Create and combine powerful gems with towers, and use them in intricate ways to defend yourself against endless waves of monsters. Fight your way through an epic story, unfolding mysteries and facing sinister enemies and artifacts to entrap the Forgotten.
User reviews:
Very Positive (24 reviews) - 95% of the 24 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overwhelmingly Positive (1,289 reviews) - 95% of the 1,289 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 30, 2015

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Buy GemCraft - Chasing Shadows


About This Game

The latest installment of the GemCraft series is a unique tower defense game, where, instead of towers, gems are the main weapon to fight endless hordes of monsters.

Place your gems in towers, traps, or amplifiers, replace and switch them as you wish. Even combine them to create more powerful gems with powerful abilities, drop them as gem bombs or activate powerful buildings, the possibilities are endless, the choice is yours!

Fight your way through an epic story, unfolding mysteries and facing sinister enemies and artifacts, as you try to entrap the Forgotten, an archdemon with an unknown agenda and no known way to kill, and to slay her demonic avatars, the shadows. Fierce and desperate battles await you...

Key Features:

  • More than 190 Stages to Explore!
  • 25 passive skills you can obtain and spend skill points on; every time you level up, you get more skill points to spend, but even unspent points help you by giving mana at the start of battles.
  • More than 400 achievements that give you additional skill points, and a real challenge if you want to get them all!
  • 9 gem types you can freely combine to make gems that suit your tactical needs.
  • 9 battle traits with 7 levels of toughness each, and 3 battle difficulty tiers - mix them and stack them to fight tough battles for more XP and epic loot!
  • Find talisman fragments you can socket into your talisman for a wide variety of battle bonuses.
  • 3 strike spells and 3 gem enhancement spells to aid you in battle - you will need them...
  • Stop the battle any time or speed it up to 9x speed, play the way you like; manage your gems if you have to, or fast forward if you feel confident.
  • Summon more monsters by dropping your gems on wave stones, you can have as many as you can fight, but beware, summoning more will make them more powerful as well, be too bold and the battle will be lost in no time...
  • Go back to any previously completed stage and fight again to get more XP, level up to get even more powerful, to be able to get even more XP...
  • After winning a battle, you can continue in Endurance mode - defend yourself and hold on as long as you can with a chance for additional XP and loot!

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista SP1
    • Processor: Intel Celeron N or better
    • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics or better
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • OS: Windows 7/8
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or better
    • Memory: 4096 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon HD / Geforce GTX grade graphics card
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (24 reviews)
Overwhelmingly Positive (1,289 reviews)
Recently Posted
86.6 hrs
Posted: August 31
I find the GemCraft series of games to be among the very best tower defense games that I have ever played. In fact, I think the very first tower defense game I ever played was the first GemCraft game when it came out on the web. Very much worth it if you are a fan of tower defense games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Fifth Dentist
4.0 hrs
Posted: August 30
God help me, Gemcraft.

I thought I had quit you all those years ago.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
23.6 hrs
Posted: August 29
This game is probably one of the best Tower defence type games on the market. There is a large variety of options and upgrades and if your into story line, it has that too as you progress.

If your into tower defence games, or even if youve never tried one before, This is one to check out.
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19.8 hrs
Posted: August 27
This Game is very challanging i love it when games dont come to easy i would say this game is perfect for a 12 year old like me
Helpful? Yes No Funny
10.2 hrs
Posted: August 26
I remember playing this back when it was still being developed on Armor Games years and years ago.

Pros -
Fun Tower Defense
Neat twist of Gem Fusion to give your towers different abilities
Lots of levels to play

Cons -
Later levels can get really tough without having enough upgrades
Essentially the same as the earlier free flash game, just more levels

Bottom Line -
I enjoyed this just as much as I did the original flash game. If you like Tower Defense games, or your name is Steven, I promise you'll enjoy this game a ton. Highly recommend.
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109.2 hrs
Posted: August 26
Gemcraft is a series that has grown with every rendition and does not disappoint here.

The combination of configurable attributes outside of each of the game's levels gives a constant feeling of progress and allows for a customized gameplay experience.

