Steam Library: Sable

Vast sandboxes are everything to us, year after year. The further we go, the more virtual worlds become bigger, more unique, and deeper, and it’s wonderful.

However, it does get tiresome to go on a tour of a new amazing reality every single time, breaking through hordes of identical goblins/bandits/monsters/undead. Or whoever else the designers find easy to clone, assign a conditional first level of danger, and scatter in indecent quantities across the global map. Sometimes, a gamer tired of grinding just wants there to be a big world, with many interesting secret places, and where there’s no need to fight anyone for experience points and endless checkpoints.

Sable intro

Sable promised me just the kind of journey through a fantastic planet that is best described as “Hippie-Tatooine”. Across the vast desert, painted with a slightly acid cel-shading, nomads peacefully roam, spending their leisure time exploring the remains of ancient spaceships and hunting insects. Our heroine is young, open to everything new, and – for complete happiness – chosen to be the Most Important Traveler. In addition to the pompous title, we are given the ability to hover in the air, a flying motorcycle, 200 units of money, and many pompous instructions, after which we are sent out to explore every corner of the planet and claim everything that is poorly placed in those corners.

Such is a meditative journey game, without any combat system, but with a bunch of hidden items and locations that will require plenty of jumping around, reminiscent of the 3D Legend of Zelda.

The first impressions of Sable

The first impressions of the game are decisively positive. It seems that the developers at Shedworks were able to fulfill all their promises made in various presentations and press releases. Sable has a unique graphics style and a pleasant atmosphere. The open world is huge; while exploring local caves and ruins, you truly feel like an explorer and adventurer a la Indiana Jones. However, without the need to wield a worn-out pistol with a whip and without the need to exterminate the local fauna.

Broken compass

And everything would have been simply wonderful if Sable hadn’t been fatally plagued by bugs.

I’m not talking about flickering textures, wonky animations, or occasionally crazy physics. I’m talking about glitches that make it literally impossible to continue playing… No, even that wording doesn’t convey the essence of the local problems. Sable’s bugs can’t be fixed even with restarts; they embed themselves into the save files and completely ruin the progress.

I encountered the first game-breaking glitch somewhere around the third hour of gameplay. The protagonist was leisurely exploring the starting zone and eventually assembled her own personal motorcycle-glider to finally embark on her great journey. The gates to the world opened, and adventures awaited me.

Gate to the world of Sable

The only thing I wanted to make sure of was that our glider wouldn’t have to be picked up exactly where it was left every time. In theory, a hovering motorcycle should work like Roach from “The Witcher” – you leave it somewhere, explore the swamp/city/forest/whatever, then simply whistle and the self-guided vehicle will come right to where you are. Simple, right? But it doesn’t work.

No, it’s worse than not working.

The test was simple, walk a decent distance away from the transport and see how quickly the bike would fly to me. After running around in the desert for about a minute, I decided that it was enough, I could already take advantage of the benefits of technological progress. I press the “call glider” button, I wait. Nothing happens. I press it again, realizing that my calls will have no effect today. What to do? I have to go back to where I left the bike. I think to myself that the need to return to the glider at its parking spot will soon become annoying, but I’m already preparing myself to tolerate the inconvenience for a while.

Transport Sable

I return to where I left my transport – empty. There is no one and nothing nearby. I check the map – yes, I am standing right on my glider. I check again – oh no, it bounced off somewhere nearby.

Twenty minutes of futile searching, attempts to restart the game, whistling to summon my transport, standing at the right angle to the horizon, sacrificing a few local infants – none of it had any effect. Before me lay the same vast world, full of all sorts of things, scattered far apart, and I remained a pedestrian in this world. Three hours of exploration, item collection, various discoveries – everything, essentially, was lost. It’s obvious that you can’t play without a glider.

My hands naturally dropped. How could this happen, Sable? I had almost fallen in love with you.

One more chance

What, I wonder, was I supposed to do next? Continuing the game on foot is not an option. Starting over… And going through the locations I just visited again, just to get to the place where my heroine is supposed to be now? Oh, I don’t want to, oh, I don’t need to.

But okay, let’s say I grit my teeth, went through the whole previous tourist program on the second lap, walked in my own footsteps on the sand, returned the glider. Who in this world can guarantee that in 15 minutes the game client won’t throw in some old trick or repeat an old joke?

What does Sable mean

I never dared to give Sable a second chance right away. I also didn’t delete it; for about two months, the game hung in my Steam library and even showed signs of life, downloading patches of various sizes. And finally, the other day, I felt ready – damn it – to start from scratch.

Of course, it was worth checking the old save file beforehand. Maybe the updates fixed my glitch, and when the save loads, the glider will finally appear. We load it, and… nothing, the same old mess.

Well, it’s time to pray that the above-mentioned troubles are rare and almost never happen to anyone else (I won’t check on the internet, it’s scary), and start the journey through the fantastic world from scratch. Especially since it seems that additional content has been added to the game.

Already knowing where things are bad in the starting region, I spent about an hour on all the preparations and gathering, talked to everyone I needed to, handed out gifts, and was ready for a bright future. As a last step, my character had to perform a meaningless formality, buy a map from one of the merchants in the settlement. He was very happy to sell it. He even said, “I’ll gladly exchange the map for money!” I had the money, and more than enough. The store didn’t have any maps, and it turned out that the quest couldn’t be completed. Reloading didn’t help either.

Sable mask

Go away, Sable, roll off my computer! I gave you a chance to fix yourself, waited two months for you to patch up, and in return, I got this stupid insignificant bug that prevents me from playing further? That’s it, I’m done.

Your graphics can be as unique as you want, your world is interesting, deep, and vast, your characters are well-developed and colorful. That’s great, but it means absolutely nothing if there’s a game-breaking glitch behind every corner. And now critical items are disappearing too? You’re just mocking me.

If Sable was playable, it would be absolutely fantastic with its ratings. But as it stands, it’s clearly a production defect, a definite refusal in evaluation. And of course, in purchasing as well. 1 out of 100 is just a formality for statistics.

PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
3D, Adventure, Sandbox, Third-Person, Open World
Raw Fury
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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