Trace Vector is a modern take on tough as nails, high speed, vector, action arcade games from the 1980's. Turn up the music, navigate your ship through high speed warp networks, maintain your fuel reserves, avoid deadly hazards, and try to safely return home! Quarters not required.
User reviews:
Positive (38 reviews) - 84% of the 38 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 19, 2014

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Trace Vector

Packages that include this game

Buy Trace Vector Soundtrack Edition

Includes 2 items: Trace Vector, Trace Vector Soundtrack

Buy Trace Vector Soundtrack Only

Downloadable Content For This Game



“A unique spectical of light and sound that captures the mystery, whimsy, of a long forgotten era of classic gaming." "The pumping electronica music throughout the game is one of the first truely great soundtracks of the year." "... the reflex heavy gameplay is a rewarding and satisfying experience." "The game is a unique take on the endless runner genre, a wonderful spectical of light and sound, and a love letter to an almost forgotten niche of classic arcade nirvana." "... Trace Vector is a shining gem and hopefully a glimpse of awesome things to come this year in indie gaming.”

About This Game

Gameplay Summary
Trace Vector is a high speed action arcade game with puzzle elements. Featuring a modern take on vector style graphics, Trace Vector plays like an easy to learn, hard to master, game of the golden age of the 80′s video arcades. Race your space ship through each geometric level grabbing extra fuel cells along the way. Reach a viable goal to shatter the networks' hold on your ship and increase your speed. Simple controls keep you focused on navigating the increasingly complex webs at ever increasing speeds. Collect fuel cells and warp time to assist in the precision maneuvering needed to ace a level! Warping time quickly exhausts precious fuel. If you deplete your fuel and crash it's game over.

Hyperspace networks have hazards at every turn. Dead end paths, barriers, and worm holes that can send you back in time and space increase the danger; forcing you to think ahead and be prepared to deal with your previous route through the network. Hyperspace is a strange place. Go forth brave pilot. Keep your wits in order, escape the neon labyrinths, and scavenge enough fuel to return home safely.

Adventure Mode: A unique driving and evolving soundtrack designed for Trace Vector matches your progress through each of the twelve zones. Help Jason and his ship Aurora return to home planet by exploiting an ancient and hazardous hyper network! Your wits, reflexes, and rockin' tunes are your tools for survival in this high energy neon journey!

Endless Mode: Go for distance! A continuously generated high speed level spans before you as gain speed and avoid crashing! Pass the previously set high score markers and take over the high score board! No quarters are required to retry.

  • Evolving soundtrack kicks up as you progress through each level
  • High energy, yet strangely cerebral, gameplay requires you to think and react quickly to each level
  • Simple controls let you focus on navigating and thinking ahead. Press left/right (or up/down if you prefer) to guide the ship line through each level
  • Burn fuel and slow time at any point of your choosing to give you an edge
  • Avoid dead ends, barriers, and the previously traveled line as you race towards a viable goal
  • Levels continuously increase in speed, danger, and complexity
  • Unlock Expert Mode featuring mirrored levels and an even faster and more brutal rule set
  • High score tables track your runs in each zone and let you examine where you can improve for better scores
  • Vector style graphics with adjustable effect levels to ensure maximum performance
  • Proprietary game engine specifically implemented for Trace Vector
  • Rad tunes

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution, OpenGL 2.0 Support
    • Storage: 132 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Dedicated GPU is recommended for glow effects, which can be turned off
    • OS: Mac OS 10.6 or Higher
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution, OpenGL 2.0 Support
    • Storage: 132 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Dedicated GPU is recommended for glow effects, which can be turned off
    • OS: Linux [Ubuntu or similar flavor] 64-Bit
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution, OpenGL 2.0 Support
    • Storage: 132 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Dedicated GPU is recommended for glow effects, which can be turned off
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Positive (38 reviews)
Review Type

Purchase Type


Display As:

(what is this?)
32 reviews match the filters above ( Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
26 of 33 people (79%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 19, 2014
An excellent throwback to '80's arcade machines, this game is fast, furious, and /incredibly/ challenging. Not for the faint of heart, even veteran gamers will stopped dead without focus, practice, and very quick reflexes. I highly recommend this intense audiovisual experience, but only if you think you're up for it. If you're not good at twitch reflex and aren't willing to spend a long time practicing, this game is not for you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
20 of 26 people (77%) found this review helpful
51.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014
This game is great, the levels are super cool and challenging, the music brings you back to the 80's and it perfectly fits the game.

