Sable is the debut game from developer Shedworks, a 2 man team from London partnered with publisher Raw Fury (Flat Eye, Cassette Beasts). The game is a sci-fi open-world adventure with the single player experience uncovered through exploring and solving puzzles. The titular character is a young woman undergoing a rite of passage which involves travelling across the desert planet Midden. Previously released on Windows, Xbox One & Xbox Series S/X last year, Sable is now also available on PS5.
The journey matters more than the destination in Sable
I wasn’t aware of Sable at its original release but I was pleased to get the chance to review it on PS5. I had a very good time playing and so I would love to hear your thought. If you have played before or are thinking about it, feel free to comment below.
Sable begins with the title character having come of age to begin her rite of passage before reuniting with her nomadic tribe. Having been prepared mentally and physically Sable, along with her hoverbike, ventures across the planet of Midden to discover her life trade of which there are multiple options from musician to mechanic. From childhood, everyone wears a mask which depicts their identity or current position in life. The spiritual beliefs the people of Midden hold was immersive, especially when juxtaposed with the sci-fi and seemingly post-apocalyptic genre of the game.
As Sable progresses we piece together the narrative and history of Midden and this desert planet. I found it very satisfying in exploring both the main campaign and travelling across the map and how that delivered rich and engaging worldbuilding. Conversations with NPCs were delivered dialogue by text which had me unsure initially for a single-player adventure game but quickly changed my mind. I soon found it felt natural and soon understood Sable through her narration/inner monologue and dialogue options which I felt fit her character. Putting the pieces together was satisfying as the outcome of completing quests, exploring or solving Sable’s many puzzles.
By helping the various guilds, Sable earns badges as a symbol of her standing within guilds and later their mask. This involves journeying to the different regions which have evolved as we learn by seeing long ruined buildings and even spaceships indicating travel from Earth. The picture coming together in my mind was immensely satisfying the more I learned about this culture which grew out of the old. My eagerness to see and learn more was tempered by the stamina bar reminiscent of Breath of the Wild and perhaps some undiscovered abilities that meant I would have to go back to certain areas. I only wish that for such a key part of the game that travelling with Sable’s hoverbike was less awkward and clunky as even an unfortunately located rock would send her flying.
Graphics & Audio
Sable’s cel-shaded graphics and the design that came with it were my favourite and least favourite part of the game. The setting partnered with cel-shading made the game vibrant and beautiful when viewing the environment from a distance. The range of colours to shadows effects and the day-night cycle were fantastic. However, when up close parts of the environment such as trees and rock formations etc had a stark lack of detail. The gameplay was smooth, I had no issues with glitches or bugs apart from sometimes plants etc appearing through walls. I found the PS5 graphics were pre-set apart from anti-aliasing as an option to switch on or off.
While I may not have loved all the visual design, the audio was great. Sable’s soundtrack from Japanese Breakfast and the score were fantastic in setting the mood of the game. I did feel the absence of character voices but the audio more than made up for that. The environmental sounds, both passive and active, helped engage me in the game. From the hum of the hoverbike to animals and even the sounds of Sable’s exhaustion and over-exertion were as immersive as the soundtrack and score.
I have played a solid several hours of Sable and feel as if I have only scratched the surface. The almost literal sandbox has much to do and explore. Tasks range from the main quest to helping the numerous and often colourful NPCs. Many more hours of content come from exploring, discovering more of Midden’s secrets and learning the history of its inhabitants and the planet itself. Beyond the main campaign gives even more content. Fans of open-world RPGs like myself won’t be disappointed in the variety Sable has to offer. And for the trophy hunters out there, you have a whopping 57 PS5 trophies to unlock which will keep you busy too.
I had a great time playing Sable and thoroughly enjoyed the game. The narrative and how it was told was delivered very well and helped me connect with Sable and the world. The story delivered from exploring and completing quests was both engaging and satisfying. I enjoyed the puzzle solving and travelling across Midden even if the hoverbike was a tad bumpy. I respected the cel-shaded design and Sable looked beautiful.
However, textures and the environment looked low in detail and sometimes with parts of the landscape appearing through solid walls. The soundtrack and score of Sable were a big part of why I was so immersed in the game. Music coming from Japenese Breakfast especially at key scenes set the tone. Alongside environmental sounds and sometimes Sable herself, the game felt more engaging. With many hours of content and 57 trophies to win, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
I am pleased to give Sable the Thumb Culture Gold Award. I’m excited to see what the Shedworks brings us next after their debut game!
I hope you enjoyed my Sable review as much as I enjoyed playing it. If so I also reviewed Broken Pieces which you can check out right here.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
[allkeyshop_widget_offers game=”73168″ template=”26″]