I was checking out this years Independent Games Festival this morning. There are quite a few impressive games.
I think I was most impressed by Kisses. It's very polished and it was made by students. Awesome work guys!
Some others that stuck out for me:
Steer Madness. It's basically a GTA type of game except the main character is a cow trying to save animals. They claim a budget of only $10k. The graphics seem almost on par with GTA3 which is pretty impressive as well.
<a href="http://www.largeanimal.com/games/rocketbowl/>RocketBowl</a> is a game where bowling meets miniature golf. The 3D graphics are pretty mediocre but the 2D interface is pretty and the music is strangely catchy and it's actually pretty fun. $100k budget though, I hope they make their money back.
<a href=" http:="" www.ultrafish.com="" creatrix="">Creatrix was an interesting idea. It's a tetris like puzzle game but instead you build machines and send those machines to the other guy's side. The simplest example you can drop a wheel and send it all by itself over to the other side. More complicated you could drop a few wheels and stack other parts on top of them before you send it over. Whatever parts make it over end up being turned into boxes that stack up like blocks in tetris make it harder for the other guy to make stuff.
If you both send stuff over to each other as they cross the road between one side and the other they will fight, the stronger destroying the weaker so there's reason to do more than send just single wheels. You can also build defense systems for your side.
Unfortunately with so many options it seems too complicated to actually get into. I mean it's practically more complicated than the most complicated RTS game. Still, at least it's a new idea.
There's a ton more indy games over here. I'm going to have to check them out!