Quern - Undying Thoughts is an Adventure Game developed by the British studio Zadbox Entertainment. It was funded on Kickstarter on July 19th, 2015, and released on PC through Steam on November 29th, 2016, with a GOG.com release following on 27th March, 2017.
The game concerns an unnamed protagonist who becomes trapped on an island after falling out of a gateway. A letter from Professor William Maythorn explains that he has brought you, the player character, to the island of Quern in order to help him with an "essential matter". As the player progresses through the game, they must decide whether to trust Maythorn or think for themselves.
The game was generally well-received by critics and players, with many noting similarities between the game and the Myst series.
This game includes examples of:
- A God Am I: How Gamana felt after experiencing the power of Quer'nelok (the original name for Quern).
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Gamana did this after spending centuries meditating on Quern and accepting that she had lost everything that mattered in the physical world.
- Chekhov's Armory: Virtually every puzzle in the game sets up a later one, or has been set up by one already solved.
- Cryptic Background Reference: Maythorn's journal mentions "Oshwald, the capital world of the United Empire" but does not provide much in the way of information about it beyond its six ancient gateways.
- Dead Man Writing: The good ending implies this may be the case with Maythorn. The same message plays regardless of which choice you make. However, if you use the red crystal instead of the green crystal, the message starts to break down and gets cut off. This strongly suggests that the voice you hear at the end is a recording and Maythorn is long dead. Also, the calculations to unlock the gateway took centuries and Maythorn left Quern long before they were finished. Given that time is essentially meaningless in Quern, he could have rigged the gateway so that it would bring you there well after his departure.
- Deus ex Machina: At one point, you find yourself on a bridge that has a section missing. Gamana helps you across by giving you the ability to float in midair.
- Insufferable Genius: Maythorn can come across as this. In his letters, he often talks about how incredible his inventions are and how only a genius would be capable of figuring out how they work.
- Meaningful Name: A quern-stone is a tool for grinding. This is appropriate given that several puzzles involve grinding crystals and plants into powder.
- Multiple Endings: The game has two possible endings. In the first, you do what Maythorn tells you to and unlock the gateway. Gamana feels betrayed and you step through Maythorn's makeshift portal to meet him in person (or so he says). In the second, you follow Gamana's advice and destroy the gateway. This means that no one else can stumble across Quern and its power. Gamana thanks you and wishes you a safe journey home.
- The Voice: Gamana, the mysterious woman who follows you around. She appears in the form of green light since she has long since left her corporeal form behind.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Gamana never says what happened to her friends Rhoren and Tiador after their people, the Dulmar, were wiped out by civil war.
- What the Hell, Hero?: If you do what Maythorn wants, Gamana becomes furious with you. She says you will have to live with the knowledge that you have destroyed countless worlds and wonders how she could have trusted you.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: How time works in Quern. One can spend centuries there and not age a day while hardly any time passes elsewhere.