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    Tembo The Badass Elephant: All that funk inside that trunk

    You know that we’re above making lazy comparisons, so when we say that Tembo is like Metal Slug meets Yoshi meets Shank meets Sonic, you can be assured that we’re not playing. (As for where all those things are meeting? Who knows presumably some kind of deeply disturbing gaming swingers party.)

    A 2D platformer starring the titular tusked titan, it’s packed with endearing animations, cartoon violence, and cunningly designed levels that lend themselves to the kind of high-speed, combo-focused runthroughs that the aged blue hedgehog is so fond of. As Tembo, you’re the National Army’s last hope of stopping the forces of Phantom from taking over Shell City… which is probably more about the ‘narrative’ than you’ll ever need or want to know. There’s very little pretence here, just a quick tutorial before throwing you and your surprisingly agile elephant directly into combat. Tembo can jump, float, dash, slide, bounce, roll, and even spray water from his trunk. Along the route of each level you’re tasked with picking up civilians, who then ride atop your back in triumphant, arm-waving fashion.
    “WHAM!” announces the game, because things might just be a little on the understated side otherwise.
    Tickling The Ivories
    Having been hands-on with the first two stages we can confirm that Game Freak’s latest is every bit the bonkers blast it looks. The moveset is varied and satisfying, and dovetails nicely with the construction of the stages. There’s very little to dislike about seeing a uniformed elephant fired from a cannon before bombing twenty floors through the interior of a skyscraper.

    There’s a pleasing balance to Tembo, with high-octane movement meshed with deliberate platforming and smashy-smashy combat. It’s also got its massive tongue planted very firmly in its grey, leathery cheek, and is hitting all the right notes thus far. Get your trunks packed for summer.

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