Sable Review – A Unique and Unforgettable Journey
An indie game worth looking into.
No announced price as yet
Review copy provided by the publisher
Developed by Shedworks and published by Raw Fury, Sable offers more than enough open space to clear your mind and provides a place to get away from it all.
Sable took me on a journey to an alien planet featuring a young girl where she discovers more about herself and her abilities as she explores ships, architecture, and phenomenal monuments. She also comes to terms with her place in the world as well as learns more about those around her.
This was my first true deep dive into an indie game, and honestly, I have minimal complaints that I will go into later but for now, let’s get stuck into the beginning of Sable. The game begins with a young Sable in a room where I was introduced to the controls. It can be played with either a controller or keyboard and mouse, however, the developers recommend a controller for use on PC so, for this playthrough, I followed their advice.
While I did not try to use the keyboard and mouse, I can say that the controls on my PS4 controller were quite easy to get used to. For me, they felt very natural as I’ve always been more of a controller gamer. It was fairly simple to look at my map which would show me the direction of where my objectives were. The UI was straightforward and after a few minutes on the game, I already knew what controls did what.
The graphics were the initial thing I noticed as I moved around the room. From the bright colors to the intricate details, it was difficult not to get lost in its sheer beauty. Though the game is developed by a two-man team, you would surely not be able to tell. The ridges in the walls of the room were quite distinct and the shades of oranges throughout this space were hard to miss. As I moved my thumbstick, Sable moved quickly as if a spring was under her legs. This allowed me to gauge how sensitive the movement of the game was.
My absolute favorite part of the game was the hoverbike. Simply walking and running around this open world gave me a sense of freedom, but the majority of that freedom felt was from riding around on the bike.
I have to admit, the openness of Sable provided a feeling of freedom that I didn’t initially expect from a video game of this caliber. The map alone provided more than enough of an area to be explored which assisted in the freedom department. It reminded me that I can do anything as anything is possible within the realm of the game’s environment.
This may seem like a strange thing to get from a game, but playing as a young character reminded me also of what it felt like to be young. With her constant questioning of everything, I was brought back to the days when I would ask many questions about things I did not understand.
Although Sable didn’t display any naive behavior, it was evident that she was scared and slightly taken aback to be on her own and doing things for herself. This was showcased as she engaged in dialogue with those around the camp. She expressed not being sure of how she would manage on her own which she was then reassured that she lived her entire life for this moment.
My absolute favorite part of the game was the hoverbike. Simply walking and running around this open world gave me a sense of freedom, but the majority of the freedom felt was from riding around on the bike. The amazing graphics held up as I floated throughout the world and the effects gave me the feeling as though I could actually feel the wind in my hair in real life.
Even though there is a bigger story to follow and explore, there are smaller stories that Sable can take while on her journey. These acted like side missions that will help you to explore as you slowly but surely complete the main mission
At the beginning of the game, I was given a bike which is evidently not in the best shape, but it got the job done. As the game progresses, I collected parts to build myself a new and better one. Throughout my playthrough of Sable, the bike can continue to be upgraded as more parts are found.
This gave me a reason and a sense of purpose to explore its land. Even though the objectives offered me a chance to investigate, there is no penalization on how long I took to do them. This makes it even easier to explore above and beyond, searching for whatever it is you may wish to find.
There are puzzle ships found all around the world of Midden that reveal secrets about this world as each puzzle is solved. Players can also discover chums which actually caught me by surprise when I first found one. Chums offer chum eggs and if coming into contact with a Chum Queen, offering her all your eggs will reap a reward. Even though there is a bigger story to follow and explore, there are smaller stories that Sable can take while on her journey. These acted like side missions that will help you to explore as you slowly but surely complete the main mission.
While initially it is known that Sable can walk, run and glide (since she is a Glider after all), soon I was introduced to hovering. For me, it took a little while to master, however, I eventually got the hang of it. I was able to hover by herself simply by holding down onto a button. Soon I realized that she did not travel far with this, but it came in handy when jumping across surfaces. This is another fun way to move around.
Speaking of which, whenever I play a game, I always have to see if there is fall damage and it’s safe to say there’s absolutely no fall damage in Sable as she is able to hover above the ground before she lands.
Almost everything in Sable is customizable. The mask she wears can be changed depending on the paths she has taken, which is of course guided by you as the player.
While I enjoyed the overall movement and controls of Sable, there was one aspect that I would’ve preferred to be slightly different. I have already established that Sable can walk, run, glide and hover, but she can also climb. Climbing is quite easy so there’s no need to click on a button. Even though simply walking or running up to a surface would initiate a climb, this was a feature I wasn’t too fond of.
Sometimes when I was not trying to climb, she would do it anyway because I was close to that specific surface. I found that to be a bit annoying at times and would have preferred if I could control the climbing myself. Though this was not a huge turn-off, it affected gameplay a few times. In order to climb, Sable needs to have enough stamina (which is also affected by running). By initiating a climb that I did not mean to, she would deplete some of her energy and I was forced to wait on it to regenerate before actually climbing or running.
Almost everything in Sable is customizable. The mask she wears can be changed depending on the paths she has taken, which is of course guided by you as the player. Most masks are rewarded by impressing someone, helping them out, or trading for them. Ultimately, the mask chosen at the end of Sable‘s Gliding depends entirely on the journey she has been on and the people she has met.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Sable and will definitely continue to play as well as recommend it to others. For me, there is definitely room for it to be replayed as the choices you make and missions you choose to embark on can reveal a different story each time. Also, the more (or less) that is explored will determine the mask at the end. It is the perfect indie game to relax, take a break, and simply get lost in an open world.
Sable is available on September 23, 2021, on PC (via Steam), Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.