Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X|S
December 5, 2023
Prepare to embark on an expedition into the mystical realm of Ellian, a world where the resounding clinks of hammer striking anvil fill the air and the artistry of blacksmithing beckons. In ‘While the Iron’s Hot,’ you will immerse yourself in the role of a journeyman blacksmith, donning well-worn boots and setting out to demonstrate your skill and dedication in pursuit of mastery. This puzzle-crafting adventure is a wholesome addition to your collection.
As you embark on your journey towards mastering the art of blacksmithing, the story unravels with a dynamic protagonist who can be customised to suit your preferences. The first hurdle is to breathe new life into the dilapidated village of Stal, which serves as the backdrop for a thrilling adventure to revive Ellian’s former grandeur. With each passing moment, you will be tested and pushed to your limits to demonstrate your blacksmithing skills and prove that you are truly worthy of being called a master smith. Whether it is crafting intricate weapons or designing awe-inspiring armour, every step on this path will bring you closer to achieving your ultimate goal. So brace yourself for a tale filled with twists and turns as you forge ahead towards becoming a legendary blacksmith.
As you embark on your adventures in the world of Ellian, you will encounter various gameplay perspectives. While towns feature a side-scrolling format, traversing the landscape and moving between towns is facilitated by a top-down grid system. Initially, this may seem monotonous; however, early on in the game, you are granted access to a portable forge. Another key detail of the world view mode is that it enables you to manipulate terrain as an innovative means of gathering materials. Along your journey, you will come across strangers who offer helpful clues and advice as well as aid in navigating through the countryside. Additionally, you have the opportunity to meet a cute Ox whom you can dress up in costumes.
The game presents a novel departure from the usual simulation encounter, immersing you in the persona of a blacksmith venturing into Ellian, participating in commissions and partaking in mini-games to establish your reputation. The gameplay is an enjoyable blend of exploration and crafting, providing an innovative spin on the simulation category. This game offers players a refreshing experience that deviates from the norm by allowing them to delve into the world of blacksmithing, which is not a common theme for many games. You get to take on various tasks as you explore Ellian with its unique setting and characters while showcasing your skills as a blacksmith. Additionally, mini-games add an extra layer of difficulty and complexity to the gameplay experience.
The absence of timed challenges in While the Iron’s Hot is definitely an interesting choice for the gameplay, as there exists no urgency to accomplish assigned tasks within a stipulated duration. This can lead to an inundation of work orders without any compelling reason to fulfil them besides monetary benefits. Such a feature contributes to the farming simulation reminiscent of Stardew Valley that characterises this game.
Crafting is a key element of While the Iron’s Hot and there are several steps involved when creating an item. A set of nails needs raw iron smelted, then pressed into rods, then combined. Each step of the process has its own mini-game that goes alongside it. They are by no means challenging, which makes it hard to gauge the reasoning for them being there at all.
The game provides a forge upgrade early on where you can do multiple crafts at the same time, instead of having to play the mini-game for each individual piece. Thank goodness, a wise choice! The game allows 3 pinned recipes to be toggled on the side of the screen at a time, and I found myself needing more. Accessing the crafting book wasn’t available mid-craft, so I had to exit out to remind myself of the pieces I needed. These examples show how there are some extra quality-of-life updates that would really assist in making this game more enjoyable.
- Engaging story
- Charming visuals
- Humorous touch
- Quality-of-life improvements needed
- Limited guidance on material gathering
- Bug frustration
While the Iron’s Hot offers diverse gameplay packed with an immersive narrative, innovative ideas, and crafting depth. However, there are some quality-of-life improvements needed, mini-games lack challenge, and you may find yourself with an overflow of work orders without incentives to complete them. Overall, the game delivers a captivating blacksmithing experience with some limitations that may unfortunately impact player satisfaction.