GemCraft Chapter 2: Chasing Shadows is the fourth game in Game in a Bottle's GemCraft series, and is the sequel to GemCraft Chapter 1: The Forgotten. It was released on April 4, 2014 as the 4th game in the series, and later released on Steam in April 2015 for $9.99. Development for the game started on August 1, 2011. On December 16, 2011, Game in a Bottle posted the first screenshot of the game. In the developer's blog post, many spoilers were released for the game.
9x Speed Button
The game features a new 9x speed button for players who spend hours on Endurance. Also, the menu bar can now be switched from the top to the bottom for the user's preference.
The game has the EXP bar with now in different graphics. This EXP bar in the battle was first introduced on Gemcraft iOS.
Endurance mode can now only be attempted after the player beats the allotted number of waves for the level they are playing, and is a button on the victory screen. Achievement progress is not recorded during this mode either. Endurance mode goes on until round 999, after which the player completes endurance mode for the map and receives a different coloring on the token, or they lose.
Levels can now be played on 3 difficulties: Looming, Glaring, and Haunting. Looming is the default difficulty, with harder difficulties resulting in more and tougher monsters in a longer battle, but also reward more experience for completing the battle and increase the battle trait experience multipliers. Higher difficulties are also the only way to acquire level 100 talisman fragments, as they increase the levels of dropped fragments.
The game begins with only a few skills, but more can be gained by unlocking tome chambers on certain maps from killing a specific number of monsters in certain ways. Skills that indirectly affects gem power are capped at 45. Each skill level costs more skill points to level up, and unspent skill points add mana to its starting pool, so it isn't always a good idea to spend all skill points.
Similar to GemCraft: Labyrinth's "Battle Settings", battle traits modify the mechanics of the battle at varying magnitudes based on trait level (TL). Each trait has 7 levels and adds one wave to the battle, making it longer. In the Flash version, Battle traits cost Shadow Cores, requiring the trait level in cores to use that level (e.g. 1 core for trait level 1, 3 cores to up a trait from level 2 to 3, 7 from 6 to 7, etc.). Higher difficulties also make traits cost more, with Glaring costing twice as much, and Haunting costing thrice the number of shadow cores. If a player loses a battle with battle traits, all Shadow Cores spent on battle traits are returned. In the Steam version, traits don't cost any Shadow Cores.
Fragments can be collected from rare monsters and chest drops to fill the talisman. Each fragment has a rarity that's increased with trait difficulty and level that can be increased with shadow cores, capping at 100. They also have 1+ bonuses that increase as it's upgraded. They come with a higher rarity allow for more powerful bonuses per upgrade and more per fragment. Very powerful fragments even have the ability to increase all of skill levels and grant the capability of going beyond the skill cap, making it extremely powerful.
The world map is a bit different from the previous Gemcraft games. The markers for each field, called field tokens, now resemble a grade 1 gem, just like Gemcraft Chapter 0: Gem of Eternity and GemCraft Chapter 1: The Forgotten. Some levels resemble higher grade gems, like grade 3.
Unlike other Gemcraft games, levels are now on hextiles. Each of them has several fields, including any number of special fields such as wizard towers, tome chambers, or vision fields. Vision fields are the most challenging, similar to the epic fields in previous games. At the start of the game, the player starts at Hextile F and Field F1.
World Map levels
- Main article: List of Fields
- Main article: List of Vision Fields
These are fields that lets the player peek into past or future events. The player will replay some fields from previous GemCraft games with a fixed set of skills. They're considered the most challenging levels in the game. All talisman effects and skills are deactivated for these levels, but beating these fields will give the player a one-time reward of 13 skill points and, in some cases, unlock more fields to explore.
The maps are redone in GC2:CS, and are filled with more color. Paths can now be made from dirt, sand or whatever terrain the player is currently in, as well as stones.
- Main article: Achievements
Shrines lose their buildable status and return to their "special" status from GC0. Walls shrink to down to 1×1 units while the other buildings are 2×2 units. This helps the player put their towers where they want with more precision.
Wizard towers levels resemble grade 2 (GC1, GC0) or grade 3 (GCL, GCCS) gems.
Tome chamber levels resemble grade 1 gems that is like a Tri-swirl design inside.
Stone circles called nodes appear in some levels. These store energy from monsters that are under the influence of an effect, like curse or freeze. Ruined nodes will build up a charge to 10% then damage enemies in range. Some vision maps (and the spiritforge level) requires to charge 5 nodes to 100% to beat them.
