By Jade Entien
As workplaces and schools reopen, the stress of life returns. The day-to-day commute, workload, and deadlines make it hard for many people to enjoy the little things in life. Sable is an indie puzzle game by Shedworks, featuring melodious music by Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner’s indie band that made it so big this year. You play as Sable, a young girl moving through the air on her gliding (kind of a rite of passage) and meeting quirky personalities along the way. You also collect various artful masks.
Although I’m not a huge puzzle game fan, I loved the vast open-world the game provided and the seemingly endless travel. As I played through Sable, I slowly learned to take my time and appreciate the small things that make up the world Sable, and I, live in.
Sable has quite an impressive style and color scheme. It reminded me a lot of Jean Giraud’s works with solid color and fine black lines. Sable herself is a petite character wearing a full face mask much like the others in her clan. Everyone has a mask design that sets them apart from the others. During the daytime, the environment’s colors seem to pop off the screen, whereas, during the nighttime, everything is duller and grayish-blue. I really appreciate how the game has a day and night cycle. It added to the realism! Players will take to it and utter a few sounds of glee when Sable learns to glide in a bubble to traverse around the world.
Sable is very mission-oriented, with main quests and side quests that have you looking around for whatever you need. I did enjoy my quest with little Saima, a pesky Clan resident who sends you looking for beetles in return for one of the main parts that will ultimately create your hoverbike. As Sable leaves for her gliding, Saima wants to know if she’ll return. It was like Sable was off to college, and Saima was her doting sibling, an idea not too far off from my younger sister and me as I plan to leave home for college this year after high school.
Of course, Sable isn’t just grand scenery from her life in the Ibex Camp and the in the lush forests of Eccria. It’s also puzzles and the challenges that follow each quest. Players need to be attentive to notice any hints that may help solve the puzzles. After being stumped one too many times, I had to get my sister to help out with Shade of Eccria. Her eyes catch smaller details than mine and I happened to overlook nearly everything important. She DID shake me a few times, pointing out what to her were obvious clues. Upon completing most puzzles, Sable receives new masks which she can change out to change her look. Although I haven’t obtained it yet, I can say I love how cute the chum mask is. But you need to gather 100 chum eggs to find it and that’s super hard!
Sometimes, I felt a bit sleepy playing this game during the night, and honestly, it’s a bit pricey for my tastes. Japanese Breakfast’s soft soundtrack and the lack of voice acting made me tired. But for players who genuinely like soothing music and relaxation, Sable is a great option. I would go as far as to compare it to Sky: Children of the Light. Sable costs $25, but Sky (reasonably similar) can be had for free. The idea of gliding and enchanting worlds has been done in the mobile world of Sky. Plus, Sky is multiplayer, and multiplayer keeps me energized. Sable was beautiful to look at, but I honestly don’t think I’ll continue to play knowing that it’s not multiplayer and there are a bunch of puzzles that seem too challenging for me. After a long workday, I feel as if I’d want to explore and not have to stress my brain.
In conclusion, Sable was indeed an artful game. But I fell off towards the middle upon realizing how many puzzles there were and how tired it made me. For those looking for a zen-like Xbox Game compared to an action game, I’d recommend Sable. I love how creative the characters are, their designs, the vast world, and “Gliding” by Japanese Breakfast is such a soothing song from the soundtrack. I could tell a lot of effort and work went into creating Sable, and I think many people would enjoy it. For me, though, I need a bit more action.
Jade Entien is an intern for the NYVGCC, who also streams on our official Twitch channel.