Released here" If you’re a tower defence addict with hours upon hours of spare time, you’ll love it."
OK, everyone knows Gemcraft. It’s like the definitive tower defence game, massively popular and highly rated by most who play it. If you’re into tower defence games then you should go play it now. Any game in the series, it doesn’t matter which one you try.
I’ll go into that last sentence in greater depth later on, but it’s just one of the reasons why I don’t like it.
To me, Gemcraft is like the sitcom Friends. Whenever I actually sit down and watch/play it I kinda enjoy it, but I dislike the concept as a whole and there’s just far too much of it for me to want to sit through all of it.
There are three games in the series and all of them follow the same plot: you’re a wizard who can create gems that shoot laser balls, go kill monsters.
That’s all you get – no plot development throughout the rest of the game. I have no idea what the endings are and I never will.
Onto the first game: Gemcraft (subtitled chapter one – game maker obviously knew he was going to make a series out of this when he made it).
The first thing you will see is a scrollable map, from where you select the many levels on offer. Clicking on the first stage opens up a battle map – beat the several waves of monsters that issue forth and you’ll unlock more stages.
To do this, you’ll need to create gems to place in the towers dotted around the map. Once gems are snuggled in nice and warm in their tower, they’ll start shooting at the monsters that are coming out of their house and are headed towards your house. Your house is obviously much nicer than theirs.
There are several different gem types at your disposal, all of which have special properties. These include increased damage and status effects.
You can combine gems to make them more powerful but each stage of power costs more mana. Combining gems of different colours will give both powers to your new gem, although these abilities will not be as powerful as with a “one colour” gem.
Luckily you have the ability to spend mana within battle to increase your mana limit – this also increases the speed at which you gain it. You can also create new towers to place your gems in and dig trenches to slow your foes down.
The game allows a lot of scope for strategy in your plan of attack – another thing to consider is the fact the mana you use to fight is also your HP. If a monster reaches your hut, you will lose mana – if your mana goes below zero, you lose the battle.
There are also a number of skills that you can unlock to aid you in further battles, such as reduced cost for building things, making your gems more powerful and choosing to start each battle with a selection of pre-made gems.
You unlock these skills by levelling up, which you do by getting points for beating stages. To increase your points, you can speed up the rate the waves come at you.
You can also gain points by gaining achievements.
Each level has a target score to beat, at which point you can say you have truly mastered it.
So far, so good. So what’s my problem with this game?
Basically, it proves the point that you can have too much of a good thing. THERE IS SO MUCH OF IT.
If you’ve been playing a flash game for an hour and have barely made a dent in terms of completing it, it’s probably far too big. If there’s some difference in the way each level plays then that’s fair enough – but every level is practically the same. The only difference is in the type of gems you get and the amount of enemies you face, and that’s not enough.
The game is fun at first but I don’t have the patience to get beyond the huge level of repetition, especially when the game length is enough to make most full-priced console games jealous.
Another major problem is the lack of choice when creating gems – your gem types are chosen at random. That can be irritating when you’re trying to build a powerful pure gem, especially on levels where there are several gem types available.
On to the sequel – which is actually a prequel – Gemcraft chapter zero. I don’t know why it’s a prequel. The opening plot seems like it could easily have carried on from first game. Oh well.
The first thing you’ll notice is how much smaller the game map is. It seems that an important lesson has been learned: less is more.
Then you look at the skills screen: wow, there are a lot more abilities you can learn. Hmm…
Then you look at the achievements screen and it blows your mind. 211 achievements?! For just 14 levels? I’m obviously missing something here.
Click on a level and you’ll discover the truth – each stage has nine different game modes. A quick bout of maths reveals this game has 126 levels – more than three times that of the original (discounting secret levels).
Oh crap. Game creator gameinabottle hasn’t learned any lessons at all.
Okay, okay. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. What are these new game modes?
Sudden death – okay, nice for the hardcore. Beat the monsters within a time limit – good for those who think the battles take too long. Endurance – hell, the entire game is a feat of endurance.
Wait a minute, that’s all the variety it has to offer – all of the other game modes just offer different monster types. You get the same gems and level layout, but just get different monsters? Where’s the need to change your strategy? Where’s the original content? What’s the difference?!
The difference, according to the game forums I’ve read, is a few new objects and this game is much more difficult than the first. Okay.
Obviously, it goes without saying that if you’re a fan of the first then try this. If you’re a tower defence addict with hours upon hours of spare time, you’ll love it. source