Imprisoned Gem of Eternity replicas and the Scythe Gate: Old Gems of Eternity can be found caged in some levels, where The Forgotten has been previously captured. Both of them randomly banish monsters. However, the Scythe Gate appears on Field H1.
Obelisks function like beacons randomly bestowing monsters with a random effect and are indestructible.
Corrupted Mana Shards are yellow mana shards that will weaken any gems that feed off of them, while being inexhaustible, drastically lowering the amount of mana that can be acquired from each shot, unless Mana harvesting gems are used, though those gems will still experience a decrease in damage per shot.
Sleeping Hives are insidious new enemy buildings that spawn shadow swarmlings, like they came out of a Tomb for every shot fired by a nearby gem in a tower and each gem bomb used on them. Each Swarmling from here is stronger than the last, so while it is a great method for free kills and hits, it is dangerous to hit the sleeping hive too many times; the swarmling may eventually gain giant-like stats.
|Amplifier||Amplifies the stats of the nearby towers.
Unlocks after beating Field J4.
|Tower||The main buildings used to place gems and attacks nearby monsters.|
|Trap||A place to fit a gem. It'll only attack monsters passing over it and it will have less damage, but increased specials and attack speed.|
|Wall||Blocks monster's path. Great for making mazes.|
The gems get a make-over. Chain hit (lime) and the shocking (cyan) gems are gone. However, black and white gems (Bloodbound and Poolbound) make their first appearance in this game. The following table shows the gems' base stats.
Poolbound is a new ability that increases all the components of white gems (minus black gems) whenever the mana bar reaches its maximum. The black gem's bloodbound power is similar, except it increases all the components for each hit (minus white gems).
The other new ability is healing suppression. It permanently reduce a monster's regeneration rate, as low as zero. All the other gems are the same with slight changes.
Gem types are not unlockable once a field has started. However, the player can learn different skills from skill tomes, which will permanently unlock a specific gem type.
When a gem bomb is used to summon monsters, it increases the health, armor level, and EXP gained from the monsters. Every fifth enrage on a single wave will cause a beacon to appear on the field. Summoning is renamed as Enraging.
There is a new method of rapid gem bombing. If SHIFT is held and press the bombing button, gems from the inventory will automatically be selected for bombing, as in Labyrinth. When the screen is clicked, a duplicate from the topmost gem in your inventory is used.
While a gem in the previous games could only have 3 specials at a time, GC2 will allow have as many specials as the number of components in the gem. As more components are added, each special will decrease in power. If they become too weak, then they drop-off the list of gem abilities (i.e. if poison goes below 1 HP/sec. it is removed). The following table shows how much power (%) each component has based on how many components are in the gem.
When the mana pool reaches its maximum, it will automatically increase the mana pool size along with the power of any white gems. A new info panel is given to the mana bar, giving more specific info on how much mana the player is receiving. The mana bar also replaces the gem anvil from Labyrinth. Now the player can drop a gem on the bar to destroy it and refund 70% of its mana cost.
Shrines return to their special status from GC0, but they can be used over and over as in GCL. None of the previous shrines are returning, and they are replaced with nine new shrines. Each based off one of the nine gems. Below is a table of all the shrines.
|Shrine of Infection||Cyan||Temporarily prevents healing.|
|Shrine of Blades||Yellow||Deals a percentage of health points of targets as damage.|
|Shrine of Wisdom||White||Harvests EXP from monsters|
|Shrine of Focus||Red||Gives a charge boost to spells depending on how many monsters are hit.|
|Shrine of Venom||Green||Deals poison damage over 30 seconds.|
|Shrine of Time||Blue||Temporarily halves the speed of targeted monsters. Stacks with slowing gem effect.|
|Gem Enhancement Shrine||Black||Adds maximum damage bonus to the inserted gem (inserted gem is instantly resocketed if taken out of a structure).|
|Shrine of Energy||Orange||Harvests Mana from monsters.|
|Shrine of Corrosion||Purple||Removes monster armor.|
Each shrine has a different charging speed and range. New shrines can be made on the field by a very rare spark, called Shrine Scroll. Gems sacrificed that match the shrine have their effects stack with the shrine where applicable.
Mana Shards can now have a purple shell on them that must be completely destroyed before it can be harvested.
Mana shards can be created by a spark called Unearthed Shard.
