The game becomes more challenging and fast paced as you progress through with new enemies appearing with different weapons/abilities. When trying to find all hidden areas and save all civilians the game will last longer. A straight run through of all the stages making sure you kill enough enemies to unlock the stages as you go will last around 6 hours. Although this seems quite short you can go back to level select and 100% complete each one which entails finding all the civilians and kill all enemies. This should add another 4-5 hours of gameplay.
The games comic book style is a focus thoughout the game with cutscenes progressing as a comic and the sound effects in game being flashed on screen. For example ‘WHAM!’ appears when you use Tembo’s ground attack. The soundtrack to the game is fitting since each area and boss has its own soundtrack that goes with the setting for each level. The sound effects also go well with the game’s art style.