Sable review for Xbox Series X

Platform: Xbox Series X
Publisher: Raw Fury
Developer: Shedworks
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

From a purely aesthetic perspective, Sable might be one of the most incredible games I?ve ever played.

For one thing, it?s absolutely gorgeous ? and not gorgeous in the ?Ooh, it?s so lifelike, very impressive” way, either. Rather, Sable looks like a Moebius painting brought to life. Its desert world is vast and unforgiving, full of crumbling architecture and crazy flora that make the world simultaneously look totally alien and yet, somehow, kind of familiar.

On top of that, Sable has a fantastic soundtrack. The game was scored by Japanese Breakfast, and they?ve given this weird, desolate world a score that?s appropriately sparse. If you just wanted to ride around on your hoverbike, exploring a beautiful world to an amazing soundtrack, this game is perfect for that.

Unfortunately, if you want to do much else, Sable is a lot less interesting. The game has scattered a story and puzzles around its world, but neither of them are engaging enough to make you want to uncover either of them.

To be fair, this is partially by design. The game takes a hands-off approach to a level you don?t usually see ? apart from a brief tutorial at the beginning, Sable basically tells you to explore the world and figure things out. That?s part of the story, too, since your character ? a teenage girl going on a vision quest of sorts ? is pretty much in the dark about what she?s supposed to do, and the game is following her entry into adulthood.

But that?s not particularly fun to play. I mean, yes, the exploration is great. Not only is the world awe-inspiring, your hoverbike controls well enough, and even your jumps ? which include the ability to hover gently down to the ground ? fit in with the general aesthetic. But if you want anything deeper or more engaging than that, it?s awfully hard to find.

Though if you?re going to play a game that feels kind of shallow, it may as well be one that?s breathtakingly gorgeous and that sounds incredible. Sable clearly has its share of flaws, but it makes a pretty good argument for style mattering more than substance.

Raw Fury provided us with a Sable Xbox Series X code for review purposes.

Grade: B