Tembo The Badass Elephant…

but is he African or Asian?

…is a terrible name for a videogame. So terrible that the game would surely be roundly ignored were it not for who’s making it. That who is Game Freak, the studio who lead development on Nintendo’s deathless Pokemon titles. For Tembo, they’re working with SEGA, which probably would have been considered some sort of scandal ten years ago but today just seems like wisely not putting too many eggs in one Pokeball.

Tembo is badass because he smashes a load of stuff, including tanks and skyscrapers. Also he wears a bandanna.

Here’s what it looks like:

Pretty pretty as it goes, and certainly seems to boast more rampant environmental destruction than yer average side-scrolling toony thing. Viewed superficially it comes across as just mindless carnage, but there are glimpses in there of invention and strangeness. A giant bowling ball! A plant with a boxing glove for a head! Dudes in tie-dye shirts! I do like the KAPOW as-it-happens captioning, too.

Tembo The Moderately Macho Elephant – come on, don’t tell me that’s not a better title – is due out on PC and other things some time this Summer.


  1. MOKKA says:

    Best. Name. Ever.

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    Looks fun. I hope they fix the little microstutter whenever Tembo interacts with a game object.

    • amateurviking says:

      I think that’s a deliberate hit-pause a la Wind Waker and many fighting games.

      • Great Cthulhu says:

        Ugh. I hope that’s not as annoying when you’re behind the controls.

        Did anyone else notice that the choppers looks like peanuts? I thought that was cute.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        I think it was deliberate too. When you hit walls or other objects with weight it might be ok, but if you have it constantly even when hitting small objects (like people…) I think it became an annoying screen stutter.

        • draglikepull says:

          What they could do instead would be to take out the frame stutter and make the screen shake a little bit on impact. That way you get visual feedback of the impact, but the game doesn’t look like it’s suffering from performance issues.

  3. Eight Rooks says:

    It is mildly weird seeing GameFreak’s name on this, but hey, if I remember right they’re not first party – or even second, really. AFAIK they’ve always been free to work with whoever they please. They’ve made several non-Pokemon games before, and on non-Nintendo formats, too. They’ve just never had that much attention compared to the all-conquering Pokejuggernaut.

  4. P.Funk says:

    Tembo, his arms open.

  5. Carr0t says:

    There seems to be a stylistic decision by some games (Street Fighter does it as well) to briefly pause at the moment of impact (for a punch, or with an object, or whatever). I kept seeing it here, and it just made me keep feeling like the game was poorly optimised and was freezing up briefly at the moment of impact while it calculated damage or whatever. Why do developers do this?

    • Crafter says:

      For the same reason than Jackie Chan movies, some blows are showed twice : in order to make the blow look powerful to the viewer.
      I think that Tembo should reserve this to major blows, right now it really kills the flow of the action.

      • P.Funk says:

        Every Frame a Painting?

        • Crafter says:

          haha. Nice, the whole channel is worth watching.
          For my part, I have become frustrated with action blockbusters like The Guardians of The Galaxy. The movie has been applauded everywhere so I watched it and have been very disappointed by the fight scenes that felt entirely fake. I don’t think I have seen a single blow connect in this movie (or other movies of the same kind, I have nothing against GotG). The shot is always cut half a second before the blow connects.
          There is a very big contrast with films like Police Story.

          • P.Funk says:

            Its really incredible that CGI has become immaculate and fight choreography has become garbage.

  6. tengblad says:

    For someone claiming they want to save Shell City, Tembo sure does destroy a lot of it in that trailer.

  7. mattevansc3 says:

    I’m liking the art direction, reminds of British children’s comic strips like Combat Colin. The downside is that it reminds me of Viewtiful Joe, a game that was much more interesting than this one looks.

    That video was colourful but looks just like a Sonic clone.

  8. Winged Nazgul says:

    So I’m guessing there’s not many stealth levels then?

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Don’t be silly. Only rhinos have rogue as their favored class.

  9. protowizard says:

    “Hey, they’re playing the elephant game again!”
    “I love that. Reminds me of elephants.”

    Sort of looks like the Rambi bits of the Donkey Kong Country games to me, dialed up to 11.

  10. Stimpack says:

    Oh, I get it! He’s an elephant! LOL.

  11. yeti says:

    In case anyone was interested :

    Tembo is Swahili (one of the languages spoken in Africa) for Elephant.

    Interestingly his sidekick “Picolo” is named after the Italian word for Small.

  12. wyrm4701 says:

    I just got to play this at Rezzed. It’s fantastic. It does an excellent job of making the player an elephantine engine of heroic destruction. Weirdly reminiscent of Guacamelee, in terms of rhythm and flow. Highly recommended.