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: Mostly Positive (29 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 19, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"Showed at PAX East 2015 - Fiddling with the bloom graphics settings makes for a lot of fun in this puzzle game."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (1)

May 8

1.04 Update

[All Versions]

  • Portals are now exciting new shapes to make them more distinct and to help colorblind players.
  • Scene skips happen faster.
[Windows]
  • Added Xbox 360 Controller support.
  • Updated tutorials and menus to reflect keyboard or controller use.
That's it for now.

Note: The high score name input method has been changed to require holding the up or down button for about half a second to begin cycling through the alphabet. A small update is coming soon to accommodate the old behavior as well.

2 comments Read more

Reviews

“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.”
Retroware

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

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution, OpenGL 2.0 Support
    • Hard Drive: 132 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Dedicated GPU is recommended for glow effects, which can be turned off
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS 10.6 or Higher
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution, OpenGL 2.0 Support
    • Hard Drive: 132 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Dedicated GPU is recommended for glow effects, which can be turned off
    Minimum:
    • OS: Linux [Ubuntu or similar flavor] 64-Bit
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution, OpenGL 2.0 Support
    • Hard Drive: 132 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Dedicated GPU is recommended for glow effects, which can be turned off
Helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 26
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.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 27
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.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2014
Different take on maze games.

A little slow paced, but relaxing.
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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.
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25 of 32 people (78%) 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.
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19 of 25 people (76%) found this review helpful
48.2 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.
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11 of 16 people (69%) found this review helpful
12.5 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

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

Cons:
- '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.
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014
HOLY CRAP THE MUSIC RULES

Also: Vector graphics +++ Woot
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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.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
Summary
Wow
very space
much fast
amaze

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.
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4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 25, 2014
Endless Runner/Puzzle game with a simple gameplay mechanic that brings your reflexes to their limit. Puts a heavy emphasis on Vectrex-like aesthetics and has a KILLER 80s Arcade-sounding score. Hella addictive! Neat! Awesome!

I would have lost a lot of money on a Trace Vector machine...
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
For the most part, this game is amazing. It suffers from the worst sort of artificial difficulty and artificial length, though. In order to progress, you have to make it through a set of six different levels. These levels get frustratingly difficult, which would ordinarily be fine. The problem is that, if you mess up on level 5 or 6 in the set, you're forced to do all the previous levels again every single time. It's horrible and annoyingly repetitive. You also have to watch it auto-run through each level at the start every single time, which is even more annoyingly repetitive. Why you can't skip this is beyond me.

If these terrible features ever get patched out of the game, I'd highly recommend it. As it is now, you're just punished way too heavily for actually trying to play the game.
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3 of 8 people (38%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 22, 2014
Unique and cool game. Never seen anything like it. It is interesting and fun. 10/10
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2 of 6 people (33%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 16, 2014
Simple game, simple graphics.

Seems more like a mobile game. The basics of the game play are basically a giant QuickTimeEvent. Press the direction you want to go and avoid dead-ends while collecting fuel. Most comments are praising the music but I didn't find it to be anything special. The vector style is interesting but something about it looks wrong, I'm not sure how to describe it, it doesn't seem centered. I do like the options though to increase blur, line size, and even the CRT mode (Don't have one, but still interesting to see it).

The whole game strives to be something, but it doesn't seem to know what. It's overly plain and I find that to be its biggest downfall in what could have be a quirky game.

TL:DR Gameplay is extremely repetitive. If you really have to, wait for a sale that puts this at mobile game prices.
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3 of 9 people (33%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2014
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ this game's hard! I love it! They developers really hit it spot on with the feel of early 80s vector games, even the sounds and music send me back (nostalgia, I know, UGH). More modern games that have attempted to do the same have come close, but not quite, and usually turn me off after fumbling with them for half an hour. This one didn't- I wanted to keep going even when I needed to log off for the night.

a++ would gladly fumble it again
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0 of 3 people (0%) found this review helpful
10.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
This game is amasing, challenging, rewarding, a good way to relax with incredible levelling musics.
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1 of 6 people (17%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014
Great game, very simplistic and easy to understand. However don't be fooled the game is quite challenging. Decent soundtrack. An excelent pick for any MAME/Arcade cabinet..
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2 of 10 people (20%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 20, 2014
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10 of 27 people (37%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 20, 2014
Somewhat nice looking, but boring as boring can be. Rewind should just get you back in time a bit, not back at the beginning of the level... No saves between stages.
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1 of 8 people (13%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2014
Pretty fun and simple game. I kinda like it. Plus the music's pretty groovy too.
Best of all the ship reminds me so much of Ranger-2 from the old animated Galaxy Rangers series.
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