Every two weeks, we weigh in on our favorite selectons on Xbox Live's indie channel, and this week we found some truly impressive games. These are not Microsoft-approved games—they're created by everyone from the average Joe to upstart game companies, and reviewed by users like you.
We list the stand-outs here and in the Kotaku's Favorites channel in Xbox Live's Games Marketplace. New recommendations post every two weeks. Enjoy!
Tic: Part 1 (240 MS Points): This game is jaw-droppingly pretty, and doubly so considering it's on the Xbox Indie Channel. Tic is about a little robbot with a drill on his hand, chopper blades on his head, and a unicycle for transportation. The best thing about this game is that it has the content to back up the quality of the graphics and music. It's a 2D platformer with more than one dimension—not only do you drill into the ground but you use Energy Acorns to fly among the stars, giving each level three levels within itself. As the game progresses, so does the difficulty of obstacles that Tic faces. In addition to the main storyline, there is a subplot thick with secrets that are guarded carefully by molepeople. The Tic series is set to have four parts, and the official website for the game promises "more story, items, and abilities". -Jen Schiller
Fluffy: Operation Overkill(240 MS Points): For the second indie game round-up in a row we're raving about games with squirrels. Whatever the formula is here, it works. In Fluffy, you are a squirrel in a hazmat suit, as all the other forest animals have become rabid and are out to kill you. Armed with a machine gun and your powerful kicks, you fight your way through level after level of a forest massacre. -Jen Schiller
Block the Lasers(80 MS Points): This puzzle game was clearly inspired by Portal 2, but that's okay because it's addictingly fun to play. You are a round, floaty robot who is pushing buttons, spinning turnstiles, and fending off lasers in order to make your way through each level. You start off simple—push a button, laser goes away, but work your way up as the puzzles become more and more complicated. -Jen Schiller
House of 1000 Demons (80 MS Points): Believe it or not, this text-based horror adventure is hilarious. House of 1000 Demons pokes fun at horror and suspense while still functioning firmly within the genre. For instance, you venture into your bathroom and find a bleeding first-aid kit, and one option at that point is to "reflect on the irony" of the situation. The demo version doesn't give you much play time, but the brief glimpse at the game's sense of humor is enough to entice me to buy the full version. -Jen Schiller
Lair of the Evildoer (80 MS Points): You are Gertrude, a monster created by Dr.Odious, who has no time to wait for you to become self-aware. Dr. Odious begins training you for minionship, but becomes annoyed and decides to destroy you instead! Try to escape his wrath while fighting off the zombies he sets to chase after you! With a fantastic variety of weapons and plenty of levels to battle through, this game should keep you busy for a while. -Jen Schiller
Angry Hand of God (80 MS Points): A whole new meaning to point and click—The Angry Hand of God puts you in the toga of an angry and vengeful Zeus. Each level grants you a limited amount of lightning power, which you charge up and shoot at the tiny mortals, cars and buildings below. You can use water sources to amplify the damage you cause, but watch out for electrical towers and other conductors which will re-route your lightning. -Jen Schiller