When you've got 'em, everybody else wants 'em. Gems, that is. You, magnificent ruler of darkness that you are, have got an entire crater full of them, and the surrounding population has their eyes on them. So how are you to protect your horde from legions of scavenging peasants, heroes, and ne'er-do-wells? Luckily for you, in Cursed Treasure from IriySoft, you've got a steady supply of orcs, undead, and demons. You know, just lying around? In this defense game, you'll need to place towers full of minions to stop the invaders at all costs the old-fashioned way; mainly, with searing lava, explosive ballistas, and mind control. I mean, it's about time; this is how I've been solving my disputes for years.
The game ends if people manage to steal all of your gems, and your goal, naturally, is to prevent this from happening. You have three types of towers, each which needs to be placed on a certain type of cleared terrain. Towers automatically fire at enemies that come within range, so place them care to make the most out of roads. Slay enemies to earn cash to buy more towers, and make the use of the three spells at your disposal when your mana is up to the task. At the end of each level, you're granted experience points based on how well you did, and when you gain a level, you'll get upgrade points to sink into the skill tree.
Of course, this doesn't mean the greedy would-be thieves don't have a trick or two themselves. In addition to the clumsy peasantry you'll deal with more competent troublemakers such as ninja, who have the ability to temporarily turn invisible, and bards, who can play a song that temporarily speeds up their allies, to name just a few. Even more dangerous are Champions, superpowered (and enormous) enemies who can take a lot of damage. Get ready to hate that infernally smug laugh those rotten thieves make when they succeed in carting off one of your gems, but don't despair; even if you fail a level, you're still granted experience points, so you can just level up and try again.
Analysis: There are a lot of defense games, but there aren't a lot of them that have that undefineable quality that makes them truly addictive and enjoyable. The Gem Craft series had it, and so, it would seem, does Cursed Treasure. Unlike many other defense titles, where you put your towers really seems to matter, and planning out your strategy and seeing it come to fruition is very satisfying. While the map visuals start to feel a little stagnant after a while (gee, this sure is some nice cloned terrain here that apparently makes up the entire kingdom), on the whole Cursed Treasure is nicely presented. There's no story, but then again, the game doesn't really need one. Presumably the raiders are motivated by greed. I mean, check those gems out. Pretty sweet, right? And I'm sure you got them under totally legitimate circumstances that didn't involve razing entire kingdoms to the ground or making unholy pacts. You would never do that. Again.
There are some minor annoyances; the game starts to drag with longer and longer levels, although the action becomes so thick you'll probably be too preoccupied to notice. It also seems a little unfair that the ranks of your enemies are forever swelling with new types and abilities, but you've got everything you're ever going to have from the get-go. Sure you can upgrade your spells and dens to do more damage, or have different effects, but after a while it all starts to look the same. On the other hand, the limited variety of dens on hand means that each type feels fully developed and can leave you equipped for any situation if you plan ahead. Your opponents never feel stronger than you are; just more varied. Learn to use your trio of towers to their fullest, and you'll never be unprepared.
I wasn't expecting much from Cursed Treasure other than a decent defense title. What I got was a surprisingly addictive time vortex that sucked in my brain and spat it out hours later, leaving me vaguely disoriented and demanding to be called "The Gem Mistress". Unfortunately, at only fifteen stages, Cursed Treasure feels pretty short, and it's over all too soon; once you've sunk enough upgrade points into certain spells and abilities, you're more than ready to mow down all comers. While it lasts, Cursed Treasure is fun, fast, and challenging. Even if it won't keep you busy for days on end, you'll definitely enjoy the ride.