Every couple of weeks, we recommend some of the best games on the Xbox Live Indie channel. These are the games on the fringe of the Xbox 360 platform, made by average Joes and indie dreamers. They're peer-reviewed, not Microsoft-approved and thankfully they're not all about posing your Xbox Avatar or a vibrating controller.
Our favorites-a mix of new and established Indies, all of them cheap-are listed here and listed in the Kotaku's Favorites channel in the Indie Game part of Xbox Live's Games Marketplace.
We'll have new recommendations, here and on Xbox Live, in two weeks. Enjoy!
Apple Jack (80 MS Points): Unique, odd, and with its own sort of beauty, Apple Jack is everything a strange indie platformer should be.
You play the apple-headed Jack as he traverses an English countryside filled with roaming washing machines, upright pandas, and pigs in tutus. Your job is to chuck enemies into each other for coins, gaining a higher multiplier with the speed you get rid of your foes. The enemies must also be used to cart Jack across spiked areas and as platforms to get to higher areas. The game gets more complicated as Jack climbs its 100 levels, adding color-specific enemies that must be destroyed in a specific order to solve puzzles. One hit to Jack and he's dead, back to the beginning of the level, but the soothing, hypnotic music keeps the game from becoming a controller-throwing competition. With bright shiny graphics and an extraordinary feeling of accomplishment after completing a level (or filling the screen with falling coins), Apple Jack is not only an outstanding bargain, but an incredible and surreal experience. -Max Abrams
The Cannon (80 MS Points): Taking on wave after wave of monsters in a stationary cannon usually makes for a pretty boring night. But there is just enough variety and, dare I say it, strategy in this artillery adventure to make it addictive. There are four types of enemies (robots, ninjas, pirates, and monkeys) and four types of weapons (fire, ice, lightning and vines) to mix and match. Want to slow down the Pirate? Shoot fire to burn off his peg leg. Only lightning can take down the robots, but grabbing robots by the vine and smacking them into other enemies is more effective than with the Pirate or Monkey. Or maybe the enemies to my left need to be frozen. These split second choices make this game both nerve-wracking and entertaining. -Max Abrams
Plague (80 MS Points): Malware of a potency never thought possible has invaded the computer and it's up to you, as a powerful anti-malware program, to take it down. A side scrolling game similar to Contra, Plague features numerous references to other games and gamer culture. The graphics move from fighting within computer windows to a Mario parody, all with a decidedly dark tint. With a multitude of heavy duty weapons, including one that fires the centipede from the classic arcade game, this indie title aims straight for the heart of gamers. -Max Abrams
Spacecraft (80 MS Points): Picking up and returning crates using a tiny spaceship should be simple enough. Put in some lasers and things might get a little more complicated. Your ship can return fire using a variety of weapons, but the game really shines in its control. The way the ship floats and falls requires precision and focus. Add in an entertaining multiplayer and surprisingly fun racing modes, and this is a white-knuckle space distraction waiting to happen. -Max Abrams
Nucleon (80 MS Points): In this game you play an electron in a cell, guarding the all important nucleus and its protons against radiation particles. Your electron can string together attacks when enemies are in a line, building up a special attack that wipes out all the enemies on screen. You'll need that special attack as enemies fill the screen quickly if you don't chain attacks together strategically. The cold techno feel is appropriate for this fascinating action-puzzle game. -Max Abrams
Kong360: Gorilla Warfare (240 MS Points): Sure, running around shooting your friends is always fun, but wouldn't it be more exciting if you all were gorillas? Kong360: Gorilla Warfare investigates this question as you choose deathmatch, team deathmatch or capture the flag against your best simian chums or computer players. With the standard weapons such as the shotgun and rocket launcher in place, the game feels like a top down Quake…with apes. It's simple, violent fun with your friends, what more could you ask for? -Max Abrams