Scrolling is often an ugly process, particularly in films, those blurry, jarring panning sequences having made me briefly nauseous all my life. Panning is usually better in games, but I do have a soft spot for those that take place on a single screen, or that feature single-screen levels. Skorpulac features both scrolling and non-scrolling stages, and it's the latter I prefer: exquisite, diorama-like environments that house the entire action inside a single frame. It's by the dude what done Downwell's music, and the sound design of this tough, alien platform-shooter is appropriately, ominously on-point. It's a gem that's been engineered to perfection, meaning it feels, it sounds, it looks just right. Download it, obviously.
Pichon by Indie Ghost Games
One of the Birds from Angry Birds has escaped from Angry Birds into this neat bouncy arcade platformer, where you have to grab gems then reach an exit point against the clock. It starts off simple, but before you know it, it gets layered and more interesting, thanks to spikes, switches, crumbly platforms and other gamey things. You've played half a dozen games like this in your life, but Pichon is more polished than most, and it looks just lovely.
Barb by Josh Naylor, Kenney Vleugels, Suchada Brassé, Angelo Di Totto
This is very short—five minutes' long in a one-bedroom flat—but if you're anything like me, you'll spend another five going 'oooh' and 'aaah' over all the chunky low-poly models, exquisitely lit. You're Barb, and like a lot of the population, Barb insists on getting showered and dressed and what have you before heading out. There's a gentle twist at the end of this fun scene.
Two Interviewees by Mauro Vanetti
Two people apply for the same job in this smart visual novel, the interviewer's prejudices determining whether they're offered the position or not. Brilliantly, you choose the same answers for both the male and female candidate, the responses highlighting how men and women are often treated differently by employers, despite saying the same things and having similar qualifications. Play it a few times, selecting different options as you go. It's pretty hard getting that jerk interviewer to offer either one a job.
The Dark Plague by Gurok
An interesting setting and stark, super-retro pixel art are reasons to give The Dark Plague a go—a brief AGS adventure featuring multiple endings. You play as a quack doctor hounded into an old building by an angry mob of villagers. You could try to escape, to confront the mob head-on, or put your big mad plague doctor mask to good use, by trying to conjure up that cure you had lied about previously.