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Spare a thought for the little guys. When Microsoft launched its Indie Games channel on Xbox Live a few years back, it was with the promise that the tiniest of studios would gain access to the massive, multi-million-strong Live community.

But with the release of the most recent dashboard update, Microsoft's true intentions for Project Xbox were laid bare, with movies, music and entertainment all up in your face, and the Indie channel buried so deep in the menus, Saddam Hussein could've hidden in there.  

For anyone that pays attention to Microsoft as a business, this was no surprise at all: the company desperately wants to 'own' the living room, and indie gaming was never going to be a serious part of that mission.

Nevertheless, it's a sad moment for champions of the underdog, innovation and emerging talent. Yes, a clear majority of games on the service were rubbish, but with big budget game development so terrified of trying anything new, the indie scene is where genuinely fresh ideas are most likely to be birthed.

So, in dedication to all those plucky indie adventurers out there, he's our list of 10 cracking Xbox Indie games you really should try.

Blocks That Matter (240 Points)

A 2D puzzle-platform delight. As Tetrobot, you gobble up blocks then spit them out in Tetris shapes to progress.

A Fading Melody (240 Points)

This is exactly the type of arty-farty, niche concept platformer that'd never see the light of day anywhere other than on an indie service. A simple yet compellingly dark experience.

Groov (200 Points)

The Indie channel is littered with twin-stick shooters, but this is one of the best. Clearly inspired by the great Geometry Wars, it nevertheless manages its own musical twist on the genre. 

Solar (80 Points)

At first glance a bit like early iPad classic, Osmos HD, here you actually control the sun itself, moving through space and states until ultimately collapsing into a black hole. 

Astroman (240 Points)

Raising itself quite literally above the platforming crowd, Astroman takes its cute 2D action into outer-space. Well worth a zap.

Train Frontier Express (240 Points)

The simple, timeless art of constructing a model railway made easy – and a brilliant little game to play with young children.

Production Panic (240 Points)

Created by one of the leads on Crackdown 2, this is a fiendishly challenge puzzle game in which you frantically manage a factory's production line.

AppleJack (80 Points)

Perhaps the only game ever to be set in the green and pleasant lands of Suffolk. A wonderfully silly platformer that feels like it belonged on Amiga in the '90s.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 (80 Points)

If you're not yet sick of the sight of the endless, life-imitating-art hordes of zombie games, then this witty, lo-fi shooter represents one of the greatest indie experiences to be had on Xbox.

T.E.C 3001 (240 Points)

"Autorunners", as they're known, are all the rage on smartphones, with the likes of Jetpack Joyride and Temple Run leading the charge.  But none of them looks this slick.


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    null21/04/2010