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Growing indie game scene offers great, original experiences at bargain prices

Deep in the network of your gaming console of choice resides an inexhaustible treasure trove of gaming potential.

Independent game developers can unleash their creations upon the gaming world like never before by utilizing online software distribution outlets, such as Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, Sony’s PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s WiiWare.

Don’t have the cash for triple-A titles? For a fraction of the cost, gamers can find hours and hours of fun in independent games.

Unlike well-known developers that receive a boat-load of money for the creation and production process, indie devs are cash-strapped and face a grueling reality: Either their games sell well, or their company croaks.

Below are three indie games that are definitely worth your hard-earned cash.

"Limbo" X360 (XBLA) Rated: T for Teen

A young boy awakens alone in a dark forest. His only desire is to find his sister, who is presumably farther ahead.

For a game that says little, “Limbo” is a genuinely haunting and ambiguous puzzle-platformer that will surely give the player chills. The game’s silhouette-based art serves as a perfect backdrop for its creepy environments.

Players must execute perfect timing during platform sequences while solving brain-teasing puzzles — the two elements are often seamlessly combined into one heck of a package. A simple control scheme and unique gameplay make “Limbo” a memorable, albeit brief, experience.

"Castle Crashers" X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN) Rated: T for Teen

There’s nothing quite like teaming up with some buddies and beating the crap out of baddies with sharp and/or blunt objects.

Welcome to “Castle Crashers,” an incredibly addicting, thoroughly enjoyable and hilarious medieval beat-em-up title.

A team of up to four knights can work together to try and thwart the evil dark wizard and his cohorts. As evil-doers are destroyed, experience points are won and can be used to upgrade a knight’s attack, magic and defensive capabilities.

A large arsenal of weaponry coupled with an even larger dose of pure fun makes downloading “Castle Crashers” a no-brainer.

"Hoard" PS3 (PSN), PC Rated: E

What could be more rewarding than saving a princess? How about kidnapping one?

When playing as a heroic knight gets horrifically tiring, don’t despair: “Hoard” puts the “eval” in “medieval.”

Players must strategically loot as much gold as possible by burning down villages, destroying would-be heroes and holding princesses hostage while controlling a fire-breathing dragon of destruction.

Gamers in need of a quick fix of instantly gratifying fun need look no further.