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GemCraft: Chasing Shadows (Steam Edition)

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Gem Craft: Chasing Shadows

DoraFor seven years, indie developers Game in a Bottle's GemCraft series of free tower defense games has been a wildly popular hit with browser gamers, and now GemCraft: Chasing Shadows is now on Steam. With improved visuals, a pile of extra stages, and a new Iron Wizard mode to test your mettle, it's an upgrade of the original free browser version, and a great way for fans to show their support for developers who have given so much so freely for nearly a decade. Never played Gem Craft? In it, you repel waves of enormous bugs by planting gems in towers along a path. Different towers have different abilities, like green poisoning gems, and can be made in various powerful tiers. Towers attack anything within range, but gems can also be socked into traps to damage anything that passes over them, flung as explosive bombs, or even combined with gems of different colours to create hybrids with multiple affects. Survive the stage with your base intact, and you'll gain experience towards leveling up, which unlocks points for you to spend in skill trees. You'll also earn shadow cores you can use to upgrade your talisman for new bonuses and challenges, like traits you can unlock for stages to make them more rewarding... extra speedy bugs, anyone? With complexity and strategy aplenty, GemCraft is one of the most beloved and respected tower defense games around, and offers something for every fan of the genre, from the newcomer to the veteran alike.

Thanks to everyone who entered our contest! The winners, chosen by RANDOM.ORG, are: Undine, MeowMeowMan, Portikk, Crystalis, and Jamz159! Please check your e-mails for your Steam code later today!

Gem Craft: Chasing ShadowsThe Steam Edition of Chasing Shadows doesn't deviate much from the original browser version, which was arguably the most elaborate incarnation of the series yet with its introduction of new mechanics like Wizard Towers and locked treasure chests. The series has always placed an enormous emphasis on strategy by forcing you to contend with limited resources and learning how to best utilize and combine your gems in the face of overwhelming odds. Few fields offer more than a single tower or two to get you started after the initial beginning stages, and the game pulls no punches with its swarms of foes, so you really need to think carefully about every decision. Most stages even restrict the types of gems you have to work with, so figuring out how to make them play off one another effectively is important. Grinding through completed stages for more levels isn't going to make an enormous difference in most cases, though the various upgrades like decreased building costs definitely help. Throw in a somber, atmospheric aesthetic and an integrated tutorial that gives you tips as you go without holding your hand, and you'll understand why the series has been so popular.

For your money here, in addition to supporting the developers, you're getting a bunch of extra stages, bring the total to over 190 that can be played on different difficulties with various modifiers, over four hundred achievements, trading cards, as well as the Iron Wizard mode, which gives you a mere five skill points per stage completed. It's a nice, substantial upgrade to what's already a pretty beefy game, and though you're likely to be clueless as to what's going on in the story that pops up in the pages you find between levels if you've never played the series before, it's still a great entrypoint to newcomers that showcases of some of the series' best features. Try the browser version if you're curious about the gameplay! For fans, if you've already burned through the entire original game, you might not find that there's a world of difference between the two versions in how they play. You're getting almost thirty new stages, and while the battlefield backgrounds are still pixelated to help with any lag players might experience, largely it looks fantastic in its new widescreen format on big monitors. In the end, the best endorsement I can give to fans is that, as a fan myself, I bought this for myself, even though I'd already bought the Magician's Pouch on Armor Games' browser version. GemCraft is one of tower defense's great titans for a reason, and the Steam release of Chasing Shadows offers a lot of additional polish and content from a developer that's consistently delivered it for years.

Play GemCraft: Chasing Shadows (free browser version)

Get the full version (Steam)

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GemCraft was a large part of my casual gaming for a long time. A little too large as it turns out, as I would often play at work "between tasks"... to the point where I almost made myself a lot more free time to play at home (if you know what I mean).
I still go back and play these games from time to time.

law56ker May 12, 2015 6:54 PM

Gemcraft is one of my favorite games because of the unique customization options as well as the style of the graphics.


This is probably the only tower defense game (as a series and individually) I can get lost in, and I've played quite a few TD's. There's just enough story, atmosphere, and fun game mechanics to keep things interesting well past the point I would have normally given up on. I loves you, Gemcraft!

Tihamér May 12, 2015 7:03 PM

Remember when Miniclip was a thing with their stupid flash games? I hated them because they were terrible. But then came GemCraft and that was the only flash game I liked.

There's only one reason I liked GemCraft. Because I had an addiction to gems because I played too much Bejeweled. From one addiction to another. Yeah, I even bought Gemcraft Labyrinth Premium. The only flash game I bought because I loved the series. It was a stupid thing to do, but I had to support the developers.