Trace Vector is just fantastic.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 26, 2015
Trace Vector begins with a soundtrack. Well, to be exact it begins with a line. Lines upon lines purposefully arranged into perfectly angular designs, burning neon star charts and spacecraft into an empty galaxy. It’s the soundtrack though which sets the tone, one which the game then eagerly joins in a chorus of 80’s sci-fi nostalgia.

Thumping, reverberating drums and swelling synth mesh into retro adrenaline, drawing you into a minimalist time vortex while keeping its archaic roots at arm’s length. A lot of games draw from classic 80’s sci-fi movies and themes; Terminator, Aliens, Star Wars. But almost always they do so in ways which are more reminiscent of the decade than part of it, possibly as the most common films drawn from are franchises which have yet to disappear themselves and thus things inspired by them inherently feel less dated. It allows for recognizable settings and characters, but often misses the beauty of something clearly antique but loved for that very reason.

Trace Vector feels like a game ripped from an outmoded computer and remastered with a modern sheen. Sparse geometrical collections of stars and the lines collecting them create a distance between you and the game in such a way as to give you room to fill in the missing details yourself. Every line and dot is precise and plain until your radiant ship draws a path through them, leaving a blaze of shifting color in its wake. Small embellishments create a sense of atmosphere and movement among the stars, and give the sense that Trace Vector is acutely conscious of its style. Its design is minimal because it wants and needs to be, not because it was all the artist could manage.

Limiting you to selecting whether to travel up or down on a branching path gives Trace Vector an omnipresent sense of urgency. There’s little room for error or a capacity to slow down, requiring you think several steps ahead and careful observe the map less you send yourself down a dead end and waste what little fuel you have. The contrasting priorities between collecting fuel cells, often taking you into the most dangerous areas of levels, and getting through as quickly as possible provides a constantly evolving feeling of engagement. I was constantly having to weigh the odds between picking up extra fuel and playing it safe and having to decide in a split second or miss the opportunity.

Trace Vector isn’t an easy game, but it’s not so hard as to become overly frustrating. The intensity with which you direct your ship has a habit of making the game feel more impossible than it actually is, heightening my senses to the point they began to overwhelm my ability to plan effectively. Trace Vector counters this with moments of calm, inserting levels where it’s impossible or extremely difficult to lose between those that require a higher level of reflex.

Positioned in the midst of all this is the unassuming narrative developing between your ship’s pilot and the AI controlling it. In keeping with the game’s design, it’s minimal but focused, asking questions of the value of artificial life and its right to free will. In another context this could have unravelled into overly philosophical monologues far beyond the game’s scope, but Trace Vector never extends itself further than the task at hand. It’s story is entirely between two characters, but without excluding the audience drawing more from it.

I didn’t expect much, maybe not anything from Trace Vector. It seemed rudimentary and unrefined, but within itself there’s a world of nuance that’s difficult to grasp from screen shots. The more I let it take control the more I grew to love its unified design and simplicity. It’s a really special game that is likely going to have trouble bringing in an audience, but once they’re here I can’t imagine them wanting to leave.

You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 17 people (71%) found this review helpful
16.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 22, 2014
Trace Vector is a unique and fast paced puzzle arcade game,
It's unique because this is the first time I'm playing this kind of game, and I have never enjoyed any arcade based game this much.
The music is very enjoyable and retro-like which goes with the game pretty well.
This is the type of game that you'll replay and replay and makes you wanna flip the table but you still like it

- Very challenging, in speed wise
- Everything about this game is nice itself, I would say abve average for such simple yet enjoyable game

- 'Just one more round, I promise' <- which is a lie

I strongly recommend this game if you have a few bucks to spend for a new game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 27, 2015
This game is a 1980s arcade classic that never was.
Incredibly simple gameplay, all you basically do is make sure your 'ship' follows the correct line by moving it using the up or down arrow at the correct time. As you progress through the levels the speed increases so you will need machine-like reflexes to keep up... or just use the handy space bar to termporarily slow down time.

Every time you die it's because you made a mistake, nothing cheap about it.

Graphics are minimal but provide the perfect feel. You can even toggle a CRT mode along with different levels of glow in the options, to make it look even more authentic.

And the music... oh man. Pefect 80s synth sound that is 100% matched to the game's levels and keeps you pumped. It's almost worth a recommendation just for that.

The game is split up in smaller level segments so you can play in somewhat brief burts, but also has an endless mode that is just that: you keep playing as long as your reflexes allow you to.

If you like old-style arcade games, or, more to the point, modern recreations of these like the excellent Bit.Trip series, you will also love Trace Vector.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014

Also: Vector graphics +++ Woot
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2014
I have just started to play and i already love it.
The graphics, the music, it's all made really nicely.
Similar in idea to other game i love Super Hexagon, it goes beyond the static gameplay and make it moving.

