This is something that I have noticed in a number of indie games, such as Apocolypse World and InSpectres, but perhaps the best example I have seen is in Danger Patrol. For lack of a better term I am referring to is as "Isometric Resolution.' Unlike traditional RPGs, where the GM would completely stat out an opponent, the players are actually rolling against themselves. In the case of Danger Patrol and InSpectres, the only stat the opponent has is how many hits you need to do to make the opponent go away, In the case of Apocolypse World, the only stat is how much damage the opponent does if you fail your roll.
I'm finding this to be an intreguing mechanic because it allows conflicts to be almost self-balancing. In the case of Danger Patrol, every die not rolled succesfully becomes a minus. The greater the amount of detail that the GM and players give to a situation, the more likely it will turn out spectacularly or badly.
Can anyone think of other games that use an isometric mechanic? Does something like this feel natural to you, or do you feel like you are boxing at shadows instead of an actual opponent in these types of games?