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Kongregate Space Games
Kongregate, for those of you who don't know, is one of the many hubs for flash games scattered around the Internet. What makes Kongregate special, above and beyond those other sites, is it's API. Developers who add the Kongregate API to their games, allow various forms of stat tracking within their games. Stat tracking allows for site-wide leaderboards and, most importantly, achievements.
Achievements on Kongregate are called badges and are worth a certain number of points depending on their difficulty. Difficulty spans from Easy, to medium, hard, and all the way to Impossible. On top of badges, there are also quests, which are strings of badges to challenge yourself to get, all revolving around a certain theme. Beyond that, Kongregate holds weekly challenges, with the prize usually being a card for their online card game, Kongai.
The following list is a top five list, the best Kongregate games that fit certain criteria. The first is the theme; all of these games are space games, whether it's a high-speed shooter or a slow-paced resource management game. The second, is that all of these games have badges. That means you can join today and play them right away for points and levels!
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This is a short list of a few games that are space themed, and have badges, but aren't quite good enough to make the main list. Still, they deserve mention for one reason or another.
Asteroids III: Crash To Survive takes the familiar story of Asteroids and reverses it; now you're the asteroid and must fight off waves of humans before your entire belt is destroyed. It has 60 points in badges.
Momentum Missile Mayhem 2 has you defending your base from waves of tanks, using only a physics-based energy cannon. Bounce the balls around to destroy waves of enemies! The first one is good too. A little processor heavy though. 50 points can be earned here.
Orbital Decay has you piloting a turret ship through waves of mysterious aliens, trying to unravel the mystery of where you are and what's happening. It offers a decent challenge with it's hard badge. You acn earn up to 65 points here.
The Space Game: Missions. How can I pass up mentioning this? Resource management, wave defense, upgrades; it has it all. Earn up to 110 points!
Starcom is a slower paced game, more similar to the Space Game than to space shooters. Maneuver in space to kill your opposition and collect treasures to upgrade your ship. Earn up to 50 points in Kong Badges!
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Number 5: Pixelvader
Pixelvader is a game very similar to games such as Frantic, and it's somewhat slower paced. The graphics aren't as intense, the acti on isn't as intense, so why is it rated higher? Pixelvader is unique in that it has a two-player mode, with it's own in-game achievements. The upgrade trees are interesting as well; not many space shooters like this allow you to shoot behind your ship, let alone the back diagonals. Spend enough on upgrades and you're a 360 degree death machine.
Sure, sharing a keyboard with a friend may not be your idea of a high time, but you could always control both ships at the same time, for added challenge. Try to earn all 50 points with both ships, if one ship isn't hard enough.
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Number 4: Aliens Must Die
Number four is a game quite like asteroids in play style. In Aliens Must Die: The Jupiter Wars, you're a ship with pretty much the same controls; turn and boost and shoot, to take down swarms of asteroids, aliens, and more powerful ships as you progress through the game. Unlike asteroids, enemies do not loop around the screen and attack from another side.
Progress through the waves shooting down aliens to collect debris. Once you've collected enough debris, your ship ejects power pods to collect. Collecting enough pods will upgrade your ship, allowing you to kill larger waves faster. Defeat every wave as it comes and face down the mothership, and earn 50 points in badges on the way.
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Number 3: Ether War
Ether War is much like Aliens Must Die, in that you control a ship that maneuvers with he WASD keys and shoots with the mouse, taking down swarms of enemies. In this case, the enemies are brightly colored circles. The difference is, Ether War gives you a space station to protect. Defeat enemies and collect their ether drops to power your upgraded weapons, purchase ally ships, and increase your station's defenses. Beware for computers that have a hard time with particle effects, however; the screen will fill with colored dots spraying every direction.
Ether War is the sequel to Ether Cannon, which offers a faster-paced play style and no station to protect, and is somewhat easier on the graphics. Ether Cannon offers 45 points in badges, while Ether War has a measly 20.
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Number 2: Enigmata 2
Enigmata 2 is the sequel to Enigmata, obviously, and improves on it in every respect. Both games offer jagged and wonderful ship designs, plenty of powerups, tons of enemies to fight in it's top down scroll, and badges galore.
Enigmata only allows the classic top-down shooter feel; shooting straight up, moving left, right, up, and down, and avoiding collisions if you want to live. It has 80 points in badges and a wonderful aesthetic.
Enigmata 2 takes on everything the first game had to offer and improves on it. A wider screen and slightly smaller ships allow much greater range of movement, and a new control scheme allows you to play the old way, or instead move with the WASD keys and aim with the mouse, giving you a 360 degree range of fire. More powerups, more abilities, and more enemies up the ante. The only thing that stays the same is the badges; still 80 points worth of them.
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Number 1: Starfighter: Disputed Galaxy
Unfortunately, the aspect that put Starfighter: Disputed Galaxy ahead of the rest has been removed. Still, it remains in the top slot as a hope for the sequel. Why? Starfighter was a MMO space warfare game, free and flash-based. While flash MMOs are becoming more and more popular these days, this was one of the first, and remains one of the only to use a ship-scale perspective.
Regardless, as the onslaught of hackers forced the creator to remove multiplayer support, the game still exists in full. You still fly from space sector to sector, completing missions you pick up from bases. Play as either the humans or the aliens, and battle others to obtain resources, complete missions, and use your money for upgrades. You can upgrade everything; your weapons, your weapon selection, your engines and their speed, your ability to travel between sectors, even the ship you fly. Work from a lowly shuttle up to the powerful dreadnoughts.
With no more MMO support, it won't be hard to work up the requirements for the few badges; Kongregate only offers 50 points worth of them. Still, it's always fun to continue playing.