Bit By Bit Games
Based in Guildford, UK

Release date:
1 November, 2011

Windows PC


Regular Price:


“When I was a child, I thought you left a trail through the world that you collected when you died”

Trail is an experimental, minimalist platformer, which was inspired by a child’s belief about death. It explores the idea that a person leaves a trail in the world as they journey through life, upon death this trail must be collected to achieve final peace.

In Trail each level is played forwards and then backwards from the point of death.

While the player is alive the world is white and a trail of memories is dropped behind them. Each memory dropped increases the score, but touching a memory while alive damages the player (sometime it’s painful to revisit the past).

A level represents a journey through life and there comes a point where the player will die, no one is immortal.

When the player dies the world turns black. In this state the player’s health (now representative of the player’s attachment to this plane of existence) constantly drains. Collecting memories, which flee from the player, increases both the player’s health and their score.

Their ultimate goal is to return to the first memory left in the world, failure to reach it is judged as an unfulfilled/incomplete life. To finish the game displays a short piece of text summing up the player’s life, this is based on the score achieved and the player’s age (how far through the level they got).


Trail was the first Bit By Bit game to have both founders work on it after Kieran left Lionhead in September 2011.

The idea that forms the basis of Trail comes from the quote:

“When I was a child, I thought you left a trail through the world that you collected when you died”

which Matt read on an internet forum thread about what people thought, as children, would happen when the died. This struck Matt as a great concept to be explored with a game so he filed it away for later use.

There are many genres and styles of game that could be used to explore this concept, the most obvious being narrative heavy games like RPGs or visual novels. Bit By Bit Games chose to approach the concept from an abstract perspective. Rather than telling the player a specific story, this was about leaving them with a feeling/impression of the concept.

Matt & Kieran knew this would be a short game so set themselves the deadline of the IGF 2012 entry date. Trail was developed over three weeks using XNA, and entered into the IGF with a single level. Levels in Trail have the unusual design challenge of having to be fully traversable in both directions, so due to time constraints additional levels were constructed after submission and added to the IGF build.

Trail was released, for free, on November 1st 2011.

A Bit By Bit Games Short

Bit By Bit Games want to bring the Pixar shorts methodology to games. In addition to large projects, shorts are intended to allow them to experiment with new technology, crazy ideas, or simply make a game around a concept that would not work when forcibly extended to create a longer game.


Trailer YouTube

Awards & Recognition

    Trail has not received any awards or recognitions yet. Please check back later to see if things change.

    Selected Articles

      • "It’s quite touching in a weird kind of way, helped a lot by the delicate piano accompaniment. I suddenly want to be a lot more careful so I don’t die young and live an unfulfilled life."
        - Chris Priestman, Arcade Life

      About Bit By Bit Games

      Bit By Bit Games is a British independent game studio founded by Matthew Hanlon and Kieran Nee in June 2011.

      More information
      More information on Bit By Bit Games, our logo & relevant media are available here.