MythBusters, a science entertainment show on the Discovery Channel, boasts quite the cult following. And nowadays, you can’t very well create a popular culture phenomenon without an iPhone app.
From developer Phunware, MythBusters: The Official Discovery Channel App for iPhone and iPod combines several elements of your average iPhone app to create a sort all-encompassing super-app based on the show. (There’s also an iPad-optimized version of the app for Apple’s other mobile device.)
Like many television series-based apps, MythBusters features a section with the show’s schedule, episode guide, and cast biographies. It also has show clips, but not just any clips—you can choose from recent clips, sneak peeks, “cult favorites,” “show selects,” and even “high-speed” clips just from the episodes with fast-moving vehicles crashing into things.
All of these videos are HD sharp, and watching them on the iPhone’s considerably small screen feels completely natural. In fact, the graphics for the entire app are incredibly crisp and aesthetically pleasing.
Phunware also heavily incorporated social networking, with a “Community” section posting a live news feed from the MythBusters Facebook page, a link to follow MythBusters on Twitter, a feed of just Facebook wall comments, and then yet another feed with just tweets. You’d have to be seriously into this show to find a use for all of them, but then again, it’s nice to have the option to tailor what you read.
Far and away, the most genius thing about this app is its games section. Plenty of television shows have companion apps, and most of them are interactive, but MythBusters takes it to a new level. These games are good enough to be apps in their own right.
Choose from three: Matchstick has you shoot a bowling ball out of a cannon to knock down pins strewn around a maze; Seesaw Saga has you dropping a parachutist onto a seesaw, launching the guy on the other end into the air and hopefully onto a target placed atop a skyscraper; and Soda Bomb asks you to add mints to a bottle of cola, then shake it up and launch the spray into the air, hitting your target and knocking it out of the sky.
The best part: all of these games are based on actual experiments conducted by the MythBusters crew, and each game is introduced with a clip from that episode. The games use multiple iPhone controls—everything from swiping to shaking to tilting. And even better, the games each include several unlockable levels with hours of replayability. Like I said before, these games could easily be their own apps.
There is a catch to all of this awesomeness, of course—a $3 price tag that may dissuade all but the most devoted MythBusters fans from downloading the app. That would be a shame, though, because this is a truly great app, whether you’re obsessed with the show or not.
[Meghann Myers is Macworld’s editorial intern.]