If you enjoy tower defense games. I'd argue that Gemcraft is one of, if not the best series in the genre.
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86.5 hrs
Posted: August 21
One of the best entries I've seen in the tower defense genre. Excellent game, highly recommend.
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32.9 hrs
Posted: August 21
A polished gem. I have never seen a TD game this complex.
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139.6 hrs
Posted: August 20
Each new chapter of GemCraft improves on the previous one, really enjoyable.
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10.1 hrs
Posted: August 20
Gemcraft was always the daddy of tower defense games, but this one is simply not as good as previous ones. I have persevered with this game for a long time, coming back to it several times since I purchased it, but ive come to the conclusion that its just not as good as previous episodes of Gemcraft. too much micro management
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
86.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
One of the best entries I've seen in the tower defense genre. Excellent game, highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
A polished gem. I have never seen a TD game this complex.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
23.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 29
This game is probably one of the best Tower defence type games on the market. There is a large variety of options and upgrades and if your into story line, it has that too as you progress.

If your into tower defence games, or even if youve never tried one before, This is one to check out.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
332 of 378 people (88%) found this review helpful
173 people found this review funny
222.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2015
Spent like, $150 in the '15 Fall sale. Best purchase was for $2.49: This game.

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155 of 158 people (98%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
74.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 30, 2015
Gemcraft series is the ultimate Tower Defense experience for me, and "Chasing Shadows" is the best instalment so far.

At first glance it may work and look like a standard TD game - monsters enter the map in waves, walk to our base along predefined paths and we have to defend it by building towers and traps, as well as occasionally using some spells. However, not only Gemcraft does it superbly but it also offers depth and complexity you won't find in most TD games.

The most unique and fun feature of the game, in my opinion, is the wave angering. Player can spend some mana to make monster waves stronger (by increasing monster numbers and stats), which allows you to gain more mana and experience from killing the monsters... IF you can kill them that is. This one feature changes the gameplay from simple defense to the "how far can I push it" competition.

Another feature, which adds extra replayability value, is the ability to customize levels. It's pretty fun to return to some of early levels later in the game to see how much stronger you have become by beating the level with some extra difficulty settings. You can add more waves, make monsters stronger, faster, tougher or tweak some game rules to get a harder map with higher experience multiplayer.

Ah, the experience - player character can gain levels and unlock various skills and spells which will increase his efficiency in killing monster filth. There is no level cap, however some skills (not all) have a limit to which they can be improved. Add to it a wizard's talisman which can be socketed with talisman fragments gathered along your journey and you get quite a few ways of progressing, improving and specialising your character.

However, Gemcraft originally being a flash game, has some shortcomings. To many people graphics would be the biggest one. Despite it being pretty "clean", readable and fitting the game's darker theme, it's still 2D graphics in low resolution without all those fireworks that other games have nowadays. Personally I prefer it that way, but to each his own.

I have spent dozens of hours (flash version on ArmorGames, so obviously Steam won't show this time) with this game and can safely recommend it to other Tower Defense games fans. If you are unsure then you may try the free version of the game on ArmorGames to see if you like it. In any case be advised that GemCraft is not a game you can finish in a few hours. There are dozens of levels and some of the later ones can take as much as an hour to finish.
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164 of 170 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
104.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 17, 2015
Disclaimer: I've played the free versions of this series for more than 300 hours, probably near 400. (about half of it spent with Gemcraft Labyrinth).

Gemcraft has always been my favourite tower defense game by far, the difference between this series and any other TD is just ridiculous. Main reasons why I love this series as a whole:

  • Pause button and ability to act during pause. I hate TD's where I need to act quickly. This allows me to think about what to do at any time I want to.

  • Pretty much everything has a hotkey, which makes the gameplay a bit smoother compared to clicking everything.

  • You're always doing something. It's really rare that you get through a wave without building or doing some micromanagement with your towers.

  • The math in the game. Everything is told with calculatable numbers. I hate TD's that only tell something like "A high damage, low speed missile tower" with no numbers to tell me what it really does.

  • 148 levels. This is not some basic "get high score in these 10 levels" tower defense, but it has a story/lore, hidden stuff, multiple ways of progression/upgrades, etc.

  • The insanely good difficulty scaling. It's not an automatic scaling, but I can choose how difficult I want the game to be. At easiest, it's pretty easy (and boring) to be honest. But you can adjust stuff that changes the gameplay a lot like "next wave comes faster", "you gain mana in waves instead of a constant stream", "faster scaling", "reduced effect of Slow", and of course, endurance mode in any level. You can enable multiple different things at once, and harder settings means more exp = more skills = you can go for even higher difficulty.

  • Difficulty scaling from "easier than breathing" to "failed in first wave" also means that this game has a difficulty for anyone. Want casual click-and-watch-explosions? You got it. Want to see how long you can survive against impossible odds? You got it.

