I'll admit it; when I saw Peakour HD for the very first time, my heart sank. I had no knowledge of the game going into it and when I saw the standard Angry Birds or Cut The Rope level grid pop up, I was ready to dismiss this as yet another iOS clone of something already done thousands of times over. Now, though, after a few solid hours (and one thoroughly ignored wife), I can admit I was too quick to jump the gun. Peakour HD comes right out of left field with a crazy, hilarious concept, tons of challenging, never-boring gameplay and some of the silkiest, smoothest character animation yet seen on the iOS platform. You could absolutely quit reading this review right now, go and get the game and you'd be perfectly satisfied, I'm sure. But if you want to know what makes Peakour HD so great, stick with me for a paragraph or two. I also hereby promise to refrain from subjecting you to any Orson Welles "green pea-ness" jokes for the rest of this review as well, no matter how tempting.
Peakour HD's concept is where we should start. If you didn't pick it up from the clever title, this game starts a little pea (like the vegetable) with attitude who also happens to be a master at Parkour, the bizarre art/sport of freestyle walking. It becomes your job to create a path for your little green athlete using objects found around one of the game's five main environments. Hit "go" and your hero will attempt the course, moving down the path you built for him. Getting to the goal of each one-screen stage is your main objective, but in true iOS fashion, there are three stars per level to pick up along the way. It is, granted, a gameplay style seen before, on iOS and everywhere else, but Peakour HD's execution makes this design feel as fresh as anything on the App Store.
The game is fun, probably a must-have in my book, but there is more to the story. iOS graphics and presentation can range from eye-pokingly awful to console-level brilliance, and Peakour HD's animations put it head and shoulders above a huge majority of graphically blah iOS games. The pea's animations as he runs, jumps, grabs ledges, etc. look lifted from the highest budgeted Disney cartoons, and watching your little vegetable use your path is nearly as much fun as building it. The environments and menus have their own charms, but that athletic little green guy has the potential to be another App Store mascot, along the lines of Om Nom or that main red Angry Bird. Sceenshots don't do the animations justice, though; they must be seen in action to be appreciated and loved.
Most iOS games would stop there, content with a ton of little levels and possibly some updates in the future. Not Peakour HD. Players also get a fully-featured level creator with all kinds of little objects and obstacles to build courses. Running the pea through your own levels is almost as satisfying as playing through some of the provided stages, though I noticed some instances where there was no way for the pea to finish and the game would crash. Every single iOS game crashes at some point or another (damn you, Skylanders: Cloud Patrol!), and I only saw it happen a handful of times, a lot less than some other titles (like Skylanders: Cloud Patrol).
Aside from those level creation crashes, I couldn't find anything to complain about with Peakour HD. The concept is clever, the presentation is five star and the level creator is a nice addition. If there is any justice in Apple land, you'll see this one at the top of the App Store charts in no time.