The Average Gamer

PowerDown Review (iPhone)


PowerDown is a tricky little puzzle game for the iPhone and iPad from York-based developer Dave Allanson. Inspired by the famous Lights Out puzzler, this game is based around the simple concept of turning all the lights out on each of the 350 levels.

Each level consists of a grid of 5 x 5 or 6 x 6 cells in the later levels. Each cell can either be turned on (white) or off (black) by poking it. To make things a bit more complicated, each cell affects the behaviour of its immediate neighbours. So if you turn on/off a cell in the middle of a level then the surrounding 4 cells are also affected (i.e. turned on or off respectably). To spice things up even more, after level 200 then ‘X mode’ kicks in where the diagonal lights are affected rather than the adjacent ones.

Poke, poke, hope

There isn’t really a learning curve in PowerDown. If you don’t grasp the underlying concept of how to turn the lights out then you will be chasing them every level from the first to the last. Once things click, however, you’ll learn to quickly condense each particular level’s set of lights down to the pattern that you know how to clear. That’s not to say, that I managed to fly though all the levels. Oh, no. I’m not very good at this game. I struggled to complete most of the levels.

Occasionally, I’ll chance upon the solution really quickly and give myself a mental pat on the head, only to spend the next 10 minutes chasing the bloody lights on the next level. Euphoria is quickly followed by frustration.

I quite like the music in PowerDown. It is suitably relaxing and futuristic and doesn’t get on your nerves, which is a problem I find with many mobile games. I heartily recommend playing PowerDown with the music turned on – just lie back and relax.

PowerDown’s biggest limitation is that it’s just based around one type of puzzle, so the levels can get a bit repetitive. Once you’ve completed all the levels there isn’t much else left to do, replay value of the game as it stands is quite low. However, Allanson has confirmed that he will be releasing other game modes in the future, like a challenge mode to complete the level in the lowest number of moves.

However, this is a game that you can just pick up and play for 5 minutes; handy for those times when waiting for your significant other to emerge from the loos. You are getting a decent amount of gameplay (350 levels) for just 59p, which is not too shabby. It also ticks all the boxes for a commuter-friendly game: you can start playing quickly, you can pause the game at any point, resume from where you left off and it auto-saves when you complete each level. You don’t lose any progress when someone calls you – the game just resumes after you’ve finished the call. In addition, you can play the game one-handed, which is an essential requirement whilst steadying yourself on public transport, like on the London Underground.


PowerDown is a deceptively tricky puzzle game that is perfect for a quick play. It makes you think and can be frustrating as you chase lights around the level but is oh-so-satisfying when you work out the solution to each level. With 350 levels to conquer, PowerDown will provide a lasting challenge.


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PowerDown is available now on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for 59p. A Mac version is also available for £1.19.

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