Beacons now have varied ranges, health, and armor level, giving the game more variety. They also have different charge times between the pulses. A list of beacons for GC2 is below.
|Healer Beacon||Heals all nearby monsters for 5% of their total health.|
|Shield Beacon||Gives all nearby monsters an extra layer of shielding, protecting them from another hit.|
|Static Beacon||Prevents buildings from built in an 8x8 square around it.|
|Discharging Beacon||Forces nearby gems to be resocketed in traps, towers or amplifiers; may fire rapidly enough to prevent gems from being used.|
|Cleansing Beacon||Removes negative effects from monsters in range (e.g., freeze, poison, slow, etc.).|
|Haste Beacon||Gives a permanent, stackable, speed boost to monsters until they are banished.|
|Beacon Protector||Reduces damage dealt to adjacent beacons by 75%.|
Many beacons will display their range when it's hover with the mouse.
Enemies are divided into 3 basic classes:
Runner and armored monsters are removed from the game. Instead, all classes can now have up to 3 different bonuses, marks or curses. It consist of bonuses, such as increased speed, armor, and health. It becomes stronger at later rounds. Some enemies even have special abilities such as forced resocketing within a certain range, spawning a random beacon on the map or healing their allies.
There are 10 kinds of marks for monsters
|Armor||+X extra armor|
|Banish||Burns X% of total mana
|Beacon||Summons a beacon when killed|
|Discharging||Forces gem resocketing in
3 tiles when killed
|Heal||Heals nearby monsters for
X hit points when killed
|Health||+X extra hit points|
|Regeneration||+X hp/min extra regeneration|
|Shield||X initial shield|
|Summon||Drops 3 spawnlings when killed|
There are also monsters that have random appearances called "Flying Ones". These are flying creatures, which usually drop a lot of shadow cores. There are 4 different "flying" monsters.
- Gems in amplifiers now need to go through the deployment time before their stats are transferred to nearby gems.
- Clicking on an empty tower, trap or amplifier will put in the first gem from your inventory.
- The upgrade cost of a gem is displayed in its tooltip.
- Salvaging a gem only returns 70% of its mana value instead of 85%.
- Next to the inventory there is a vertical bar with segments that light up if you have enough mana to create a gem of the corresponding grade.
- Trying to duplicate or upgrade a gem when you don't have enough mana causes a "not enough mana" notice to pop up with an accompanying sound effect.
- There are now 8 different target priorities. It is possible to choose between them using a quick selection menu rather than shift+clicking the gem until the desired option appears.
- Gem range may be adjusted using the mouse wheel to avoid accidentally killing monsters in the wrong location (e.g. when opening tome chambers).
- The "shot blinking to orb" mechanic has been introduced.
- The gem creation sound has been replaced with a high-pitched "bling" sound.
- Trait settings are saved between battles (although they are lost after exiting the game).
- Monster HP bars now consist of a colored bar in front of a black bar, as opposed to a single colored bar centered over the monster.
- Angering waves with gem bombs scales the number of monsters summoned based on the monster type (giant, swarm) instead of always summoning the same number every time.
- Structures, including beacons, monster nests, tombs, mana shards and drop holders, can now be selected and this overrides targetting priority, including where normally manually setting targetting priority to "Structures" would be required.
Game in a Bottle added a feature where the player can move the bar that displays mana and score to the bottom. This makes the wave tiles come from the top, instead of the bottom. However, this feature doesn't appear to be visible in the final version. In later levels, The Forgotten also curses the player by blackening the HUD.
As the player approaches the Spiritforge, The Forgotten will appear for a brief moment, with one of two effects, enrage the next 3 waves or shrouded the HUD in shadow for a wave, rendering the player unable to interact with the game. Monsters will still move and gems will continue to attack, although Spires will not move until the effect has passed and all wave calls are canceled. She stops interfering directly in any way after Field X5 is beaten.
Spells are different abilities which get unlocked by finding the matching skill. There are 3 strike and gem enhancing spells. Gem enhancing spells will add a temporary bonus attack to gems in towers and a permanent bonus to gems in traps. Strike spells are used to give monsters special effects to weaken them.
Enemies within the range of this spell will be frozen for a period of time. While frozen they take 150%+ armor tearing effect. When killed they explode and deal additional damage to a random nearby monster.
Enemies within the range of this spell will be cursed for a period of time. While cursed they are more vulnerable to damage, slowing, and poison effect. As of v1.1.0, beacon effects have a 75% chance of failure on cursed targets.
