Every couple of weeks we deliver a list of our favorite (mostly) new Xbox Live Indie games to officials involved with the Xbox 360. We pick our favorite indie games; they list them in a corner of the Xbox Live Games Marketplace called Kotaku's Favorites (it's in the Indie channel).
They don't give us any room to explain our picks, so we're doing that here. Use this to aid your Xbox Live Indie game browsing. Most of these games cost just 80 Microsoft points. That's $1.
The Red Ring of Death (80 MS Points): Pilot your tank-like "Binary Utility Device" on a tour of the motherboard and prevent the most ghastly of meltdowns—the Red Ring of Death—in this side-scrolling platformer full of subtle hints about the Xbox 360's notorious hardware failure. [More impressions here.] -Owen Good
Dwarven Depths (80 MS Points): Dwarven Depths is four-player, split-screen competitive mining madness, with matches that play out like four angry, drunken Dig Dug players brawling in a dirty alley. -Mike Fahey
Decay (Part IV) (240 MS Points): Decay (Part IV) is a 1st-person point-and-click adventure game, and delivers just about what you'd expect: static, atmosphere-heavy environments, an inventory system based upon combining objects, text descriptions and nebulous player objectives. Is it outstanding? No. But it stands apart on the indie marketplace as one of the few examples of the genre, and is certainly worth the price of admission ($3). The art is grisly and well-executed (though a bit tasteless from time to time), and thanks to multiple endings, players are encouraged to revisit the game, effectively extending its value. -Drew Cohen
Avatar Rail Panic (80 MS Points): Set atop a wild-west style train, race your Avatar along the top of the car, dodging barrels and obstacles and busting through crates on a madcap dash to the high score. -Owen Good
greenTech+ (80 MS Points): This is a competent arcade-style game in which you'll indirectly manipulate pockets of pollutants using—of all things—a hurricane. The ecology-consciousness is a little tiresome—not to mention incoherent—but the underlying mechanic, by which the player must influence the direction of the pollutants without directly making contact with them, is intriguing. The oversize pixels and super-green palette are hard on the eyes, but the various on-screen icons are cleverly-designed. -Drew Cohen
Niji (80 MS Points): This is a platformer in which you'll guide a fish upwards through flumes of water, attempting to strike a balance between advancing quickly (and not losing your momentum) and conserving energy. The art style is obviously indebted to Okami—there are Asian scrolls, animated line-drawings and watercolor splashes—and generally speaking, it succeeds at capturing a similar tone. Moreover, Niji communicates its rules and instructions succinctly and comprehensibly—something relatively few of its indie competitors bother to do. -Drew Cohen
Endless Midnight: Zombie Swarm (80 MS Points): There are a lot of zombie shoot-em'-ups on the Marketplace, and most of them are pretty lame. Endless Midnight won't be carrying home any awards for originality, but it succeeds at what it does: situating the player in a dark, confined space and pitting them against an expanding horde of zombies. The control scheme—by which the player must hold down the right analog stick while firing with the right trigger—takes some getting used to, and can be frustrating. But it's the small touches that set this game apart from its competition. I appreciated the fact that my Avatar accumulated blood stains as each round wore on, and there is a cool, tactile quality to the way the zombies swarm in formation around you. -Drew Cohen