While the Iron's Hot was provided by Humble Games for review. Thank you!
There's something extremely rewarding to me when I play games where you take on a particular job and start from the bottom to work your way up. Diving head first into a job, progressively getting better, new equipment, making money, growing my own shop or restaurant, it can feel quite rewarding as everything develops. While the Iron's Hot is similar to that, focusing on growing a blacksmithing business and restoring the illustrious blacksmithing village. And, while I did have fun playing it, the speed and process of actually smithing ends up being too slow and repetitive.
The gameplay loop revolves around getting resources, smithing items, and fulfilling orders. As you do, you will get money and progress in the story to unlock new materials, which can be used to upgrade your town and improve your business. These improvements can range from creating bulk quantities to upgrading storage space, or even bypassing the minigames that you need to play when smithing. Some of these end up being essential, like the bulk quantities, and make the process much more streamlined. Ultimately, even with this, it can feel like a slog.
There are 4 parts to creating an item. First, you have to smelt the ore, which has bellows attached to possibly bring out an extra ingot from each ore. Then, we have to mold the item into specific shapes. These new items are used to craft the pieces to make items. Next, we need to grind these crafted shapes. Some tools require grinded versions of these items to make. And finally, we craft the tool entirely. The molding and grinding have minigames attached, but the other two don't.
Due to the minigames and how slow crafting can be, this process feels sluggish and tedious. The ore smelting can be automatic, which is nice, but the constant minigames for the middle two tasks and the way you craft is slower than it needs to be. For crafting, you have to put each item in one at a time, and you can only pin 3 recipes for items on your screen at any moment. So, you will either need to keep going to your recipe book to figure it out or memorize if you have more than 3 orders and are trying to craft everything at once.
Otherwise, While the Iron's Hot is a solid experience. I love the visual style and the world, as well as the characters and story. There are some nice elements here and I love some of the characters you come across. I am also happy that there is a mobile forge that you get, since you will end up traveling around the world and you can't necessarily bring the stationary forge with you. This mobile way is a nice compromise and allows you to make items wherever you go.
If you are hoping to reforge the blacksmith's village wherever you go, you will be quite pleased as the game runs flawlessly on the Steam Deck! No changes are needed to enjoy this game at a solid 60 FPS with under 8W battery drain. This means we can get around 5 hours of battery life on one charge of the LCD Steam Deck.
As for settings, there isn't a ton to modify here. We have changing language, audio bars, modifying controls, as well as toggles for screenshake, controller vibrations, showing tutorials, and showing outline buttons.
While the Iron's Hot does seem to support 16:10 resolutions, which is odd because most of the game is in 16:9 (1280x720). When pausing, it will show the game's version number in the bottom right corner and it is inside the bottom black bar, which means it recognizes and utilizes the full Deck screen, but the rest of the game doesn't. It does have full cloud save and controller support though!
While the Iron's Hot is an intriguing game that falls behind in some of its core areas. It is a beautiful game with some nice music and story, but the core gameplay is a bit slow when it comes to crafting. I like the ideas the game has, but it lacks some streamlined elements that would make it much less of a slog to go through. Luckily, it plays perfectly on the Steam Deck and there's no issues you will face when playing. I can see this being a great game to play on the Deck after some patches to fix these issues, but until then, there may be some better alternatives.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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While the Iron's Hot takes you on a blacksmithing adventure that runs great on the Steam Deck, but it can be a slog in its gameplay loop.