The controls of GemCraft are very much like most tower defense and strategy games out there. Not that intense and only needs your mouse to do most of the work - buy upgrades, build towers, install gems, interact, and everything else in between. Nothing really worth expounding on as far as controls go. BUT the game play is more than enough to make the game addictive and very absorbing!
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Playing as a wizard tasked with defending the whole earth from a horde of invading and evil monsters, GemCraft's story is NOT really interesting or different from other tower defense and strategy games. BUT come one, let's face it. We don't play tower defense and strategy games for their brilliant story telling, do we? Now let's get to the REAL meat of this game - the game play!
What's nice about GemCraft is that it mixes the classic TD game play with a couple of improvements and tricks. First things first, your defense is composed of gems that are magically created and situated on top of towers near the path that the monsters walk on. Different colors of gems offer different special attacks - some deal splash damage, others deal poison, some reduce enemy armor, and those are just to name a few.
What's REALLY nice is that you can combine gems to produce higher grade gems that will deal more damage and integrate the attack and damage types of their 3 components though at a reduced potency (more on this later). Also, you can install new towers next to the path as well as on trenches that are directly on it, which slows down the invasion of the monsters. Keep in mind, though, that all of these actions require mana. This is your primary resource in the game. It regenerates slowly and you earn more mana by killing MORE monsters.
A CRUCIAL Tip: Mana is everything in this game, almost. With that in mind, you definitely want to invest in a larger mana pool. True, this costs a large amount of mana to buy. HOWEVER, this is worth every penny (or mana point rather) as it beefs up the amount of points and mana you get from killing monsters.
Mixing And Combining Games: You can make gems of any grade. HOWEVER, creating higher grade gems require MORE mana. Now, the gem you will get will be of random color. So here's the trick: pump out low grade gems and combine the colors that you want. Mixing up specific gem colors will get you useful effect. HOWEVER, pure color gems have stronger special attacks as well as bonus damage when stacked up. In this respect, they are much better than multi colored gems.
So here's the question: would you have 2 towers with different pure gems on them or would you save space by combining them on top of a single tower? That depends on the situation and your strategy. And this brings me to another nice aspect of GemCraft, there are many ways to win the game. Not only you can try out different strategies and styles that are suitable for you...this also gives the game a lot of replay value!