[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]ith a week left on the clock, first-person puzzle adventure Quern still has yet to see the coveted “100% funded” mark. Thankfully, it’s close with only about £3500 or so to go out of a £20k base goal. Which would be a real shame if it didn’t get the money needed. Based on what we’ve seen so far it is a beautifully rendered island full of intricate puzzles and mysteries worthy of a “Myst clone”. We’ve already covered the basic pitch, which you can read here, but a fairly decent amount has been discussed in updates since.
In Quern you’re trapped on an island with presumably no way out. But, there are clues left around by its previous inhabitants as to what happened before and how they managed to escape. With the help of one of two guides, both polar opposites of each other, it’s up to you to unravel these puzzles and escape. Who you decide to follow is entirely up to you, which adds some replayability beyond a single playthrough.
The first update introduced us to a very important section of the island, what they creatively called “The Mine”. It’s…you guessed it…a mine. But, this particular man-made underground facility is home to certain scientific discoveries surrounding the minerals used throughout the land. And it houses a puzzle that makes you create an entirely new crystal formation. Other areas of the island were slowly revealed throughout the campaign, including an area called “Sunken Memories“, and the Aquarium level.
Not long after the launch of the campaign for Quern the game got Greenlit on Steam. In fact, it only took four days to reach the top 100. So, if you’re like me and prefer to have your extensive digital collection on that platform then once the game is finished you’ll be treated to a Steam code. Of course, you can also go in on a DRM-free copy, as well.
A good deal of behind-the-scenes work has been revealed throughout the campaign as well. From learning about puzzle design, the music, the ambient sound effects that you’ll hear throughout the island, and the programming itself anyone with interest in “under the hood” areas of game design should find something interesting here. Which, I’ll be honest here, is kinda rare to see all of this during a Kickstarter’s run. It’s much more common during the development of the game itself after the money has been raked in.
The most interesting updates, though, would have to be among the more recent ones. Update 11 gives us a look at the “notebook system”. This is pretty much how it sounds. You have a book that you make notes in. Which includes not just jotting down notes, symbols, and other clues but also lets you take “screenshots” and filters them as a sort of charcoal drawing in your book. Which I think adds a very nice touch to the immersion of the world and possibly my favorite reveal so far. Finally, we have the updated letter and inventory system. In Update 12 they describe briefly how these changes to make a more 3D pick-up and read system add a touch more realism to the gaming experience.
Anyone who enjoyed playing Myst back in the day should find something to love in Quern. I mean, it is filled with breathtaking vistas and plenty of puzzles to ponder over. If you haven’t already done so, you really should check the campaign out. This one needs to be funded.