It could use some more hardcore settings (ie. difficulty levels, no preview mode, random mode etc).
Overall it's a really fun game I recommend to my gamer friends.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2014
arcade games where you have to replay entire sets of levels with unskippable scenes are slightly annoying.
otherwise, a solid arcade game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
28.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 20, 2015
Nice game, a little difficult but its fine. Soundtrack is good too.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
very space
much fast

Detailed Review
Don't let the screenshots fool you that this is boring.
This game is a wonderful 80s throwback that is creative for its design and gameplay, and is something that can only be experienced when playing yourself.

Granted, this game can be daunting for people with bad reflexes, but if you give this game a chance, you may be in one hell of a ride.

And then there's the music.
It's fantastic. I'm one that normally doesn't care for 80s music, but its soundtrack alone is more than enough for a buy.
The soundtrack and SFX really help make this game feel alive, where without it, this game would be somewhat, if not, completely a drag, especially for a game that's heavily music influenced.

I had my settings for the bloom and luminosity effect high to the point where I felt I was enjoying the most of what this game had to offer me. Not too high though, just high enough. (Your eyes will bleed if you max out settings.)

Personally, I think getting the right brightness and the right bloom will really help you have a great time with this game.

So that said, two thumbs up on my end.

But as for the price?
I'll let you justify if buying at full price is well worth it. At this time of the review, it's $6.99, and I personally would say to wait on this to go on a sale. (But then again, I'm always about looking for sales.)

I got this game with a bundle of 8 other games for $5 overall, so it's like I only spent $0.56 on this game.
But seeing how great this game played, I would be more than happy to spend even $4 on this game alone.

All in all, when you can get this game, it's worth giving a shot. Especially for retro enthusiasts.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Recently Posted
0.3 hrs
Posted: October 8
I like the style but I didn't find the gameplay very captivating.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.7 hrs
Posted: May 8
really fun game, seems to be best played with a controller, if you like the 80's beats you will really like this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Anapestic Alex
0.7 hrs
Posted: November 27, 2015
A trifle of a game, but at the price they're asking well worth it. There's something hypnotic about playing it, and the soundtrack is absolutely insanely awesome
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.2 hrs
Posted: November 5, 2015
Great minigame, but the controls are ♥♥♥♥ed up i dont know if its just me but i cant change my name with any buttons whatsoever and the menu is just partly working as well...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
22.8 hrs
Posted: July 23, 2015
A finely crafted challenge. Should you ever feel the game is kicking your ♥♥♥ too hard, you can count on the marvelous soundtrack to pump you up.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
4.1 hrs
Posted: July 16, 2015
Simple fun, and a great soundtrack.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.0 hrs
Posted: June 26, 2015
I absolutely love this! Ticks all the boxes for me:

- one of the best examples of a modern take on classic gaming values
- easy to learn, difficult to master
- beautiful simple visuals
- cracking soundtrack

More of these please!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.6 hrs
Posted: June 18, 2015
A really great game that wonderfully conveys its aesthetic. Great level design, good difficulty curve, fantastic presentation, great music, and a tightly defined scope make this an easy recommendation.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.2 hrs
Posted: May 25, 2015
I almost hate to write this. I can see Trace Vector being appealing to certain people. I am not one of those people.

Gameplay is a combination of memorization and reflex. As you are shown levels in advance, you can memorize the direction changes necessary during the preview. Or you can rely on reflex, picking your course as you play. You can also perform a combination of the two.

For a game based around fast decision making, the game feels artificially slow. While the section previews allow you to plan your path in advance, they are unskippable and can become annoying. When you add in the other filler of a section title display and the line exploding into particles, it can feel like you are spending as much time not playing the game as playing it.

Direction switching is not instantaneous. If you wait until right before a junction to switch direction, you won't switch direction in time. This can be annoying, particularly if you are relying on reflex.

Levels consist of several sections played back to back. If you fail, or just get bored and quit, you have to start over from the first section no matter how easy it is. Again, this makes the game feel artificially slow. The game is seemingly forgiving in that running into a dead end isn't itself a failure; you simply restart the section with your current fuel. You can force a manual restart as well, again losing spent fuel. But running out of fuel is failure. The whole fuel mechanic feels like more artificial slowness, both in dragging out a run that has crossed into failure and in forcing the game to restart at the first section upon failure.

The game simply feels like a game that wants to be fast, but has a design that repeatedly conflicts with that desire.

As for the music, while other reviewers like it, it does absolutely nothing for me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny