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The remarkable success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has, shockingly, resulted in a few copycats here and there. I know, who would have thought? Ubisoft took a shot with Immortals: Fenyx Rising, while Chinese megahit Genshin Impact continues to rake in cash to this day. With Sable, we’ve got an indie twist on the open-world mega-exploration concept that shakes things up a bit.
In a world of endless desert, young members of Sable’s tribe set out on the Gliding. This is a sort of do-what-you-will journey where the youngster tries to find out what they were meant to make of their lives. It’s now time for Sable’s gliding, and we’ll follow her as she sets out to see the world, collect masks and become the adult she’s meant to be.
Sable’s got a lot in common with modern exploration games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Rather than focusing on combat, however, Sable’s all about finding new things and making the most of your journey. You can glide around, climb stuff, drive your speeder bike and see what there is to see. It’s less about battling baddies and more about playing around in a sandbox that’s offered to you.
From that perspective, Sable’s fairly successful. We saw plenty of games along these lines way back in the glory days of walking simulators, but Sable offers puzzles and platforming challenges. The combination of traditional gameplay and art-game-style gawking at the world works out surprisingly well. This is furthered by Sable’s storytelling, a combination of well-written dialogue and environmental design that really pushes forward the idea of a world that you’re just existing in rather than changing.
That said, there’s also not a lot else to discuss when it comes to Sable. You’re placed into a world you’re allowed to check out for as long as you please and told to enjoy. There’s a goal, sure, but it’s very secondary in comparison to wandering around, seeing what you can and finding whatever there is to find. If that sounds appealing, Sable’s going to appeal! Otherwise, you’re liable to find the experience a little dull, and this is going to come down to the individual player.
Unsurprisingly given the sort of game this is, Sable looks and sounds fantastic. It’s got a surreal cel-shaded, painted aesthetic that really drives home the alien nature of the world Sable inhabits. Given how a big part of the experience is taking the world in, it’s nice that Sable’s presentation really supports what you’re meant to be doing.
As mentioned, Sable is probably isn’t going to be a game for everyone. It’s a Breath of the Wild or Genshin Impact-styled adventure without a lot of the more common gameplay elements that tie those adventures together. Whether or not that works will be completely subjective, but Sable is still definitely worth a closer look to make that determination.