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What can I say,. I've played every single part of the gemcraft series - and this is the first one to reach steam - obviously I had to have it and it's one of the (very few) games in my library that I actually paid the full price for. The earlier versions may be found as flash games on sites dedicated to such games if you are inclined to seek them out. The steam version of GC Chasing Shadows is big, has a ton of achievements to unlock, drops trading cards, and has over 190 levels - each one you will want to complete 3 or more times to maximize your score. Gemcraft is radically different from any of the other tower defense games in that you do not upgrade the towers, but actually the gems which you must then place in the towers. You get 9 different colors - each with different effects. And they may be infinitely combined and upgraded to higher levels of power at the cost of mana. The game features 419 achievements (I still lack 2 at the time of writing),. and I can assure you it's a big challenge to try and get them all. Aside worth it - because they will give you more skill points, and this will boost your power in-game. See More
The main mechanic of the game is using gems that provide properties like splash damage, poison, chain lightning, etc to your towers in different combinations. Add to that the fact that there are 7 levels for each gem, you have to manage your mana, there are multiple difficulty levels that change the amount of experience you gain, there are multiple kinds of spells, 25 passive skills and talisman fragments among other variables that you have to balance and you end up with an impressive amount of choice and depth. See More
Early on you are limited in placement, but in later levels you can and need to build your own mazes to really direct the enemies. There are lots of options/routes/ways to build those mazes so it really opens up a lot of replayability to try and beat your friends scores by tweaking your mazes for maximum points. See More
There are many different types of Towers. There are Cannons which fire reliably with moderate damage, Focus Beams which lock on to a single target and fire continuously until it dies or leaves the range, Lightning Towers which emit massive AoE damage on enemies passing by, but fires very slowly, and much more. Towers can be upgraded 3 times which increase their effectiveness. See More
In this game the FPS aspect is more heavily emphasized, and the towers assist the player more than the player assists the towers. Towers definitely still play an important role, but the player often needs to do a lot of the work, especially for early waves. See More
The game offers drastically different enemies. Some might be slow tanks, while other could be fast and in swarms, but very weak. The Bobbleheads can only be damaged by shooting their crit spot on the top of their head, but they sway back and forth as they move through the maze. There are also Bosses that show up at the end of some levels, which are very powerful and giant versions of some of the core enemies. They all gain special abilities which makes them an even bigger threat, such as the Hoverer Queen who, like Hoverers, can only be damaged by being shot in the crit spot on its back. However, this Boss will emit something like an EMP Pulse when attacking the player, which will shut down all nearby towers for a couple seconds. This might force the players to adapt to taking shots at it from far away. See More
One thing that is not ideal is the player(s) start with a limited amount of blocks. You can't design a grand maze from the start as you don't start with enough blocks. You get a couple more blocks at the end of every wave, but it takes a while to get a solid maze going. This somewhat dampens the possible creativity in designing your layouts. There is also a cap on the number of Towers that can be constructed, so it requires you to think carefully about where to build them. See More
There are many different levels in the game and the player(s) always have a choice about how to build their maze. The maps themselves usually have a large open area, with a few obstacles to build around in some cases, and the player(s) can place down blocks wherever they want to create unique mazes every time. See More
There are different characters/classes to choose in this game. Each has their primary weapon which can't be changed, and a special ability. The were is also a secondary weapon available, which can be other player's primary weapons once a level requirement is met. As for the abilities, one character sets enemies on fire to provide constant DoT any time she shoots an enemy. Another character gets bonus critical damage, etc. There are also perks you unlock as you level up which can drastically affect your play style, such as one perk that moderately damages enemies within a block of you once per second. This can be combined with a perk that boosts your weapon damage by 10% for each close enemy for up to 6 stacks. There are tons of different perks, like ones that focus on protecting/healing the core, or slowing down enemies, or maximizing turret effectiveness, so the game allows you to play how you want to. See More
You're an operator of a large mechanized "Trench" that has various weapon load-outs available in addition to the ability to place various types of turrets. The best part about the campaign is starting to test your metal on the Survival missions, so make sure you get the Rise of the Martian Bear add-on. See More
The touch controls/movement controls on this are really really awesome. Zooming in and out on the floating island to either "god view" from high above where enemies look like ants, to down on ground level first person in a click or pull is pretty awesome. See More
This is not like many tower defense games where you can "build your own mazes" to send enemies how you want them. The spots to place towers here are very very limited (at least half way through campaign), and in most cases you only really have 4-5 viable spots to possibly put towers. See More
The geometry in the game affects the ranges for the worse. You are very limited in where you can place towers, and if you try placing the standard gun, or laser in half the spots, they can't hit half of the enemies inside their range due to being on a mountain side for example. It at least shows you this in the range of the tower by showing a red area where they won't hit. It ends up making a lot of the spots to place towers useless as the only towers you can put there are crazy long range ones like the Missle. See More
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