Too bad I can't transfer that to Steam, but I guess I can play the flash versions on ArmorGames.

Thank you for the chance and good luck everyone. This is the best tower defense game out there! Period.

DuncmanG May 12, 2015 7:08 PM

Gemcraft is the only tower defense game I truly love. It's creative, lengthy, with lots of variation and a ton of workable strategies. The leveling systems they've introduced, the different maps, gem bombs/traps, etc. all of which are built off of the very basic premise of "gems" is truly impressive.


Pretty sure I played literally the first gemcraft as soon as it came out. At that point I was still on the wagon from the first Flash Elements TD, and played when I was supposed to be coding in class. XD

cendare May 12, 2015 10:33 PM

The depth of play is the big draw for me. Often there's a bunch of different potential strategies to beat a level, and then to beat it again with different options, so I can be creative and I can find the approach that feels comfortable to me. Also the pretty pretty jewels and the great visual effects. It's good to play in short bursts too -- so if I have only a little time I can still count on making some progress.


I played Gemcraft Labyrinth for quite a while, and found it really entertaining. I'd say it's the whole experience that makes it so enjoyable: the detailed graphics, the gameplay and just the thrill of pushing the limits of "how strong can I make my gem?" The flash version of Gemcraft 2 definitely didn't disappoint, after awaiting it for a while after finishing (well, not completely) Labyrinth. The graphics, the design and even the soundtrack work together very well, so as a whole I believe Gemcraft 2 is a great game.


Based on the gameplay of previous installments, I was already addicted to the developer's blog long before the game's release, checking each week for updates on the upcoming chapter. Incredible how a straightforward formula can offer so much depth.


Gemcraft is absolutely one of my alltime favourite game series because it is so HUGE. The amount of content has increased game by game with GC2 being the absolutely largest installment. In addition, the games are so well-made and it's clear there was a lot of time and effort - and love for the work - put into the games. I agree with everyone complimenting the graphics and the soundtrack, they also suit the mood.

Darn, I could even say that Gemcraft: Chasing Shadows is probably one of the best tower defense games ever made. It has nearly endless content, amazing mood and there are really no things I can criticize the game on.


Gemcraft is one of the most complete Tower Defense I know.
The game was huge as a Flash game, I can hardly believe it was made even bigger this time !

A very solid experience for anyone wanting a good Tower Defense :)

Alec Fleschner May 13, 2015 11:52 AM

Gemcraft is the only tower defense game I play. It provides a great balance between casual gameplay and in-depth strategy, allowing me to get as invested as I want in any given level. The graphics are also evocative of the dirty fantasy-punk world they're trying to flesh out. It's also highly replayable as you try all the different gem types and limitations. Wonderful design!

Crystalis May 13, 2015 12:16 PM

Gemcraft has always been one of my favorite TD series, comparing favorably to ones from WC3. The varieties in strategies, level design, enemies, and customization keep it interesting. One of the few devs from the "golden era" of flash games still around and without having lost quality.


Gemcraft, especially the later games in the series had a really nice balance between advancement through stages, and advancement through powers/abilities/levels, so that there was a little bit of grinding, but never enough that it got too tedious.

lastofthedaves May 13, 2015 2:21 PM

Chasing Shadows is the only online game I come back to to actually finish.

Magnusiem May 13, 2015 2:25 PM

I love Gemcraft. I have spent way to much money on Chasing shodows the browser version, but it was worth it.

Armyofnone May 13, 2015 4:38 PM

Gemcraft has always been one of my favorite TD series. Love the art, love the merging of different types of gems, customizable towers, overall just feels like the series excels in it's depth of complexity without feeling overwhelming. Would be great to have it on Steam too!

RanDumSocks May 14, 2015 12:27 AM

I remembered playing this game what seems like ages ago on ArmourGames. Now it is on Steam?! Sign me up baby! This game has everything you could possibly want in a TD game. The in-depth gem crafting system is unique and fun! Who wouldn't want to have this on Steam?


GemCraft is one of the best and most innovative tower defense series out there. It has 9 gem types which can be freely combined and customized, strike and gem enhancement spells to make levels more interactive, battle traits and monster summoning to adjust difficulty for greater rewards, an enormous amount of achievements, and an interesting skill tree. Not to mention the massive amount of levels and talisman fragments to equip present in GemCraft Chasing Shadows. I recommend it to anyone.

