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 (18 reviews) - 88% of the 18 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overwhelmingly Positive (1,237 reviews) - 95% of the 1,237 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 30, 2015

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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 (18 reviews)
Overwhelmingly Positive (1,237 reviews)
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871 reviews match the filters above ( Overwhelmingly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
195.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 13
This game is pretty much the king of tower defense games.
You won't find any game as good as Gemcraft in this genre. I guarantee it!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
Don't buy this if you have a life.

As for now, I don't have a life anymore..
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
257.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 18
I had to uninstall this game to stop playing it.

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1 of 10 people (10%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 13
flash version is better
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
158 of 161 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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165 of 171 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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265 of 306 people (87%) found this review helpful
178 people found this review funny
222.3 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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132 of 137 people (96%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
282.9 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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118 of 122 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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92 of 97 people (95%) 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!

For more recommendations and reviews on our favourite up and coming quality games follow Lot's O Giveaway's group curations here!
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Recently Posted
2.9 hrs
Posted: October 24
Easily one of the best TD games ever made, borrowing (read: copying) elements from many that came before, and making them work together extremely well.

Auto-purchase this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Audio Vampire
0.4 hrs
Posted: October 23
This game is an amazing tower defence game, I used to play this game as a flash game while in school so it brings back memories. The only downside to it is that 10 dollars may be a little to much, that is why i bought it when it was on sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
14.4 hrs
Posted: October 22
The best tower defense game I've come across so far.

What i liked best:
- Pre-set gem types makes each individual map a different challenge. You have to use what you're given and think strategically
- Many different ways of adjusting the difficulty, even during a level
- Sexy gems making delicious sounds

- I fear for my life
Helpful? Yes No Funny
148.4 hrs
Posted: October 21
School. work. friends. life.
School. work. friends. life.
School. work. friends. Gemcraft day 1: wizard lvl 10 got hooked
School. work. friends. Gemcraft...
School. work. friends. Gemcraft day 30: wizard lvl > 5000
(999 haunting enraged monsters each wave hundreads of waves exponential growth with exponential numbers the powers of ten are infinite game is destroying my GPU/CPU)
School, work, friends. life.
School, work, friends. life.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
39.8 hrs
Posted: October 21
Amazing tower defense game with astounding - at some times, intimidating - depth and customization.

Every facet of the player's build can be customized, with skill points obtained as the character levels up and glyphs that fit in the talisman providing passive bonuses in battle. Wizard scrolls add set difficulty penalties to levels, but allow for much greater experience gain. In battle, tower and trap locations, gem strength, abilities, & range, and even the number and strength of enemy waves can be controlled and micromanaged as much or as little as desired.

Many levels have optional challenges or strategies that can be employed, and the later levels open up greatly, allowing the player to contruct intricate mazes for the monsters to traverse.

There are definitely optimal set-ups, and the game loses a bit of charm once these optimal set-ups are discovered and utilized, but it is still very compelling and fun.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
196.4 hrs
Posted: October 18
GemCraft is what every tower defense game should aim to be.

- Depth
- Skill System
- Map Diversity
- 20+ Hour Campaign
- Replay Value
- Community Guides

- Gem Combining
- Repetitive

The depth of GemCraft lies within its strong crafting system. By the end of the game you are given nine seperate gem colors that all affect the battlefield in a diffferent way. Along with this you are given traps, towers and amplifiers which all use the gems differently on the battlefield. Combining the nine gem colors in different ways alters the way that the tower, trap or amplifier fight for you on the battlefield.

The skill system is a great way to boost your profermance on a level to level base. The great twist is that you have to complete levels throughout the game to unlock these skills and then decide how you want to spend your points. They can affect anything. From directly boosting all gem damage to allowing your amplifiers to increase attack, you get to decide what the best lay out is for your play style.

After the first few tilesets, the maps really branch out in interesting and unique ways.

The campaign for this game lasts for quite some time. You are offered several paths to go as you progress through the game, each allowing you to unlock more game features. Even after you beat the game, there are three difficulties tied to each map. On top of that you have the option of setting traits before each map starts to make the battle harder for you, but as a reward offering you more experience. Additionaly once you beat the game, you can unlock iron wizard mode which is a fun challenge.

One of the best features of this game is the community. There are several great guides out, and after you have progressed through the game on your own I encourage to look at the great work in the community tab to help you further your progress within the game.

There are unfortunately a few negative things within GemCraft. One of the biggest problems is not being able to save or macro gem combinations. There are a couple external programs, that the truely devout use, but it would have been great for them to include a save mechanic in game for commonly crafted gems so you didn't always have to combine them by hand or use and external service. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, this is in no way game breaking and does not affect someone who is just playing through the game the first time. This is a grievance for end game play.

Lastly, one of the biggest let downs with GemCraft becomes the repetitveness of the actual game. Once you understand the key fundamentals at all difficulties it is more or less a rinse and repeat.

Overall, GemCraft is in my opinion the pinnacle of what a tower defense game should be. This game should be an instant buy when on sale. And at full price is a great game for people who enjoy the tower defense genre.
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