The year is 2023 and you play the role of a successful, mercenary hacker. Your artificial intelligence agent lands you high-paying contracts from around the world to perform acts of corporate espionage and sabotage. You accomplish this by transporting yourself into a virtual reality scene representing cyberspace. The latest contract has a twist, however: Once you hack into the computer, a deadly Tracer virus comes after you and it can literally kill you.
Tracer consists of 50 levels (plus a level editor). Each level plays like a puzzle. The player begins with a set of 10 code pads. Each code pad has 4 sides, each of which can be a different color (red, green, blue, or magenta). The player can cycle through the available code pads and place one down on the next square, but only if the adjoining colors match between the current square and the next square. Laying down these code pads lays a path that the player can walk on in order to navigate the grid. However, the Tracer virus is constantly closing in from behind, chewing up the code pads that the player has already planted. The goal of each level is to reach the exit square, which takes the player closer to the ultimate goal: the data core.
Along the way, the player can collect more code pads in order to keep going. There are other powerups such as magnetic pads which slow the Tracer virus' progress.