Review: Slow Down, Bull (Computer)
- Release Date (NA): April 20, 2015
- Release Date (EU): April 20, 2015
- Release Date (JP): April 20, 2015
- Publisher: Insomniac Games
- Developer: Insomniac Games
- Genres: Casual
- ESRB Rating: Everyone
- PEGI Rating: Three years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
From the creators of Spyro the Dragon, here comes Esteban, the paranoid bull.
The history of the bull
You probably know Insomniac Games as the developers of such AAA games like Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Sunset Overdrive. Those games were licensed by various publishers and made by Insomniac, but this time they wanted to do the job themselves, so they started an experiment which was translated into a fully fledged game called Slow Down, Bull. If you follow their blogs, you have probably seen it being mentioned before. The way they made the game was that they streamed the development of it, and fellow watchers/fans were there to support and help during the process. The team was comprised of only 5 people and the game was made with the Unity game engine, and in the end, with the help of fans and the sweat and determination of Insomniac workers. Did their experiment succeed, or did it fail miserably?
Gameplay and game aspects
The main character of the game is Esteban, a paranoid bull with a wish to make the best drawings that he can possibly make. To make his dream come true, you're supposed to collect decorations scattered across stages. The controls for the game are pretty simple. Left mouse click steers him left, right mouse click steers him right. By pressing, holding and releasing both of the mouse buttons, Esteban gets a boost. Steering and boosting him too much will make Esteban stressed, and if his stress meter goes over the limit, he will start to rampage. During his tantrum, you won't be able to control him, and if he stomps over the decorations, they become trampled and unusable, so always try to stay calm. One of the ways to calm Esteban down is to not steer at all, other ways are by hitting walls or cooling yourself down in water, but by doing that, you will lose the momentum you've built up. To get more speed, you're supposed to bump into walls or collect patches of flower petals which are scattered around the floor.
Other game characters like your cat sister Mango, Spike the Possum, and Annette the Bullcatcher have roles in the game too. Your sister in the game will help you clean the enemies ahead of you, Spike will double the decorations that you have if you ride him enough, and Annette is there to steal your time by catching you. The game plays pretty simple at first, but in later stages it gets ridiculously hard. Such examples are narrow places with Annette, if you're in one of them, and don't have enough momentum, she'll easily capture you, and if she manages to do it more than once it will quickly result in a game over. The game is straightforward, it feels like a free to play mobile game and plays like one respectfully. Every stage feels and looks the same, and while the art style seems cutesy and interesting, the stages look simple, plain, and empty. There are 5 different worlds, with themes such as beaches, forests etc. Every stage in a single world looks the same, with the same song repeating over and over which made me a bit crazy while playing the game, especially in stages with Annette because of the game overs and retries.
Other things to mention is the resolution which can't be changed. The resolution could be a downside if your monitor doesn't scale it right, but the main issue is the aspect ratio which is 4:3. With 4:3 you can't really see much in the distance in the stages, if your momentum is high, sometimes you'll bump into enemies, which makes you lose all of the decorations you've collected, which is very annoying. If it was 16:9, the width would be enough that so you can see what's next on the screen and guide yourself away from the obstacles. It's true that by gaining momentum, the camera will pan out and you'll see more of the screen, but your character and everything else will look smaller and the screen more cluttered. I didn't want to end the review on a bad note, so I'll say one more thing that's good about it. 30% of the money is going to the Starlight Children's Foundation charity, but again, that doesn't excuse it for being the boring game that it is.
+ Cutesy art style
+ Supports a cause
- Repetitive music
- Same-y, empty, and plain looking stages
- Gets boring pretty fast
- 4:3 aspect ratio
- Rage inducing
Cutesy art style directed at kids which I find weird because the game was released on PC and not mobile. The aesthetics look simple and the stages are empty, making it less of a fun experience than it could be.
Run, collect decorations, and bring them to the basket, that’s about all there is to the game. The repetitive nature gets boring really fast, and other than that, you won’t have anything else to do. The difficulty is going to spike in later stages when new things are introduced, but they are more annoying than fun to play with.
If you feel like going to hell all over again then sure. The game is short, even by casual game standards, but if stressing yourself is a thing for you then perfecting the game is gonna take a teeny-weeny bit longer.
out of 10
(not an average)
The concept was cute, but the game wasn’t fun at all. The papercraft-like kindergarten art style fits it but it could be executed way better than 5 different backgrounds on the floor and some popsicle sticks as walls. The game gets boring and repetitive and it plays like a game made for mobile, which confuses me as to why it came out on PC, but at least 30% of the sales money will go to charity.