New App A Day: iTraceur HD

Today’s featured app is the iPad version of iTraceur, a platformer inspired by parkour, the art of freerunning over obstacles and shimmying up and down walls. But don’t go deleting your copy of Mirror’s Edge HD quite yet– iTraceur has a ways to go before it can leap over the competition.

iTraceur HD features a unique art style, at least. Your “traceur,” or freerunner, is a digitized actor who moves with the same rotoscoped fluidity as the characters in games like Flashback. The background is a sprawling cartoon world that looks like Toontown rendered in MS Paint. These two styles clash strikingly.

The controls are also unconventional. Instead of a normal D-pad, iTraceur HD has left, right, and two buttons each for up and down, each pointing in a diagonal direction. As a result, you have to hold the two up buttons at the same time to jump straight up, which the game sometimes detects as a standing jump to the side.

Your goal in iTraceur HD is to collect icons, as well as bananas and wristbands, throughout a giant 2D world. While the placement of the icons forces you to explore and climb, the level design feels haphazard. Plus, for a game that touts its realism, jumping from a high building does not result in your freerunner going splat on the pavement.

iTraceur strikes us as extremely amateur. The controls and visuals just can’t compete with more polished platformers like Mirror’s Edge, and we had more fun running and rolling in Canabalt than we did with iTraceur. Even if you love parkour, iTraceur HD is probably not for you.