Portikk May 14, 2015 2:42 AM

It is my favorite casual game since the beginning, because of the strategy and the graphic. I love the art how it is designed and merging gems.

seraphkin May 14, 2015 3:45 AM

I've played Gemcraft since probably the very first one, I have played a lot of tower defense games, this series was always one of my favorites. They took a simple formula and have pretty much perfected it.

Alamer99 May 14, 2015 8:17 AM

First I LOVE GemCraft I Played The Browser Version For So Much Time
Second I Never Won A Giveaway So It Will Be Amazing If I Do Here

FloydGP May 14, 2015 8:47 AM

This game flashed me in my first 20 minutes of gameplay. Seriously.
It's by far the best strategic tower defense game i've ever played in my life. Not that it works fluently and has a awesome skill- and buffsystem (talisman), but you have the freedom to create everything you want in nearly every map! You can build everywhere any type of a gemtower: you need some poison damage? CRAFT A POISON GEM! You need some extra damage with armor reducing? CRAFT A DUAL GEM! You just want to make a gem whith any special bonus you can get? MIX ALL GEMS TOGETHER!

You can summarize this game in a simple sentence: Fun to play and easy to learn, but also hard to master.

Thank you very much for reading my, in your opinion, unnecessaryly long comment, which will have some mistakes in it, because i'm from europe (i apologize) and also thanks A LOT to the game developer for making such a great and fun game.

Hopefully we'll see us on the bug-battlefield.
Sincerly FloydGP

saviourv May 14, 2015 10:18 AM

GemCraft. One of a kind, in fact. Sure, it's got Tower Defence elements, but the concept of using gems as both protection and bombs is unique. Not to mention that combining gems makes for rather interesting outcomes.

This is one of those games that forces you to adjust your strategies on-the-fly, especially when there's at least one FINAL enemy heading straight for the portal, and one more wave coming after it. So, what do you do? Sacrifice a gem to wipe the enemy out, or take the hit and prepare for the next wave?

Chasing Shadows was rather difficult for me, but then again, this whole series was. Much as I haven't finished it, I enjoyed my short spell of it, and I'd like to see what the full version has to offer.


Hello My Name Is Manuel Alejandro Rodriguez

Chasing the Shadow Game GemCraft is a defense game where Defends Gems the Orb using the Mana so that the ORB not be destroyed by The Beast that take away the guards to defend mana The Orb

The game is Tambie For Steam For the creators of GemCraft Asen Events To do people who do not have $ 10 Try to win this event to have it on Steam

Ty :D

[email protected]

dmchale92 May 14, 2015 4:10 PM

I've been playing the Gemcraft series since they first came out. I'm a huge fan of Tower Defense titles, and I think Gemcraft was one of the games that really pushed them into mainstream awareness. Having the dynamism introduced by the ability to swap gems between towers and being able to tweak the difficulty beyond abstract levels kept me coming back to this game for YEARS!

Happy to see the dev is doing well and releasing new games!

Patreon Donator deftwitch May 14, 2015 8:38 PM

I'll buy it just to support dev(s) and as a thanks for all the time I spent for free on this before. Don't have time to dive in right now but I know I'll GREATLY enjoy this experience again when I can.


I used to play gemcraft labyrinth on armorgames. I was always a fan of tower defense games like kingdom rush, balloon TD and others. but gemcraft was top of the list tied with kingdom rush of course and i own kingdom rush on steam now (was on super sale in summer sale) and if i could get gemcraft my collection could be complete.

cppro10 May 15, 2015 9:55 AM

Gemcraft was the first ever Tower Defense game I ever played, it got me into many other amazing ones like Kingdom Rush and Defender's Quest. Without that first Gemcraft game, I never would have encountered those great games. Then, Chapter 0 was released, making everything EVEN better, and added countless hours of gameplay, then Gemcraft Labyrinth came out, making a lot of what you knew just a small part of the game, adding new gem types, and many more levels. Then, Chasing Shadows came out. This game added things people wanted, it added things that made it so good, that it is in my top 5 flash games, and even top 3 in my TD games! Good job GameInABottle, and great reviews as always, JayIsGames!


