Indie Update: Epic Lutes, Asemblance, Mighty No. 9

E3 2016 may be over, but video games are not. In fact, they're growing ever stronger with each passing second…I have no idea what any of what I just said means, but I do know that there are a bunch of games out right now that are very much worth a look. On this week's Indie Update, we'll scope out some cool new releases, including a free downloadable title that a few people may relate to more than others. But first, we'll talk about a quaint little indie that looks like a jolly good time.

So with that, let's talk indie games!

Epic Lutes Is All About That Bass — And Other Stringed Instruments

Sometimes, you just need a quick game to pass a few minutes at a time with. While at the IndieCade E3 booth last week, I chatted with artist Marty Walker, who gave me the rundown on Epic Lutes from developer The Stork Burnt Down. The title was created during a game jam, but the team would like to expand it in a few ways and release it properly on the PC and mobile platforms. Though it's still a work-in-progress, the time I played Epic Lutes was fun, and I can totally see this being an ideal play on mobile devices.

Basically, you play as a traveling bard who runs a little shop called Strings 'n Things. It's your job to create instruments for any customers that show up. Basically, you're making all manner of stringed instruments, and for the most part, the musicians' requests are pretty lenient as they aren't too strict about how the instrument looks.

You put together instruments by combining different parts. You're free to mix as many parts as you wish, but you need a specific number of strings. That's one requirement in Epic Lutes; though you can create a beauty or a monstrosity of a stringed instrument, you need to be able to hit specific notes on it. After you put the instrument together, you have to tune the strings using color-coded dots. Once the dots on each string match up with a customer's request, you can then test out the instrument in a Guitar Hero-inspired mini-game.

The available parts were fairly limited — though there was a rad cat head-shaped headstock —but hopefully more parts are added when Epic Lutes is released. In addition, while the game's trailer shows off the ability to cut and shape different parts using the mouse button, that functionality wasn't present in the version I played. Here's hoping that's implemented in the final version, too, because it would totally allow for players to make all kinds of crazy, cool instruments. The studio also hopes to add RPG elements based around the bard's desire to play for the Queen.

As previously mentioned, The Stork Burnt Down is hoping to release Epic Lutes on PC, where it'll do so via itch.io, and mobile. A specific launch date hasn't been announced, but according to Walker the game should be out in within the next two months.

Downloadable Indies

Asemblance is a sci-fi puzzler that pits you against your memories

What happens when you wake up in a machine that simulates memories? Furthermore, what happens when those memories are super messed up and you don't really like them? Asemblance puts you deep in a sci-fi world where your goal is to escape that strange memory machine and figure out exactly what the heck is going on.

You can purchase Asemblance on PlayStation 4 and Steam for $9.99.

Mighty No. 9 is out now, and you should avoid it

Bad game is bad. Seriously. Check out our review.

N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscure tells a compelling story

The imaginative world of N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscure is truly a sight to see. The game is a first-person exploratory adventure filled with a variety of puzzles, unique characters, and lovely art. Blending elements of visual novels and puzzlers, this is very much a story-driven, emotion-fueled journey that fans of narrative adventures are likely to find themselves immersed in.

N.E.R.O. is out now on Steam and The Humble Store for $19.99.

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action is, well, pretty self-explanatory

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action puts you in the shoes of – you guessed it – a bartender. The game takes place in – you guessed it again – a cyberpunk setting. Dubbed a “booze 'em up”, gameplay consists of you mixing and serving drinks while bar hoppers show up and talk to you about all of their dystopia-based woes, trials, and tribulations.

VA-11 Hall-A is available on Steam, GOG.com, and The Humble Store for $14.99.

The Underground

You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter is a referential text adventure about, well, you'll see

For a lot of folks who may not be willing to admit it, the early days of the Internet were all about exploration. So many of us were kids back when the Internet began rising to great heights, after all. You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter is a text adventure from developer James Earl Cox III, with audio by Julie Buchanan, and supplemental art by Joe Cox. In it, you play as a curious mind in the days of dial-up looking to experiment on the good ol' Web.

This experimentation revolves entirely around looking at adult websites while fearing for your life that your parents will get home at any second. You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter gives you different options to click on, including a “Look Behind You” option, which essentially turns the game into a new-age horror experience. I mean, the scenario's pretty terrifying, right? It doesn't get any scarier than loading up a racy web page and then hearing a sound behind you.

The game's visual style is quite tame, though it's probably best to list this one under NSFW territory, just in case. You can download You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter on itch.io.