While True: Learn () (Mobile, PC)

I never pass up the chance to review educational games.  I’ve always had an interest in them, and it baffles me why some companies shy away from calling their games educational.  I’ve reviewed everything from games that introduce preschoolers to early concepts as well as ones that teach math skills to elementary school students.  But it’s clear the way of the future is with computers, and if you want a way to make it big, it’s important to get a head start in programming and coding.  So that’s why I’m pleased to see a game like While True: Learn ().  Yes that’s the title.  It teaches logic skills used in programming and coding in a visual way.  It’s available on mobile devices and PC, but reviewed on iPad here.

There is a story to this game.  One night a programmer is stumped on some errors in his code, and takes a short break away from the computer.  When he comes back, he sees that his cat has somehow fixed the errors in his code!  So now the coder decides to make a program that will recognize and translate the cat’s speech, so he can understand what the cat did to fix his program.

So in the game, you are at your desk and receive emails.  Each one is a little mission puzzle for you to solve.  The puzzles involve nodes, which are boxes that you can assign to do various things.  Mostly just sorting colors and shapes.  You must drag and drop these nodes and connect them to other nodes via lines to reach an outcome, like having a certain amount of colors or shapes at the end.  You can earn medals based on how few nodes you use to make the program more efficient.  In this way, you can also earn more money which you can use to buy decorations for your desk and outfits for your cat.  Just make sure to have enough money for the server fees!  There are side missions to earn extra money and give you more challenges, too.

I had two main problems with the game, though.  One, I found it extremely difficult.  But I think that could just be me.  I don’t think my brain is wired to understand programming very well.  I’ve tried dabbling in it in the past a few times.  As a kid, I bought a book on BASIC programming and found it to be very boring.  Many years later I took a computer math class in high school and barely passed it, so yeah, I don’t think I’m cut out for that stuff.  I’d rather play games, not make them.  So I had a hard time wrapping my head around this game, too.

I really wish there was some kind of hint feature (if there is, I couldn’t find it), and because of this, I didn’t feel like I really learned anything, other than I should stay away from programming, which isn’t a good message to send in a game.  I wish they would give out hints or solutions in the game if you get stuck.  Also, I think you’d have to be very good at applying what you’ve learned to be able to carry over the skills in this game to actual programming.  At least that’s how it felt to me.  Me, personally, I still think one of the best educational games that teach programming concepts is the old Nintendo DS title WarioWare D.I.Y., as it teaches how ‘if, then’ statements work and what they do in the game.

The other main problem I had with the game is that the text is way too small.  I had to put on my reading glasses to see the text in the game, and I was using my iPad with a big screen.  I don’t usually have to do that!  I think it’s because the game was originally on PC, and probably works better in that format.  But even though I did have some problems with the game, I’d still recommend this to teachers or anyone who has an interest in learning programming and coding skills, as it’s only a few bucks to buy and download.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Although the game is best for older kids because of the high level of reading and logic skills needed.  I have a brother who is learning programming in school, and I’m going to tell him about this game and see if he’s interested. I’m also going to give him the first edition of the Classic Game Design book I reviewed a while back for his birthday, but don’t tell him I said that!

One Response to “While True: Learn () (Mobile, PC)”

  1. I was really into the idea of edutainment games a little while ago. I still like the idea but see very few of them on consoles. What are people afraid of, learning something new?

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!