Rarely is the threat of a deadline relished, however Eraser seeks to put the fun back into the horrible chase of the calendar in a charming puzzle platformer. Assist your character, a stressed designer, as he flees the dreaded red highlighter across a backdrop of his own unfinished blueprints. Your only weapon is a trusty eraser and your goal is to reach the end of this 2D side-scroller in one piece.
Manipulating the world around you by erasing dotted white lines to release platforms, operate mechanisms, or create ramps becomes increasingly creative as the game flows on. A simple finger swipe takes care of the erasing which, while sometimes losing precision, creates a tactile experience and ensures the simple concept isn’t clouded with unnecessary mechanics. With basic controls asking only your input in clearing a course for your automatic runner and clear cut goals set across relatively short levels, the initial courses feel incredibly easy and relaxed. Do not be fooled. Later on these deviously simple controls will have your pulse racing and your hand twitching as that ominous ink edges closer. Speed is a necessity once the meat of the game is in your hands, and often means levels will not be completed on the first try. On approaching an obstacle, a snap decision is required to decipher your move. While this speed and level complexity makes for a quick yet challenging dip into play, it brings the experience down in the later levels.
There is a tricky line to walk in balancing addictiveness and frustration, which many mobile games remain on the wrong side of. Eraser walks this line very tentatively, often swaying one side and over correcting to swoop dangerously into the other. Because each puzzle is so quick, you are often consumed by the marker before even considering a plan for what is in front of you. This leads to a lot of repetition, and if you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, a lot of failure. It doesn’t help that new mechanics aren’t directed in the later levels, with a more experimental approach that often detracts from the desire to continue play.
After some slight frustrations at the lack of instructions however, Eraser provides a surprisingly thoughtful experience. The erasing mechanic becomes an increasingly diverse tool the deeper you delve, working alongside already existing structures and added features such as balloons and steam grates. A handful of deadly zombie-like stick enemies are thrown in for good measure and even the platforms themselves can become dangerous should you become stuck in a tricky spot.
Eraser provides a fast-paced stimulating experience that will keep you on your toes throughout. With a charmingly motivational soundtrack and a wry nod at the dreaded design deadlines that probably plagued developers Hiker Games in its actual development, it’s easy to lose yourself in these original play mechanics and gorgeously simplistic graphics. With that lovely $0 price tag and no in-game ads or purchases, it’s difficult to understand why anyone wouldn’t give Eraser a shot.