Sable Beginner’s Guide: Seven Things We Wish We Knew At The Start
Sable is out now, and the open-world adventure game wears its inspirations on its thick-lined sleeves. With an aesthetic that borrows heavily from the art of Moebius and gameplay that borrows heavily from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you may go into the debut PC and console game from developer Shedworks thinking you know what to expect. But Sable has plenty of surprises in store. It may seem like Breath of the Wild minus combat, but it differs from Nintendo’s masterpiece in plenty of other ways as well. And, if you go in expecting pacifist Zelda, you may be waiting for mechanics that will never show up.
Here are seven things we wish we knew when we first embarked on our desert adventure.
You CAN Upgrade Your Stamina
Sable is radically open-ended, which means that it’s easy to complete the game without ever discovering the area you need to find in order to upgrade your stamina. (It’s so difficult to find, in fact, that I straight up didn’t think you could upgrade your stamina at all for about 10 hours). But you can if you know where to look.
Early on in the game, before you even exit the starting area, you will most likely stumble upon a Chum. These floating creatures look like snakes made out of marshmallow and if you interact with them, they’ll grant you a Chum Egg. If you’ve played Breath of the Wild, where bringing Korok Seeds to Hestu unlocked additional inventory slots, you may be expecting something similar in Sable. And, indeed, Chum Eggs work much the same way.
But, in order to turn Chum Eggs into stamina, you need to locate the Chum Lair. The home of the Queen Chum is a hollowed-out mountain to the southwest of Burnt Oak Station, the first town your quests will point you to after you leave Ibex Camp. If you know where to look, the Chum Lair isn’t too tough to find (and the top glows, which makes it easy to spot in the distance). Go to the Chum Lair and talk to the Queen Chum. Present her with five Chum Eggs and she’ll boost your stamina. For the next increase, you’ll need 15 Chum Eggs, then 20 after that, and so on.
Clothing And Gear Are Just Cosmetic
As you explore Sable’s world and complete quests, you will gain new shirts, pants, masks, dyes, and parts for your hoverbike. You may be expecting these to alter your stats in some way, i.e. make your hoverbike faster or allow you to climb for longer. They don’t! This is pure player expression. Even clothes that seem like they might have a purpose, like the “Bouldering Top,” don’t serve any beyond making you look like someone who is good at bouldering. Dye your bike green, wear a freaky mask, whatever! It won’t affect your abilities at all. Some (like the Shade of Eccria Mask) are necessary to complete a quest. But they won’t impart any abilities outside of that specific use.
Don’t Forget To Sell Your Scrap!
There are plenty of items you can sell in Sable, including insects you will occasionally find flying around the world. But the easiest saleable object to find is scrap, which is generally sitting around in areas where there are ruined machines, i.e. The Whale on the far western side of the map and Trellick’s Pillar in the north. Once you find scrap, you can bring it to Altyn, who runs a junk yard right next to Burnt Oak Station.
And Spend Cuts On Maps
As we’ve noted above, masks, hoverbike parts, and clothes are purely cosmetic. Which leaves, basically, one purchasable item in the game that serves an actual function beyond the aesthetic: maps! In each of Sable’s areas, there is a cartographer next to a hot-air balloon, and they’re usually perched atop one of the highest points in the area. Despite the challenging climb, it’s worth braving the trek to the top. Though the map doesn’t include points of interest that you haven’t already discovered, it does give a helpful (and detailed) look at the topography of the land. And, if you speak to the Cartographer, they will outline the important sights to see in their region.
Don’t Bother With The Pin System
Early on in Sable, you receive a looking glass that you can use (by pressing the right bumper) to survey the landscape around you, and drop pins at landmarks you want to visit. But, in our experience, it’s a little too wonky to be pleasant to use. And, after about a dozen hours with the game, we’ve never actually needed to use it. Instead, place markers on your map, and use the wonderfully intuitive compass to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
Check Your Mail
In every town, there is a bean-shaped floating mailbox where voice memos addressed to Sable will show up. Be sure to check it a few day-night cycles after you begin your Gliding, because there’s an important quest that you can’t start until you receive a memo from someone back home at Ibex Camp.
About Your Bike
Though it’s helpful that the compass shows you where your bike is, you never actually need to follow it. Instead, you can press the Y or triangle button to summon your bike to you. It isn’t instantaneous, so don’t expect it to show up right away. But it will come. Additionally, anytime you use fast travel, the bike will be nearby when you arrive.
Also, this may seem obvious, but your hoverbike can NOT float on water. You might expect that it would glide across the surface as easily as it glides along sand, but no. The bike will sink and slow to a snail’s crawl if you drive it into a pond, and it takes an annoyingly long 15 seconds to turn it around and drive it out.