GemCraft Labyrinth is a beautifully orchestrated third installment of the GemCraft series. On the start screen, the developer gives the player quite a few options. In addition to the Start Game, there is the Upgrade to Premium button. Upgrading to Premium gives access to ten more battle settings and nine more skills, as well as a boost of thirty more skill points. There is a link to obtain access to other games on host Armor Games’ website, as well as a button to play GemCraft 1 or 2. The Strategy Guide is even located on the start screen, giving players full access to the information within the world of GemCraft Labyrinth.
Once the player starts their new game, a brief story is told on how the player’s character came to be in his location. The playing field’s map is designed in a grid of thirteen by thirteen squares. To the right of the screen are buttons that enhance the player’s game experience. Average stats across the wizard’s battles are at the top. An extensive list of in-game achievements, called Battle Amulets, is next in line. Each battle amulet graces the player with a boost in abilities. Tutorial pages give the player a rough idea of how the game is played, and the Chronicle pages retell the story of the player’s character. There is link to the main menu, as well as another two buttons that give access to Premium membership and host Armor Games’ website. To the left of the gridded playing field is a progress bar that tracks the players’ experience to the next level.
Once in the playing field, some of the tutorial pages are popped up for the player’s benefit. GemCraft Labyrinth is a tower defense game. Instead of coins like most have, this game has mana. The player’s mana determines how many gems he can create in a game. Base mana value can be increased over time with skills and amulets. Once playing, mana regenerates over time. Greater mana regeneration rates can be purchased through skills or achieved through amulets as well.
The object of the game is to destroy the monsters before they reach the player’s sacred orb. On the levels, there are different tracks that the monsters appear on. Levels may have towers already placed. The player can summon their gems and equip the towers with damage-causing gems, and continue on with the level. Once the player has pressed start, the battle begins. If the player destroys all the monsters on the wave, the next wave may be called early, gaining extra mana in the process. A fast-forward button also speeds the game up for those players who are a bit impatient.
Once a level is complete, the statistics are shown for that level. Some stats that are included in the screen are total towers built, mana used, max mana reached, gems created, longest kill streak, and total monsters killed. The player gains a certain amount of experience per level, as well as is shown how great the multiplier for that level is. Experience multipliers can be obtained through battle amulets. Once the level is complete, more spaces on the map appear for the player to conquer. The player can choose whichever level he pleases to play next. The experience is also added to the experience meter. If a player levels up, they are granted skill points. When starting a new level, players are brought to the battle settings page. Different battle settings include but are not limited to more waves, double waves, greater health, and certain wave types. Making the level harder increases the players’ multiplier and potential for experience gain. After the level battle settings are chosen, the skills screen comes up. Skills are upgraded with skill points, and new skills must be unlocked with greater wizard levels.
Inside a level on GemCraft Labyrinth, there are many tools the player has at his disposal to win the match. Depending on the current mana amount, different spells become available. If the map does not have enough strategically placed towers, the player can place their own towers. A tower’s mana cost increases each time one is built. In addition to building towers, the player can build an amplifier. These towers do not fire at enemies, but instead increase the power of the adjacent towers. The general level layout of a level within this game is like a maze. There can be multiple paths to the monsters’ goals. In order to help limit enemy movements, a player also can build a wall. This helps in controlling where the monsters may or may not go.
Strategic abilities are also available. There are roughly ten different kinds of gem levels. Gems can be combined for greater power with the combination spell. There is also what is called a Gem Bomb. When a player has summoned a gem and has no tower for it, the player can choose to use the gem as a bomb instead, damaging a certain number of enemies within the bomb’s blast radius. There is what is called a Extend Mana Pool spell too. This spell increases the player’s maximum mana, therefore allowing a greater regeneration speed and access to higher powered gems.
Traps may very well be what saves the player in many battles. Traps are built onto the track and armed with a gem of the player’s choice. There are also lightning and charge spell towers, that, once a gem is sacrificed, can damage a number of enemies within the tower’s range.
Once a player completes a level, they can replay it for experience or to get other achievement awards for the level. GemCraft Labyrinth is an excellent Tower Defense game with an enticing story behind it. The developer has done a magnificent job illustrating the story behind the magician the player controls, as well as creating an entertaining game with a unique way of destroying enemies. Labyrinth does its predecessors proud, and gives the flash gaming audience high hopes for the next installment of GemCraft.