Review by Matt Dunn
In general, we dont do full reviews of free games. However, the developer of Trace approached us requesting one, so I decided to tackle the task. I wasn’t expecting much. I mean, it is free after all, right? Boy was I surprised!
The concept of Trace is simple: using an on-screen controler, move and jump your litle red line from the starting position to the little swirling sun thing at the end. There a plenty of obstacles that get in your way. The usual spikes, pits, and random moving objects to name a few. You are timed for each level, and then your time is combined for each world, and then a total overall time for the game. It took me almost an hour and a half to beat the game. Not bad for picking up and playing several times a day for a week!
The joy (and challenge) of Trace comes in the ability to use your fingers to draw paths for your line to move and jump on. You can draw these any where on the screen. There are levels that require you to draw bridges over spikes, or maybe a hill to reach a goal up high. For those that are still confused, think LineRider, but without a sled.
The graphics are intentionally childish in Trace, and the game plays extremely smoothly. Even with multiple moving objects on screen, I never once experienced lag. The artwork is a lot of fun, and looks like the developers had a lot of fun designing levels in Microsoft Paint.
There are six worlds in Trace, each with a different theme. It starts with simple shapes, the moves on to things like plants, water, and space. There is even a clever chalkboard world that has you manuevering through various words and math problems on the board. at 20 levels per world, Trace offerse a massive 120 levels to beat.
Finally, the sound, or should I say music, in Trace is excellent. All original songs, and all just feel right in relation to the worlds they’re attached to. Other than the background music, there isn’t much in sound effects, but honestly I barely noticed. The music is mostly soothing, and doesn’t get annoying at all.
The only problem I found with Trace, which is a problem that plagues most games that feature an on-screen controller, is the lack of response from the control pad. The “retry” and “back” buttons had to be pressed multiple times for them to function. There were also many times when the jump button would not work, and it’s always right at the wrong moment! If the controllers were polished a bit, it would definitely improve the experience. Fortunately, that was not a major issue for me, and I can’t think of anything else to complain about!
Presentation & Graphics:10
Adorable kid-style graphics. Great variety with 6 different art styles. Definitely feels like a lot of love went into the look of this game. It’s as much a joy to see as it is to play. Reminds me of the fun I had with MS Paint as a kid.
Wonderful and creatively composed music matches the various worlds perfectly. Never annoying. Very little sound effects though.
Drawing paths through levels never gets old! Most levels have many different ways of beating them, and many of them are quite challenging! I really can’t go into the incredible variety of levels here, as there is simply too much. Unfortunately, the lack of responsiveness from from the on-screen touch controls can get a bit frustrating in the more difficult levels.
120 levels. You could easily get a couple hours of gameplay out of this, especially if you’re not driving to beat it as fast as you can. However, if you are, each level is timed, and then averaged for that world, then the whole game. I don’t see this being a huge reason to come back to this game though. Hopefully new levels packs, or better yet, a level creator, will be available at some point. Until then, it’s mainly a fun one-through experience.
Game rating: 8
GO GET THIS GAME. NOW.
Trace ranks close to many of the existing great free games like Aurora Feint and TTR in the fact that it is very well developed, and contains quite a bit of content. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a blast to play? Sure, there are a few glaring touch-control issues, but trust me, once you get into Trace you won’t care. There’s no reason the developers shouldn’t be charging a buck or two for this game, so get it while it’s free, then tell your friends to buy it when it costs money!