Sable is an exploration game, set in a vast desert area where small tribes reside, travelling around on hoverbikes built from technology from crashed ships. And it looks absolutely stunning.
Pictures don’t do Sable justice, the line drawing style of the game creates a lovely looking game that looks like it’s straight from a 2D cartoon, even though it has an expansive 3D environment. As the day/night cycle progresses, the land reflects the lovely colours of the different times of day. Every moment of the game is absolutely wonderful to look at.
On top of how Sable looks, the way the game moves, the animation is very unique. In any other 3D game, the low amount of animation frames would look dreadful, but here it adds to the wonderful style, making it feel like a flip book of wonderfully drawn images.
In terms of gameplay, Sable is very much Breath of the Wild. The movement has a very similar feeling, with the stamina used in exactly the same way for running and climbing – even tapping the run button to preserve stamina feels almost identical. Even the way you interact with small objects is the same, right down to a button prompt that looks like something from a Switch game (showing the four face buttons with one filled in).
The vast “climb anywhere” environment of Sable is also very reminiscent of Breath of the Wild, however the world of Sable is quite sparse due to its desert setting. The opening area has places for the main objectives, and only a few things dotted around to discover, mostly being small chests of money.
One big difference between the two games is combat: Sable does not contain any combat. It will certainly be interesting to see a game do this, and to see what conflicts or challenges will be given to the player throughout their journey. While the core gameplay is something we’ve seen before, removing combat to focus on the exploration and lore is a very curious descision.
Mid-way through the starting area, you will unlock a gliding ability. While this could be linked to the glider in BotW, it feels very different, much slower and more precision over controlling it. It also doesn’t use stamina, and there seems to be no fall damage.
This mechanic feels like it will be a vital part of the gameplay, as parts of the demo focused on figuring out how to get to high up places. With your limited stamina, you have to find the right places to climb, sometimes gaining ground in another area so you can glide down to where you need to go. I suspect that Sable will be stricter in terms of stamina, and won’t give you jump abilities that let you bypass a lot of climbing.
In terms of quests, the ones in the starting area, they’re mostly fetch quests, with some very simple puzzles (flick a switch, continue). With the lack of combat, I was hoping for some more complex puzzles, so hopefully this will happen outside the starting area.
Sable definitely has my curiosity, but at the moment feels a bit empty. There is a lot of potential here, and I hope that Sable reaches this potential.