PlayStation 4
Game Info:

Tembo The Bad*ss Elephant
Developed by: Game Freak
Published by: SEGA
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ for mild violence
Price: $14.99
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Thank you SEGA for sending us this game to review!

Shell City is in a state of emergency as the Phantom army is attacking without any provocation.  As a last resort,  the national army has called in Tembo, the war elephant.   Luckily, Tembo is willing to lend his strength and speed, in exchange for lots of peanuts.  There are numerous enemies  and bosses to annihilate and helpless civilians to rescue.  This 2D plaftformer packs a lot of action, speed, and destruction in one relatively short game.  While the price is a reasonable fifteen dollars, don't expect more than ten hours of gameplay unless you're a perfectionist.

Each level has the same basic requirement of wiping out as many phantom soldiers as possible in as little time as possible.  Some of the soldiers will be on foot, while others are driving tanks, hurling bombs at you from a glider, or piloting a helicopter.  The amount to search and destroy ranges  from two to five hundred soldiers per level.  In order to unlock the boss levels, a certain amount of soldiers have to be eliminated.  If you're lacking the required amount, you'll have to go back and replay previous levels.

Tembo The Badass Elephant

Strong Points: Fun platformer that encourages you to destroy everything with an elephant that loves peanuts and peanut butter; plenty of level and enemy variety to keep things interesting
Weak Points: Less than ten hours of gameplay and a good majority of it will be grinding; some areas rely on luck rather than skill; not enough health drops; PC users had stability issues at launch 
Moral Warnings: Language in the title, violence

Perhaps on your later play-throughs, more of the ten hidden civilians may be located if they were missed the first time around.  While it's fun to rescue and have people riding on your back while demolishing the surrounding area, it's not required to do so.   It's also a nice challenge to find each and every innocent person to rescue.  More often than not, they're off the beaten path and getting to them requires some skill.  

Tembo has many obstacle shattering moves like ramming into walls, ground pounding and smashing low flying aircraft with his hammer shaped trunk.  While, he cannot double jump, he can flutter in the air to make the jumps go farther.  There are many fiery flames and flame throwers in his way; fortunately he can fill up his trunk and spray water when needed.

There's plenty of water tanks around to replenish his water supply, but health crates are rather difficult to come by.  There are a fair amount of checkpoints in the levels though.  Tembo starts off with five lives, but as he progresses, the number of lives does not get replenished when moving onto the next area.  All of the lives have to be used up in order to reset the counter to five again.  As Tembo collects the peanuts scattered throughout the levels, he'll earn an extra life for every three-hundred  accumulated.

Tembo The Badass Elephant
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 6.5/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Tembo can lose lives from contact with bombs, missiles, flame throwers, fire, spikes, or falling down pitfalls.  The obstacles are often avoidable and add a bit of challenge to this mixed pace platformer.  Sometimes Tembo has to run fast, not quite Sonic fast, but he holds his own. In other aspects of the game, Tembo has to go slowly across crumbling platforms or hop into cannons that jettison him to the next section in the level.  I like how there is a wide variety of colorful landscapes. Some levels take place in decimated cities, manufacturing plants, or outdoors in the plains or towering canyons.  

The game's story is told via storyboards with very little dialogue.  Whenever Tembo does one of his movies, comic style words will appear behind him.  For example, when he is charging, the words "BADA BADA BADA" follow him.  Fortunately, the phrase isn't completed like it is in the title.

In fact, if it wasn't for the language in the title, I would wholeheartedly recommend this game.  I had a blast playing it, and my kids enjoyed watching me.  I just didn't let them call the game by its complete title.  We just called it Tembo in our house.  If the title and mild violence don't bother you, I highly recommend checking out the demo at the very least.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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