After a year of exclusivity over on Xbox and PC, Sable — a coming of age exploration game — has finally made its way over to PS5. The important question, as always, is has the wait been worth it? And the answer is yes, but only if you’re willing to overlook its technical issues.
On a desert planet called Midden, when a child reaches adulthood, they have to complete a rite of passage called The Gliding. This is a journey of self-discovery where a youngster travels around on their own and gets to meet new people and complete quests in order to discover who they truly are.
After a short introductory quest where the game’s protagonist, Sable, gets to build her own hoverbike and say goodbye to her family, you’re let loose to explore the world. It’s a pretty freeing feeling when you realise that you really can just point your bike in any direction and explore wherever you like.
On your journey you’ll come across many well written and endearing NPCs who have quests for you to take on, but it’s completely up to you if you want to help them out or not. There are simple quests like collecting bugs and metal, but also much more interesting activities such as investigating who stole a town’s power supply or rescuing a child by dressing up as a vigilante. Whatever tasks you decide to adopt, it never feels like a chore; any excuse to go and visit more of Midden’s gorgeous landscapes feels worthwhile.
You’ll be spending a lot of time on your hoverbike so it’s great that Sable makes good use of the DualSense controller. Being able to feel the rumble of your hoverbike’s engine and the slight resistance on the R2 trigger as you accelerate definitely makes for a more immersive experience.
You’ll also want to hop off your bike every now and then to climb to the top of any tall outcrops you come across. Stopping to drink in the beautiful horizons is a great way to spot any interesting looking areas that you may want to visit later. Most surfaces are climbable but a stamina bar limits how long you can hang on for, although with the handy ability to glide you’re never at risk of hurting yourself. The mechanics of getting around are simple, but they fit in well with the world’s relaxing vibes.
Sadly, some of the joy of exploration is dampened by the stuttering frame rate which frequently gets a bit choppy, especially when wandering through busier areas. You’re also likely to encounter bugs with things like merchants not having any stock for sale or your hoverbike disappearing. Reloading the game does seem to fix many issues, but these little niggles do begin to get irritating over time. It’s a shame as, apart from these problems, exploring Sable’s strange and mysterious land is an absolute delight.