Quern – Undying Thoughts poses an interesting dilemma for players at various points in the game. Would they prefer to follow the advice of a scientist, someone who argues with facts and reasoning, or an ancient spirit, who explains the mysticism governing the mysterious island?
However, this moral query is only one facet of Quern, an open-world puzzle game loosely inspired by titles like Myst. In a universe with many connected worlds, the player takes on the role of a person trapped in one of them, a small land mass surrounded by boundless oceans. Arriving at the doors of an ancient city, the player finds two different “advisers.” The two guides have conflicting viewpoints on the island. While exploring, the protagonist slowly learns about the land’s origins and the people who have visited it before.
In some ways, Quern follows the typical puzzle game archetypes, using an inventory system to collect and inspect items found throughout the game. If the player can decipher their purpose, they can come in handy at various points in the adventure. Hints and clues often serve for riddles encountered down the line. An important distinction of Quern is that instead of enclosed puzzle ecosystems that are left behind, the more complicated ones will often challenge the player to venture back and revisit already solved areas. The developers want players to think of problems in Quern in a more integrated way than individually, rethinking and revisiting previous solutions to look at them in different ways. Sometimes even errors or seemingly pointless outcomes can hint to progress.
Zadbox Entertainment switched from Unity 4 to 5 during development in order to further enhance the graphics, which will be compatible with 4K resolution displays. They’re also experimenting with using the Oculus Rift to make Quern a more immersive experience. It’s scheduled to launch on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The Kickstarter has made about one-third of its ~$30,000 USD goal. All the “Early Bird” promotional rewards have been sold out, so paying about $15 minimum now warrants a copy of Quern upon release, planned for March 2016. Pledging ~$62 awards a hard copy, a rarity for crowdfunded games. Check out the Kickstarter campaign for more details on backer rewards and additional aspects of Quern, such as soundtrack samples.