There have been a handful of screen-scribbling action games on mobile, and by and large they’ve all been pretty darn good. And now you can add Chaser Tracer to that list. This neon blast from the past isn’t just eye-and-ear candy, it’s also a pretty darn challenging arcade swipe-a-thon.

The game sees you trying to stop aliens blowing up a bomb – which they’ve disguised as the sun – by decoding their language. That language flies at you in the form of symbols, symbols that you need to trace to clear from the screen. That’s the tracer part of the title covered.

The Chaser is the alien’s defense mechanism. Leave a symbol for too long and the Chaser will start to clear it – and if it manages before you’ve scribbled the line away, you’re going to lose a life. Lose all of your lives and the sun bomb explodes and it’s back to the beginning. 

A glowing blue dot shows you where you need to start your tracing from. Miss a corner and you’ve got a second or so before your tracing recedes back to the dot and you’ll have to start over. It’s pretty easy when you’ve got one simple symbol to draw, but it doesn’t take long for things to get much more palm-sweat inducing. 

You’ll have to draw multiple, fiddly shapes, all the while watching out for the purple fizzle that tells you the Chaser has caught up. Wormholes appear that add another element of time pressure – not only do you need to beat the Chaser, you need to scrawl the shapes before they disappear from view.

You’ve got some help though. You gain power-ups as you play, which can slow down or stop the level, giving you a chance to solve the glyphs before things get overwhelming. You’ll keep your accrued power-ups even when you die, so you’ve always got some waiting in reserve when things get tough. 

Chaser Tracer skirts the line between twitchy impossibility and “I can do this” pretty darn well. This is a frantic, synthwave-powered draw-’em-up that’s going to frustrate and thrill you in equal measure.

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