Slow Down, Bull Review – Light Hearted Fun for a Charitable Cause


Insomniac showed that they could enchant a large audience of both young and old alike when they first released Spyro the Dragon so many years ago. Their first game on PC, Slow Down, Bull, aims to do that all over again while helping sick children at the same time. I’m impressed by the generosity that this studio has shown, and while I’m pleased to see something like this I’ll try to remain objective in the following paragraphs.

It’s fun, but simple. Slow Down, Bull is a two-button game, with a few options for which two buttons you choose. Players can use the left and right arrow keys, A and D keys, left and right click, or a gamepad to steer Esteban. As you steer, Esteban becomes more and more stressed out, so be careful! The goal is to collect as many decorations as possible before finishing the level and before time runs out. It’s seems easy at first but becomes a challenge quickly as you progress through each of the five areas, with new enemies and hazards popping up along the way: you hit an enemy, you drop your decorations.

To make matters worse, you’re constantly speeding up as you bump into walls. It just so happens that doing so is the primary way to remain calm, removing all built up stress from this timid bull. Esteban quickly ends up with a lot of speed and not much free space to run through. You can slow down manually by running through water, or by hitting an enemy/hazard. This comes in handy when you’ve got enough time to move slowly through a tight zone, and much of the game is managing your speed. It all comes together to make a rather fun competition of balancing time, speed, and decorations as you try to gain all three points in each level.

As you progress, you’ll be sure to run into a few more mechanics that spice things up. These can range from hazards to decoration multipliers, and all have a heavy impact on your outcome while being a good mix of risk vs reward. For example, you can find possums throughout most levels that cling to your face for a short period of time. Every other second he’s on you you’ll take a short forced turn, potentially into danger but if you can keep him on long enough he’ll double whatever you’re carrying. My personal favourite however was the lightning box: the faster you’re moving, the more decorations you’ll acquire for a short period of time. There are a lot of ways to boost your speed in Slow Down, Bull so if you can avoid all the hazards you can really boost your score with this. Overall, the developers have done a good job at keeping the game fresh and challenging throughout each zone.

“Overall, the developers have done a good job at keeping the game fresh and challenging throughout each zone.”



The art is pretty interesting, meant to resemble crafts and things that kids might make at school. Considering the tie-in with the charity this goes together quite nicely and carries a certain charm that reminds me of Easter and making stuff to bring home as a kid. There are lots of soft pastel colours and simple backgrounds, coming together to look like something made from construction paper. The music that accompanies the visuals also fits everything quite well, with tracks that are light hearted and fun. One in particular kind of reminds me of the chocobo songs from Final Fantasy VII, if only for a few bars. Insomniac has gone and created something playful and fun for all; even if you don’t enjoy playing the game very much, I’m sure it can win you over somehow.

It seems that the core demographic is definitely a younger audience, and there are several lessons not so hidden within the cutscenes and dialogue between Esteban and his sister. Lessons on patience, helping others, being happy with what you have and so forth. None of it seems too forced, and it’s all rather playful. I think given time, Slow Down, Bull can melt most hearts as you help Esteban create the perfect piece of art. There’s just something inherently good and nice about this game that lifts your spirits as you advance.

On top of all this, each copy sold donates 50% of Insomniac’s profit to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization that helps sick children. With the price being just under ten dollars, it’s a great way to give back and help support a good cause when purchasing entertainment. With Extra Life taking place each year as well, it seems gaming has a soft spot for sick kids and it’s really nice to see more things like this.

“If you’re in desperate need of all things AAA, then you may as well not bother with this game and just donate to charity yourself.”



As fun as the game is, there are of course some trouble areas. For example, I actually found a pretty easy way to just break the game and finish it in no time. Simply finish a level with any amount of the three possible points, then retry instead of continue if it’s your first attempt. Every time you retry, you gain more points. Now, this is actually pretty handy as the requirements to advance do get a tad difficult, but I don’t think it’s intended. I also found the audio bugged out a few times on me, either with the backing track cutting or all of the audio going dim until I went back to the level selector. Aside from bugs, you can most likely finish the game in an afternoon, though for under ten dollars that’s to be expected. There’s a bit of replay value with challenges like trying to collect every decoration in each level, but that’s generally not too difficult and only adds a few more tries.

If the exploit I found hadn’t been so game breaking, I’d have rated Slow Down, Bull higher. It’s a very decent game for the price, and I’m happy to see more titles like this coming from well-known studios, such as when Ubisoft made Child of Light. Gaming doesn’t have to be taken so seriously all the time, and everyone can have fun just playing. If you’re in desperate need of all things AAA, then you may as well not bother with this game and just donate to charity yourself, but for just about everyone else I’d say it’s worth the money. So go ahead, get lost in your childhood and don’t get so stressed out!

*** Review code supplied by publisher ***

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