MythBusters Review

This is an app based on Discovery Channel’s extremely entertaining show MythBusters, in which Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman take ideas commonly believed to be true and put them to the test. The iPhone app includes a lot of officially licensed content straight from the show, but what really got our attention were the three games included. Unfortunately these games, like so many flimsy myths, are mostly busted.

The first game, and easily the most entertaining, is Matchstick Cannon. Like other cannon physics games, you shoot an object into the air and try to hit your target. Here, the targets are bowling pins scattered around the level. Using your ability to adjust the angle and power of the cannon, as well as bumper walls, you must propel the bowling ball to knock down all the pins.

Bowling is so much more fun with a cannon.

Now for the downside: there are only 15 levels. We blasted through these in about a half hour, and weren’t compelled to go back and try our hand at them again with fewer balls for a greater challenge. Also, you can’t zoom out while aiming your cannon. This means that you’re stuck with a close-up camera and clunky screen-drag navigation. Without a means of looking at the big picture, the first few shots of every round are taken blindly.

The next game, Seesaw Saga, is also entertaining but repetitive. The goal is to first position a falling Mr. Savage to hit one end of a seesaw, propelling their dummy, Buster, up towards the top of a building. Using the accelerometer to control its horizontal movement and kites and balloons to get it higher, you must hit a target on top of the building. This is fun, although it becomes tedious quickly once you master the technique.

Mentos + Diet Coke = fun.

The game’s big draw is its Bluetooth multiplayer capability. This is basically a high-score challenge where you play against another player until one messes up. Pass and play would have seemed to be a better fit, but it’s a nice addition regardless.

Soda Bomb is the last option, and it’s easily the least enjoyable. You must survive five rounds of shooting Mento-loaded soda up into the air, hitting targets and the dummy at the top to move on. Running out of Mentos ends the game, although more are awarded between each level and for hitting targets.

Controls are yet again an issue here, and the unresponsive tilt mechanic makes the game practically unplayable. This means you will often miss you mark and be sent back to the start of the first round, which gets annoying fast.

Buster can’t catch a break.

There are some positive moments, however. First is the official license, which includes sound bites and video content. The menu screen for each game consists of a short clip from the show of the myth being tested. In the game options, you can change between which cast members you want to use. Online leaderboards through AGON are also available, although they’re not enough to keep you coming back to the lackluster games.

For a MythBusters fan, the other content in the app is very much worth the price of purchase. However, if you were looking for exciting games and could care less about Adam and Jamie’s crazy experiments, then pass this one up.

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