  • Every fail is caused by you and you only. The problem I see with most TD's is the situation where you think "I have no idea which order I should build these towers to complete this level". But because of the difficulty scaling and the complexity of the game in general, I've never had that feeling in Gemcraft. The difficulty scaling causes me to always try harder settings before hitting a wall of "oh sh*t I went too high" like that damn Icarus. But because it was my own choice to begin with, it's just a facepalm moment and retry, instead of feeling that the game is peeing in my cereals.

  • Continuing with difficulty scaling: even in mid-fight, you can make any wave of monsters harder by spending mana on it. Killing these waves rewards you with even more mana, but doing this requires you to really know your limits: anger them too much and they'll eat you alive. Using this mechanic is pretty much required to beat the hardest levels and difficulties, and it turns the game to a constant balancing of "how much can I take?". This mechanic is unique among the TD's that I've played, and it's also one of the many reasons I love this game.
    The usual "get a bonus by sending in the next wave earlier" is there aswell.

  • The whole series is pretty much like Dark Souls of the tower defense genre. If you get into it, you'll say that it's the best one. The caveat is that it isn't the easiest game to get into, and it isn't for everyone.

The free version of this game can be found at I'm not even sure what's the difference because I bought this edition instantly after noticing it's on Steam. But I'd say go try the free one, and if you notice that you run out of content before getting bored with the game, come back here.

TL;DR: In the end it's still a tower defense game, but it's filled with loads of unique ideas/mechanics and everything is polished to the limit and above. For me it's the game that made every other TD suck just because they aren't nearly as good as Gemcraft.
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135 of 140 people (96%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
226.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 10, 2015
I am flabberghasted at how awesome this game is. Ridiculus amounts of content and depth for a "simple" tower defense game. I have absolutely nothing but warm recommendations for this game. But, in the interest of diversity, I will mention a fair few flaws or gripes.

The game runs on Flash via Air. This means there's no hope of running this natively on Linux as it stands. It also means it will lag like crazy when you get to wizard levels 1000 and above and you really start to abuse the enrage mechanic and get thousands of monsters on screen at once. For simple story mode or casual play, you'll never notice. But if you're hardcore, lag will become a factor eventually.

It also means that the entire client will bog down and not respond to inputs as the game lags, this can make controlling the game hard when there's a bajillion things going on at once. Remember to pause your game before issuing commands if you are going into those deep-enrage endurance games.

Otherwise I have nothing but positives for the game. I freaking HATE the tower defense genre. Nothing but uncreative, pretty cow-clicky games with zero depth and no strategy EVERYWHERE. Gemcraft though? Totally breaks the mold and makes even a hater love it. That's the warmest recommendations I can ever give a game.
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120 of 124 people (97%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
199.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 15, 2015
Prepare to be addicted!

A tower defense game with a dark, gritty atmosphere and tons of choices for upgrading skills, choosing which types of gems you prefer to use, as well as extra stuff like spells, shrines, etc. A map that lets you choose your path, and even replay levels to your hearts content. And best of all, tons of achievments that actually give you in-game bonus points to use in upgrading your skills. Finally, we achievment hunters can have a legitimate reason for getting achievements!

Now I must warn you that I have not completed the game yet. But 20 hours in and I haven't seen anything to change my mind that this game is highly reccommended.

Ok, so this is tower defense. You build towers (traps, too!) and hope that they kill off the incoming line of enemies. Only in this game the towers are powered by gems. Each color does something different. The green poison gem is my current favorite. The red chain hit one is good too. There's gems that steal mana from the enemy, deplete enemy armor, prevent enemies from regenerating their health, and more.

Gems are created with mana. You start with some mana but also gain mana slowly and by killing enemies. Use the mana to create more gems or upgrade your existing gems to higher levels. You can have gems from levels 1-12, but so far I have only been able to afford up to level 8. Each level costs more than the previous level to create a gem. You can also move gems around, but there is a short wait time for the gem to socket before it can start attacking. Gems can also be used to bomb enemies with wasp stings, but I haven't found that very effective.

Each time you complete a level it unlocks one or more new levels. Map sections are hexogonal and eventually it opens up two pathway options. So the game is not completely linear, which I love. You gain experience and also get shadow cores to use to upgrade your abilities.

There is so much customization in this game, so you can play it in your own style. You can redistribute your ability points any time you want, so you're not stuck with your upgrades. Or you can spend the shadow cores to increase your chance of getting better loot and rare items. The maps have quite a variety of pathways. And you can build little walls to make a maze to slow the monsters down.

Graphics are seen from a top down angle, and the most realistic looking graphics that I've seen in a tower defense game, though I haven't seen them all. Most of the games in this genre seem to be cartoon-like, but this game has lush forests, stone pathways, and dark insect-looking monsters!

