(Left to right) 'Splosion Man, Flower, Osmos, Trials HD

OK, so the Spike Video Game Awards, which air this Saturday at 8 p.m. on Spike, don't exactly constitute "appointment TV," but this year the ceremony might actually be worth watching. For one, they will be airing a bunch of world-premiere trailers, including one for the much-anticipated new Medal of Honor. Two, Snoop Dogg is performing, so that should at least be mildly entertaining. And finally, it's been a pretty great year for video games, as evidenced by the top-notch nominees for Game of the Year—Assassin's Creed 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves.

But if there's one thing you might notice from the titles above, it's that they're all sequels or licensed franchises. Not that they're not great games, but where's the originality? Where's the risk-taking? The answer lies in the Best Independent Games category, which features four off-the-beaten-path titles that you may not yet be familiar with. See below for a quick primer on the best indie video games (as chosen by Spike) as well as a link to vote on your favorite...

'Splosion Man

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: Twisted Pixel/Twisted Pixel/Xbox 360

GENRE: Side-scrolling action platformer

RELEASE DATE: July 22, 2009

WHAT IT IS: This is a good ol'-fashioned platform title (available on Xbox Live Arcade) in which you play a character that can literally "'splode" through 50 levels of puzzles and enemies. There are shades of the Sonic series here in terms of speed, intricate level design, sense of humor, and overall addictiveness. Word to Peter North, "'sploding" everywhere is pretty damn fun.

ODDS OF WINNING: 8-1


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flower

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: ThatGameCompany/Sony Computer Entertainment/PS3

GENRE: "Poetic adventure"

RELEASE DATE: February 12, 2009

WHAT IT IS: Only an indie game could turn out this trippy: Flower imagines life as a plant; your goal is to guide your flower, using the PS3's motion-sensitive controller, from a city windowsill to a vast open field in nature. Gameplay is simple (and very short), but this title is more about atmosphere and artistic design. It's a meditative experience, which some critics found especially moving. We won't go that far, but we do have a question: Have you ever played Flower...on WEED???

ODDS OF WINNING: 15-1


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Osmos

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: Hemisphere Games/Hemisphere Games/PC

GENRE: Puzzle

RELEASE DATE: August 18, 2009

WHAT IT IS: Real gaming critics tend to ride hardest for original puzzle games, which leads us to believe that this title is a favorite in the category. In Osmos, your objective is to make your mote bigger by absorbing other motes. Sounds kinda easy, but the physics-based gameplay means that gravity and momentum can cause your mote to lose matter instead of gaining mass. Combined with the spacey visuals and the ambient soundtrack, the game is something you really need to play to understand. Considering it already won awards at the most recent Independent Games Festival, Osmos is a good bet to take home the Spike VGA.

ODDS OF WINNING: 3-2


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trials HD

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: RedLynx/Microsoft Game Studios/Xbox 360

GENRE: Puzzle/racing

RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2009

WHAT IT IS: Basically, it's motorcycle racing on another level. This Xbox Live Arcade title is considered one of XBLA's best for its depth and replayability—not only can you ride on 50 tracks across two different game modes (Race for speed; Skill for stunts), but you can also build your own obstacle course using the elaborate in-game editor. Trials HD can definitely get frustrating, but it's not a good game if it doesn't test your will.

ODDS OF WINNING: 4-1


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CLICK HERE TO VOTE ON THE BEST INDEPENDENT GAME ON SPIKE.COM!

RELATED: COMPLEX'S TOP 100 VIDEO GAMES OF THE 2000s!