Be aware of the one hour time limit for Space Race!
For "perfect game" badges, you can't hit any bombs so click New Game if you have an explosion (unless you want to finish the game towards spin and/or rank progress.) Dwarf Star or Asteroid Alexia on Easy will make these challenges go faster.
Interplanetary and Blast Shield require game wins. More squares open automatically when playing Easy difficulty, so playing on Medium or Hard will give you more left-click opportunities for the these badges.
For badges requiring gas jets, be aware that not every board contains a gas jet/SPIN letter, but some boards contain more than one. Larger planets are more likely to have two or more.
For game win or jackpot spin badges, refer to Game tips.
ALWAYS read a game's How to Play, and also check for a Hints or Tips tab and/or Tutorial. They do help!
This game is relatively easy but tricky to catch on to at first and difficult to explain. First-time players should do the in-game tutorial found when first entering a room to learn the basics.
In short: left-clicking a space containing a crystal turns it into a bomb and uses up one shield (found below the alien on the left). You lose the game if you use up all your shields. Right-clicking a space containing a crystal will reveal it if the numbers around it indicate it's definitely there. If not, a ? marker will appear until it is certain.
Left-clicking a safe space opens that space and often others around it. The first click in every game is always safe so begin by clicking somewhere in the middle to optimize the number of squares that will automatically open in all directions.
Easy difficulty level will reveal the most free spaces and Hard reveals the least; Easy has fewer crystals to find and Hard has the most.
Numbers in squares indicate how many crystals are adjacent to that square, in all eight directions. Squares with a 1 are the easiest to work from, particularly diagonally, so identify and right-click all definite crystals first, then left-click all definite safe spaces.
Each click will reveal more information, so carry on like this and process of elimination will help with the rest of the board. Sometimes you'll need to make a guess.
Left-clicking a number will reveal the squares adjacent to it that may contain a crystal.
Left- and right-clicking a number simultaneously will clear all safe spaces around that number if all crystals the number refers to have been revealed.
The number at the top between the ? and the timer shows how many crystals remain to be found. If squares you've marked ? plus revealed crystals total more than the number of remaining crystals, the crystal-count at the top will be a negative number. Right-click a ? again to change it back to blank.
Other built-in helps will light up when you have enough "power" to use them. Scan will reveal any 3x3 block of spaces, and Hint will reveal a single square and whether it should be cleared (left-click) or marked (right-click). Save these until you need them, as they'll drain the Power Meter (the horizontal bar above the Hint/Scan buttons) and you'll need to correctly identify a number of crystals before you can use them again. Hint is not available on Hard difficulty.
S-P-I letters are not saved when you leave the game so wait until you get a jackpot spin to quit or you'll forfeit the letters you've earned. If you play on Medium or Hard and have S, P and I letters, switch to Easy to get your N and your spin faster.
New ranks unlock new gameboards (planets) to choose from. Smaller planets are generally easier to complete, such Asteroid Alexia found at Rank 3. To change planets, click Choose Planet after hitting New Game or completing a board.
You get bonus tokens for having a perfect game with no explosions, and for completing a puzzle quickly.
More about Stellar Sweeper
Mac users with one mouse button should use click in place of left-click, and control-click in place of right-click.
Don't get stressed by the timer in this game. There's no time limit to complete a round, but you get more tokens for finishing sooner. Apparently there is a glitch where if you start a game and click Pause before clicking anything else, you can then play with no time added but I can't make this one work. Note if it works for you, there's no guarantee this glitch will continue to do so.
When this game first came out, a player's mini would appear at the top of the screen when they had a perfect game (no explosions). Apparently that drained Pogo and/or players' computer resources so now just the nick of a perfect game player appears.
The alien's name is Meep and he is supposedly mining energy crystals around the universe.
This game has been included free with Windows systems since version 3.1 under the name Minesweeper (without the click-on-numbers info, graphics, planet/layout selections, or hints). The Windows version does allow you to select the game grid size and number of bombs it contains.
Bonus cheat for Windows Minesweeper: open the game and type xyzzy then press the right-shift key. Now the upper left pixel of your desktop will turn white when your mouse is over a safe square, and back to your wallpaper when you're over a bomb. (Obviously this won't work well if your wallpaper or desktop background is white or very light in the upper left corner.)