Music is more of a kind of ethereal chorus or extended chords. Not a tune. But it's perfect for this game. It really adds to the monstrous ambiance.

Replay value is huge. As far as I know you can replay levels as much as you want, to grind for experience and to get the hard achievements. But like I said, I haven't finished it yet so I dont' know if there might be a reason not to take too much time.

Controls are done with the mouse and there are keyboard shortcuts.

Story-wise, there are sometimes pages that tell the story but mostly it's just killing monsters. Maybe there's more story later on, I dont' know. This game won't appeal to someone who just wants to play once through a game. It's for people who like to do the same thing over and over again. I like to challenge myself to use the least amount of mana and still make it through the level, and stuff like that. So, if that sounds like you, then buy this game without waiting! It is well worth the price. No need to wait for a sale.

The only bad thing is I'm neglecting my other games to play this one. My poor backlog!

Update: I forgot to mention that there is blood but no gore. And there's a setting where you can turn off the blood if you want.
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93 of 99 people (94%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
18.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Don't mind my hours spent on the Steam version, because I have way more than 100+ hours on the free, web browser version itself - but now! - there's an almighty question many most probably have asked.

"Why should I buy this game when I can play it for free?"

Well, not only that you're supporting the developers but also introducing a literal gem into your game library. In comparation with the web free version, you'll get more content on the Steam version. Since the very first GemCraft, I was amazed of how a tower defense game could be so wonderful. I've played a lot, then have focused on playing 'Chasing Shadows', which comes after 'Labyrinth'.

First Sight (TL;DR)

You might think that it's some simple, boring, sketchy tower defense games like those on Armor Games, Kongregate and so forth. Not so! This is a tower defense game made properly, with love and basically revolutionizes the genre itself!


You're presented with a field composed out of roads which lead the monsters to your orb. What exactly is the orb? The orb is the point you have to defend from the monsters that swarm all over, that rush towards your orb to vanquish it. If a monster touches the orb, don't fret! Yet, if you let way too many monsters at it, it will get crippled. Once your mana pool is depleted and one last monster touches the orb, it's game over. The mana acts like a shield, protecting the orb from destruction. Dropping a gem bomb (Done by pressing B (default assigned key) and dragging a gem over a spot) on the orb will decrease the banishment cost and will furthermore decrease the damage received by the monsters.
Mana is your single resource in the whole game, used in conjuring gems, towers, traps, amplifiers, combining gems as well as in gem bombs. How is mana acquired? It is acquired by slaying monsters and mining from mana shards with a tower which has a gem equipped.
Defense of the orb is done by creating gems of a respective trait (colour) and grade. The gems can be combined altogether, the traits being distributed by half if the gem has two traits (colours), you can figure the rest out. These gems can be socketed in towers traps and amplifiers or thrown as bombs. In most fields, you will encounter shrines which can be activated by dropping a gem on them. Depending on the grade of the gem dropped on it the damage will be increased, the shrine will inflict the properties on the monsters. Walls can be used to create new paths for the monsters to follow. Traps are built on the road to inflict damage especially on the swarmlings which are quite fast, while amplifiers are built next to towers to amplify damage and properties of the gem it is amplifying. The gems can also be assigned on what to target, a building or a monster. Slowly you'll gain three area-of-effect spells and three gem enchantments, with a specific cooldown. Throughout the game you'll get talisman fragments to randomly drop which you can socket into their respective slot in the panel displayed in the 'Talisman' tab.
The level of difficulty can be easily customized, by adding traits at the beginning of the level, dropping gems on the wave tablets to enrage the monsters which will yield more mana and you can also call waves in earlier which will give you mana as well.
This game also has an experience system which rewards the player with skill points at every level gained and also with every achievement, said skill points can be spent on wizard traits that enhance your playthrough. The skill points can be stashed for a starting mana pool bonus.


Not much can be said about the graphics but that everything is detailed quite nicely, the effects being absolutely wonderful and the way the vivid colours combine when mixing a gem with another of a different colour is overly pleasing.


The soundtrack gives an eerie feeling when playing, driving you to think of how deeply horrifying the story is, fitting exactly to the theme.

Pros 'n' Cons


+More than 150 fields to battle on
+Eerie, atmospheric music
+Variety of gems each with its own trait
+Different modes to play
+Personalization of the challenge
+Rewarding XP system
+Lots of achievements
+Infinite replayability


-Might witness lag on certain occasions

Should you buy it?
Totally! Highly recommended!

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96 of 107 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 30, 2015
Played the flash version +300h. This game is not what it seems. It's so much more. This is *the* definitive tower defense game.
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