Game: While the Iron’s Hot
Genre: Simulation, Adventure, Puzzle
System: Steam (Windows) (Also available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox & PlayStation)
Developer | Publisher: Bontemps Games | Humble Game
Controller Support: No
Price: US $19.99 | UK £15.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: December 5th, 2023
Review code used with many thanks to Humble Games PR!
With pixel art and mini-game crafting, While the Iron’s Hot looks like it’d be an instant favorite for me. Also, promising exploration, puzzles, quests and side quests, stamina, and daytime cycle, but does it all come together to forge a magnificent whole?
While the Iron’s Hot Story
Our main character just wants to be a master blacksmith, so he sets off to find his way to a land where masters of assorted crafts make their homes. For some reason or another, they currently don’t have any blacksmiths so he can monopolize the market a bit.
Like many games, this one opens with getting on a boat and the boat crashing, oddly right where you wanted to end up anyway. Lucky break! You make friends with someone who used to be a blacksmith, but he can’t actually teach or help you much.
You quickly get basic materials and recipes, then meet the village of carpenters. There’s a bulletin board of simple requests, which refills daily, and that’s a lot of fun just to keep providing people with what they want. You make money in the process and potential payment in recipes and resources. You also figure out your main questline, you must find each village, impress each leader, and then you’ll be declared the master. Along the way, there are more side quests, environmental difficulties to overcome, and even some areas with platforming, puzzles, and enemies.
Did You Say Platforming?
Yes! There’s just enough needing to jump around, climb up and down, and push and pull objects to make a way that it actually frustrates me. There’s not enough to make it feel like a main part of While the Iron’s Hot, but sometimes you can’t progress until you pass these parts that don’t feel like the crafting game you’d been playing the rest of the time.
Sometimes you have to carry around key items for solving puzzles, and I wished they’d been stored in a distinct part of my inventory instead of making me sometimes have to throw things away to carry these temporary pieces.
While the Iron’s Hot zones had almost a point-and-click adventure feel to them, which could have been a really fun element. However, in my opinion, it could use some quality-of-life help and some rebalancing. There’s not much really wrong with how it’s done, and it isn’t especially challenging, but I think you should know about it before you commit to While the Iron’s Hot.
Sights and Sounds
A treat for your eyes and ears, there’s a pleasant style throughout. I really liked the design of the buildings, creatures, and little details everywhere. I did find that the characters seemed pretty unremarkable, but thankfully, when you need someone for a quest, an exclamation point appears over its head.
Different areas were visually distinct from each other, so it didn’t have the problem of making me lose track of where I was. Every detail regarding the crafting mini-games was handled well to feel satisfying instead of monotonous. Even the parts of the menu and inventory navigation that were clunky to work had a nice look to them.
With excellent writing and a satisfying crafting loop, there’s plenty of time to be spent enjoying While the Iron’s Hot. It’s a nice option for passing the time between your other gaming adventures, though it may not stand well enough on its own to hold your attention as a must-have. If you don’t enjoy the puzzles and exploration as much as the crafting, you can take your time coming back to those parts as you’re in the mood.
Final Verdict: I Like it.