GemCraft is the best Tower Defense game that I have ever played. It is not only about great strategy, customization and exploration of new features and maps. It also has an interesting story and progress, it makes my playing meaningful and it keeps me motivated to press onward and do my best. I was really excited with every new sequel of GemCraft and I couldn't wait for the release of Chasing shadows :-) There is no other game that I ever was looking forward to play so much. Last month before final release I was checking the blog every day if there is something new and I was hoping it will not be postponed for another time. And it was really worth the wait :-)


Hello, my name is Hugo, im 12 years sold and I have to say that Gemcraft is the one of my favorite Tower defense game because it has an amazing story that goes with each game.The people that created these awesome Gemcraft games , im thanking you. I hope you like my comment


OK, so my name is Jon, and I'm a gemcraftholic. It's been two days since my last game.
It all started a seven years ago when some casual game friends told me that they'd found this great game and they'd been trying it for a while and that I should give it a go. I said I wasn't sure, that I'd heard bad things about tower defense, but my friends said that it was all overreactions from people who didn't get how great they (TD games) were, and besides... GemCraft was different. Didn't I want to keep up with the group?
So eventually, one of my friends said, "How about you just play one level and see if you like it? If you don't, I'll never mention it again." I couldn't see anything wrong with just the once, so...
18 hours later, and one of my housemates found me. My eyes were still wide and unblinking, drool dripping from my slack lips as my mouse hand twitched convulsively to drop gem bombs on upcoming waves.
It was months before anyone could convince me that things were going bad... my partner and I were making out, and he was going too fast so I suggested he use a blue gem. He stormed out.
I started to clean myself up... I found a new job, started to rebuild my life, things were looking good.
Then the unthinkable happened. Gem of Eternity was released.
I think I lasted a week before I relapsed. People were just talking about the improved graphics and smoother gameplay... they said it wasn't like it used to be...
Sleep, social contact and daylight became dimly lit memories...
By the time Labyrinth was released, I'd learned to hide it. I could multi-screen my computer, pause a level and alt-tab it away if I needed a sneaky fix at work.
But a year ago it all went dark. Chasing Shadows. An expert at hiding the side-effects, I started showing it to other people... I could get them to try it so easily now. I was pushing it on a daily basis. Because with all these people succumbing to the addiction, my well-controlled gameplay wasn't that bad, was it?
My name is Jon, and I'm a gemcraftholic.


I love the series, the first installment was one of the first tower defences i played, and i fell in love with the genre for quite a while thanks to it, even tough i usually don't play that kind of game anymore, I'm always ready to play once again for hours whenever a gemcraft one comes out, to the point where i would preload the game before going to school (no internet there) so that i would be able to play it between clases.

Slimich May 18, 2015 8:34 PM

I have loved GemCraft for a very long time for many reasons. It has some of the best RPG elements of any tower defense, you always feel accomplished and well rewarded when leveling up. Its simple style along with beautiful graphics, story and attention to details make it a perfect example of gaming art! And my very favorite part of GemCraft is its way of rewarding good strategy with the power of Gods! This game has made me so happy and I would love to play the extra content on steam.

MeowMeowMan May 19, 2015 7:30 AM

Gemcraft was one of the very earliest TD that I played on a browser that introduced me to the world of TD! It was easy to get in to but hard to master. The sound effects were so satisfying -- accelerating the queue (rumble then bang!), and the gem attacks -- made it so memorable. I've been a big TD fan ever since -- Thanks!


I love this game! didnt know they released this version.

ajktulm May 19, 2015 10:12 AM

I love gemcraft because it has so many unique functions. For example the only way to get stronger is by beating your own record, rather than just grinding the same stage over and over again (well, not counting grinding the talisman and achievements). It's also one of the few games with that extra challenge, like the vision fields, and the amount of features and active spells keep it interesting enough to play for hours and hours.

Jamz159 May 19, 2015 3:31 PM

Thing about Gemcraft is that it's always gotten better and better after each instalment. Just when you think it's reached its limit, the next instalment proves you wrong.
One of the things which personally sticks out to me in the Gemcraft series compared to other TDs is the vast variety of upgrades that are available and that we're not just limited to a number of "stars" for example that are used to buy upgrades. In this particular version, the Talisman was introduced which added a whole new dimension as far as upgrades were concerned which I thought was an awesome addition.
As before, there is also great flexibility when it comes to tweaking the difficulty and the introduction of other enemies etc that appear alongside regular monsters eg. specters/shadows etc. adds a different dimension to the playing field.

For a flash game, the amount of content, variety and everything that is added is seriously incredible and to do it not just once but consistently throughout all versions of Gemcraft really makes this the best TD series I've EVER played.

Portikk May 20, 2015 3:48 PM

Thank You! :)

Jamz159 May 21, 2015 4:23 AM

Many thanks. ^_^

Crystalis May 21, 2015 10:41 AM replied to Dora

Thank You for the key and for keeping the site running so long.


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