Create gems by clicking 'create gem' button with the left mouse button. Move gem to an available slot with the mouse and place it in that slot by clicking a second time with the left mouse button. Place gems in towers by clicking the gem with the left mouse button, dragging the gem to a tower on the game map with your mouse and releasing the left mouse button. Combine gems you've created by clicking 'combine gems' button with the left mouse button, clicking one of the gems in your inventory with the left mouse button, dragging the gem onto another gem with the mouse and releasing the left mouse button. Move the map by moving your mouse to the edge of the screen.
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Gemcraft is an excellent tower defense game that begins by pitting you against a wizard who has summoned hordes of monsters and other dark forces for a reason that is not yet clear. He has ordered his army of monsters to descend on the land and viciously slaughter all of its inhabitants; leaving nothing but death and destruction raining down on the once prosperous towns. Corruption rules now and only you - a wizard in your own right - can bring an end to the madness. You must act before it's too late and there is no one and nothing left to save. No pressure, right? With a nice back story to draw you in an plenty of action to keep you playing, Gemcraft is one of the most addictive and entertaining tower defense games online. Be prepared to spend a little time playing this one. Once you start, you're not going to want to stop. At its core, this game is built on the same premise most of the other tower defense games online are built on. You need to use towers to take out your enemies with the main goal of the game being to stop the bad guys from getting through the map. If you let too many monsters pass, your game will be over. While similar in premise and goal, it's the extras that make this game so appealing. It will take a little getting used to, but this game may well become one of your favorites.
When you begin playing Gemcraft, you are shown a map with towns that you can and cannot visit marked with different icons. Towns you are able to visit are marked with castle icons with dark stone borders. Towns you aren't able to visit are marks with lighter stone borders with nothing in the center. At the very top of the screen you'll see six gray rectangles. When you hover over a rectangle a button will appear. The button will be different depending on what rectangle you hover over. You'll use these buttons throughout the game to access all of the important information you need between battles. Click the button on the far left to view your game stats. Your game stats will show you information about your gems, how many monsters you've killed, your battles, towers you've built, your current level, how many points you need to get to reach your next level and your score. All in all, this is pretty useful information to judge how well you're going in the game up to that point. To the right of the 'stats' button, you have the 'amulets' button. Amulets are similar to the achievements you can get in other tower defense games. You earn amulets for completing certain objectives. To the right of 'amulets' you have skills. You'll use skills to improve your performance in the game. You can purchase skills with the skill points you earn when you level up. Each time you level up, you'll earn four skill points. Choose wisely because you aren't going to want to waste your skill points. Hover your mouse over your options to get more information or to see how much a specific skill will cost. To the right of 'skills' you have 'save game'. This is where you'll save your progress. To the right of 'save game' you have 'main menu' and then 'more games'. Clicking 'main menu' will take you back to the game's main menu which clicking' more games' will open the Armor Games website in a new screen so you can see what other gaming options you have. At the very bottom left of the screen, you have the stats quick view icon. Hover over this to get a quick view of your current stats.
When you hover over a town you can enter in Gemcraft, you will see all of the information you need about that town; how many waves of enemies you will have to face and the gems you have available to use. When you first begin playing, there will only be one town available, but later in the game when more towns are unlocked, you need to use this information to determine your best strategy for attack. Like most of the tower defense games online, this one relies heavily on a good battle strategy. Don't attack a town you are obviously not strong enough to defeat. Wait until you have more skills and have leveled up. If you have to go back and take on older town first, than do it. You'll build more experience and earn more skill points to by new skills. With all of that under your belt, you'll be far better prepared to take on the stronger towns. This really isn't a complicated game at its core - no more difficult than most of the other tower defense games you'll find online. It just takes a little getting used to because there are a lot of extras in this game that you won't get with other tower defense games. Those extras are really what sets this game apart from the pack. Newcomers to the genre are going to have a hard time picking this one up as little experience will mean you have to even learn the basics. More experienced tower defense game players, on the other hand, are going to be able to pick it up much more quickly. It's a matter of patience in the beginning, but it gets much, much easier to understand as you play.
Creating gems is the backbone of Gemcraft. You need to create and place gems in the towers if you want to take out your enemies. To start, you click on the 'create gem' spell button (at the top of the black panel on the right side of the game screen) and then click on an available inventory slot (the black boxes in the black panel). In the beginning, you're going to want to put the gems you create in a lower slot. Gems are cheaper in the lower slots but they also offer a lower grade. Later in the game that will be something you want to avoid, but when you're starting out, you want to reserve a bit of your mana (the 'currency' you purchase your gems with - how much you have is shown at the top right of the game map on a blue bar) for later when enemies are a bit tougher to take out. Once your gem has been created you need to place it in a tower. Choose the towers wisely. You need to make sure you cover the beginning, middle and end of your map so you're not racing to create gems. If you aren't ready, you'll almost certainly let monsters pass. In addition to being able to create gems, you're also able to combine gems to make one, more powerful gem if you have enough mana to use the 'combine gems' spell. It is pricy, but it's well worth it if you make a good combination. In the first level or two, your basic gems will be enough to take out all of the enemies that attack you. Later in the game, though, you'll need to combine gems if you want to be victorious in battle and unlock new towns.
Gemcraft also allows you to use gem bombs (inflict damage on larger number of enemies at one time), create a mana pool (raise the limit of mana to 120% of the current limit and increase the amount of mana earned for each enemy killed), build towers and build water trenches (slows your enemies down). Remember though, the mana cost will increase with each tower and trench you build. Use these options sparingly and only when you feel it's absolutely necessary or you will find yourself low on mana when you really need it. All of these options are available at the top of the black panel on the right side of the screen. If you have enough mana for the option, the button will be shown in color. If you don't, the button will be blacked out. You can also speed up the game play which definitely comes in handy if you feel you're ready for the next wave and don't want to wait. There are two ways to do this. You can click the double arrow icon at the very top of the left side of the game screen or you can just click on the next wave shown on the left side of the screen. Clicking directly on the next wave will send the wave instantly and reward you with more points. Just make sure you're ready and have everything in place before you send the wave or you'll find yourself in over your head; especially in later levels. This is a great way to boost your score though so considering doing it as often as possible early in the game when the enemies are easier to kill.
Overall, Gemcraft is a tower defense game that relies heavily on challenging you to create a good battle plan if you want to make it through the game. It isn't an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a lot of fun. You're going to need to look at your options carefully before you even begin to make moves. One high grade gem in the first tower will cost you most of the mana you start a level with, but it should also take out the bulk - if not all - of the enemies quickly and earn you more mana to equip the other towers. You won't need to build any new towers in most of the first few levels, so try to avoid wasting mana on them. Although it will be tempting, the mana you use building your tower would be much better spent creating or combining gems. If you want extra points, go for the 'glowing frame' score. This goal is shown on the information box that pops up when you hover your mouse over the level. It isn't easy to get and might be a little too hard for newcomers to achieve, but it offers an additional level of challenge for more experienced tower defense game players that find this one a bit too easy. If you consider yourself a fan of tower defense games, this is one you absolutely need to play.
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