Enemies within the range of this spell are damaged by 20% of their current HP. Additionally, 40% of armor is shredded, 30% of healing is suppressed and all layers of shield are removed. Every fifth target is also banished.
|Bolt||Gives an extra attack in the form of at least 12 bolts, depending on how high the bolt skill is. The bolt's base damage and range is an extra +50% range and +120% damage, and the damage they do ignore armor.||Ignores enemy armor|
|Beam||Gives an extra attack in the form of a beam that constantly damages enemies within range for a set amount of time. The beam has a 10 tile range limit. Beam lasts at least 12 seconds depending on the Beam skill level, although the duration is only measured from when the beam is fired. If the beam is not firing, the duration will not be reduced.||Reduces the reload time of the trap by 30%|
|Barrage||Gives an extra attack in form of a set number of barrage shell shots with splash damage that have +20% damage and +30% range. Each shot releases at least 3 shells.||Increases special powers by 30%|
Sparks are rare events set in between the waves that trigger bonuses in the game. When activated, they provide bonuses ranging from decreasing mana costs to summoning something. The effects can be increased to an extent by using gem bombs on them.
|Prism cascade||Charges spells and shrines.|
|Stone supply||Decreases all building mana costs (max -500%).|
|Shrine||Summons a random precharged shrine with more damage potential.|
|Wisdom touch||Increases the EXP multiplier. Appears every 50 waves (max +50%).|
|Lockdown||Disables and weakens all active beacons.|
|Unearthed shard||Summons a shelled mana shard.|
Gem Wasps are insects that are inside of gems. When a gem is used as a gem bomb, the wasps come out and attack nearby monsters. They have a set amount (changing with gem grade) of time or "stings" on the field (whichever is exhausted first) and every 2nd sting stuns their target. They cannot be controlled in who they attack, but they make gem bombs have a use in tougher waves.
Main article: Orblet
Orblets come from a battle trait. They sit around the orb and can be claimed by monsters who carry them off field. While docked to the orb, they increase the rate at which the player gains mana by 3%. If the player kills that monster the orblet it was carrying, the orblet begins to move back to the orb. However, it can be picked-up again even before reaching it. Until the orblet returns, no bonus or penalty is received. If the monster carrying the orblet leaves the field, the player suffers a -10% mana regeneration penalty.
Talisman powers allows the player to increase the orblets' weight, reducing the speed of monsters which are attempting to carry them off-field, and increases the speed at which they return to the tower if a monster carrying them is killed.
Iron Wizard mode
Main article: Iron Wizard mode
In the Steam version, Iron Wizard mode is available where you need to beat fields with little room for grinding - there are no difficulty levels, battle traits and talisman fragments, and the amount of skill points you get is very limited.
It focuses on the wizard from Gemcraft Chapter 1 with The Forgotten on their way to the Spiritforge. On the way, they pass through an old trap, the Scythe Gate, which separates the wizard and the Forgotten. Finding himself at his old wizard tower, the wizard now sets off to set a trap to capture and seal the Forgotten before she reaches the Spiritforge.
Along the way, as the player encounters new structures and enemies, a journal entry will be added discussing it.
As the player continues toward the Spiritforge they will ponder the summoning of the Forgotten, questioning if the summoning "was really an accident," along with her plot and motives.
The player eventually discovers that the Gembearer (the character from Gemcraft Labyrinth) was killed, with the Gem of Eternity that he had crafted lying by his corpse. The player collects the Gem and decides to take it to the Spiritforge in his stead, while tapping into its powers to kill the monsters attacking the Spiritforge. It is then that things go wrong and the truth is revealed.
The Gem of Eternity, after absorbing the essence of the monsters begins to glow with a blinding light. At the same time, the sealed Gem of Eternity replicas also begin to glow, transferring energy to the Gem of Eternity. It then fires a powerful burst of magic at the Spiritforge shield, destroying it.
It is then revealed that all along, the gem that the player had collected from the Gembearer's corpse was a corrupted replica. In all the previous instances where the Forgotten had been sealed, she would slowly corrupt the gem, twisting the gem's power to her own needs, and binding all the fake gems to one another. This means that when the player used the fake socket, they used the corrupted power of all the gems and destroyed the shield. The Forgotten even let them live after their initial separation at the Scythe Gate.
In the end the player was the Forgotten's pawn, as she used them to break into the one place that she could not enter or corrupt. However, she probably never meant for them to live and that may have been a serious mistake. The game alludes to a sequel, where the player enters the Spiritforge after they found the real Gem of Eternity, which had been poorly hidden by the Forgotten, which is found at field Y6 after breaking the Spiritforge shield.
A list of the player's journey notes in chronological order can be found here.
An alphabetized list of all loading tips can be found here.
Shortly before Gemcraft 2 was released, the game was put on Steam Greenlight and got Greenlit in a week. The Steam version of Gemcraft was released on the April 30, 2015, followed by Kongregate and other websites and costs $9.95. The Steam version has some features that are exclusive as well as some modified features, due to the fact that the Steam version has no option for in-game purchases. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/updates/234463734