Every two weeks, we weigh in on our favorite selections on Xbox Live's indie channel. 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!
Rainbow Runner (80 MS Points): Rainbow Runner is a little bit of everything. Combining a shooter with platforming, rhythm and puzzle mechanics, this fast-paced rainbow-disco proves that a genre ain't nothing but a name. Don't write this game off until you experience one of the boss battles. -Sam Winstrom
B.U.T.T.O.N. (240 MS Points): B.U.T.T.O.N. is one of the best indie party games money can buy. B.U.T.T.O.N. can be played by four people on one controller and is simple enough for anyone to understand. It's a very physical game. You can push your opponents to the ground, grab and hold them back, press their buttons, punch them in the face, it's all fair game as long as you get to press the button first. The possibilities are only limited by what your friends will tolerate, but who needs friends anyway? Certainly not an undefeated B.U.T.T.O.N. champion. -Sam Winstrom
Monsters Shoot'n Monsters (80 MS Points): A neon-colored shooter reminiscent of Geometry Wars. Though not as fast paced or flashy as its mainstream counter part, Monsters Shoot'n Monsters adds a grappling beam mechanic that proves to be a huge game changer. -Sam Winstrom
Platformance: Temple Death (80 MS Points): This is a single-level platforming game set on one giant bigger-than-your-TV playing field. Much like it's predecessor Platformance: Castle Pain, Platformance: Temple Death is so unforgiving that it would be practically unplayable if it weren't for the constant check points. Luckily, the controls are tight and the game itself so much fun that it will keep you coming back for more punishment. -Sam Winstrom
Vizati (80 MS Points): This is a fresh twist on the puzzle genre. Players take control of a square and can turn, shake or flip it to combine colored blocks into groups of three or more. While the puzzle is being completed the games main characters, Julie and Peter attempt to figure out what the square is and why it's there. The water-color backgrounds make this game as beautiful as it as addictive. -Sam Winstrom
Stick 'Em Up 2: Paper Adventures (240 MS Points): This is a sidescrolling platformer/shooter with co-op and versus modes (offline only). Stick figure graphics are usually a game designer cop-out, but Stick 'Em Up 2: Paper Adventures uses paper-cutout backgrounds that give these skeletal characters a more fleshed-out feel. A variety of vehicles and different levels mix up the action just enough to keep things exciting in a crowded genre. -Sam Winstrom