Tembo the Badass Elephant

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Tembo the Badass Elephant
Tembo the Badass Elephant cover art.jpg
Developer(s)Game Freak
Director(s)James Turner
Producer(s)Tetsuya Watanabe
Kagasei Shimomura
Designer(s)Shin Kimura
Masayuki Onoue
Kazuhiko Takata
Programmer(s)Hiroto Ito
Kaori Hayashi
Yoshiharu Kuwabara
Composer(s)Hideaki Kuroda[1]
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
ReleaseJuly 21, 2015
Genre(s)Platform, side-scrolling

Tembo the Badass Elephant is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Game Freak and published by Sega. The title was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on July 21, 2015.[2] The game allows players to play as an elephant called Tembo, who has different abilities to smash through structures and objects, and is on a journey to rescue the metropolis known as the "Shell City" from an invading evil army known as "Phantom".


A gameplay screenshot of the game showing Tembo, the playable character, smashing through objects

Tembo the Badass Elephant is a 2D platform side-scrolling game in which players take control of an elephant named Tembo, as he progresses through Shell City to stop the invasion of a military force called the Phantom.[3] The title features visuals similar to that of cartoons and comic books, and divided into three different zones with three basic levels and an enemy base, followed by a boss stage each. Each enemy base can only be unlocked by killing a set quota of enemies on previous levels. Once all three zones are completed, a fourth, last zone consisting of two levels and the final boss stage is unlocked. The major goal of every level is to reach the end of the level while destroying as much of the enemy force as possible, while innocent citizens held prisoners are scattered around the stage, waiting to be rescued as well, and a medal is awarded for rescuing all hostages in a stage.[4][5]

Tembo can perform different movements, like smashing objects with his tusks, jumping, dashing, punching and stomping with his body to destroy structures, enemies, and enemies' vehicles like tanks in order to progress.[6] Tembo can also store water on his trunk to put out fires or shortcut electrical traps.[4] Players are also tasked to solve puzzles throughout the game.[7] Momentum and destruction are emphasized in the game. Tembo's health can be replenished by collecting special crates located throughout the stage, and, by collecting 300 peanuts, Tembo is awarded an extra life that comes in the form of a can of peanut butter.[4] The game environments are interactive, allowing Tembo the chance to unleash more destruction.[8] Additionally, Tembo is accompanied and assisted by a bird called Picolo throughout the game.[3]


The title was officially announced on March 11, 2015, by Game Freak, which had previously developed the main series Pokémon-video games, and Sega, a video game publisher.[6] The collaboration between Game Freak and Sega was revealed one week prior to the game's announcement.[9] According to director James Turner, Tembo was "Rambo in elephant form".[10] Inspirations were also drawn from several action movies of the 1980s, Dumbo as well as other video game franchises like Metal Slug, Donkey Kong Country and Yoshi's Island. Inspirations were also drawn from HarmoKnight, one of Game Freak's earlier games.[7] Developers also once thought to turn the game into an endless runner but the idea was later scrapped.[10] The title was released on July 21, 2015, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[11]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(PC) 69/100[12]
(PS4) 71/100[13]
(XONE) 70/100[14]
Review scores

The initial reception of the game was positive, with critics surprised by the nature of the game and the game's protagonist Tembo.[5] Comparisons were drawn between the game and the Sonic the Hedgehog series.[19]

Tembo the Badass Elephant received mixed reviews upon release. Aggregating review websites Metacritic gave the PlayStation 4 version 71/100 based on 20 reviews.[13] Chris Carter from Destructoid gave the game an 8 out of 10, praising the game's open-ended level design for allowing players to use different approaches to complete their objectives. In addition, he praised the game's artstyle, which he compared to works from Cartoon Network.[15] However, Tom Orry from VideoGamer.com was much more negative about the game, giving it a 6 out of 10. While applauding the game's gameplay, which he described as "a neat mix of Sonic the Hedgehog and the sidescrolling parts of Crash Bandicoot", he strongly criticized the point unlocking system, which tasks players to gain enough points before proceeding to the next level, as he considered such features "a forced grind".[18] IGN awarded it a score of 7 out of 10, saying "Tembo stumbles at times, but its overall charm, and moments of rhythmic zen keep it fun throughout."[17]


  1. ^ Greening, Chris. "Hideaki Kuroda scores Game Freak's latest title". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  2. ^ Matulef, Jeffery (July 10, 2015). "Tembo the Badass Elephant release date set this month". Eurogamer. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Orry, James (July 10, 2015). "Tembo The Badass Elephant launches July 21 on PS4, Xbox One & PC". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Skipper, Ben (March 12, 2015). "Tembo The Badass Elephant preview: Dumbo with a vengeance". International Business Times. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Martin, Michael (June 13, 2015). "Tembo The Badass Elephant Lives Up To His Name". IGN. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Nunneley, Stephany (March 11, 2015). "Pokemon developer and SEGA announce Tembo The Badass Elephant". VG247. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Peeples, Jeremy (March 11, 2015). "Tembo the Badass Elephant Announced as Sega/Game Freak Collaboration". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Dolan, Christian (July 10, 2015). "Game Freak trades Pokémon for Tembo the Badass Elephant". Eurogamer. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  9. ^ Hillier, Brenna (March 6, 2015). "Pokemon developer, Sega collaboration teased". VG247. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Eiser, Martin (March 11, 2015). "From HarmoKnight to Tembo: Game Freak Speaks". Gamereactor. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Makuch, Eddie (July 10, 2015). "Pokemon Dev's Xbox One/PS4/PC Elephant Game Gets Release Date". GameSpot. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  12. ^ "Tembo the Badass Elephant for PC reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Tembo the Badass Elephant for PlayStation 4 Critic Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  14. ^ "Tembo the Badass Elephant for Xbox One reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Carter, Chris (July 20, 2015). "Review: Tembo the Badass Elephant". Destructoid. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  16. ^ "Tembo the Badass Elephant Review Text". GameTrailers. Defy Media. July 21, 2015. Archived from the original on August 4, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  17. ^ a b Ingenito, Vince (July 30, 2015). "Tembo the Badas Elephant review: Elephant In A China Shop". IGN. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Orry, Tom (July 20, 2015). "Tembo The Badass Elephant Review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  19. ^ Kate Dale, Laura (March 16, 2015). "Tembo the Badass Elephant is a stuttering beauty". Destructoid. Retrieved July 11, 2015.

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