I. Love. Puzzles. I also have a fondness for coding-based puzzle games in particular, so when I was offered the chance to review while True: learn(), a puzzle game focused around machine learning (with added cats), I jumped at the chance. After eighteen hours, several attempts at its many levels, and a two-hour nap later, I’m writing this review.

That face when your cat is a better programmer than you

while True: learn()‘s puzzles have a simple premise. You’re given inputs, outputs, and blocks. The objective is to place the blocks in such a way that you get the right outputs in the right places. Simple, right? Wrong. The challenge comes from optimising, optimising, optimising. ‘Cause you see, while you can solve every puzzle with the absolute slowest, clunkiest, unreliable solution you can possibly think of, it turns out while True: learn() isn’t just a puzzle game. It’s a tycoon game too. And I don’t play well with tycoon games. But more on that later.

I spent hour after hour tweaking settings and swapping connections because every level has three degrees of success: bronze, silver and gold; and of course, I wanted that gold every, single, time. ‘Cause getting gold means you get more money, bringing us back to the unfortunate tycoon aspects of this game.

I spent faaaaaaar too long on this level going for that gold ranking

Money is used on “C-Bay” to buy decorations (useless), new nodes (useful but not vital), hardware upgrades (the best) and cat skins (OK, I lied, these are the best). Not only that, but you can invest your money in start-up companies with the hopes of earning a profit. Every start-up requires building a process and you want it to run smoothly so that you profit but oh no, it’s running at a loss, I guess you’d better drop out now before you go bankrupt. For the life of me, I could not make a profitable piece of software for any of these start-ups past the tutorial. Ultimately I ended up skipping them entirely because it just wasn’t worth investing the time building a massive program so it could inevitably lose me money needed for even more cat skins.

Outside of the dreaded tycoon elements, I found tinkering with the game’s challenges addictive and engaging. It constantly throws new mechanics at you and provides various resources to learn with too, including a group Discord, online videos, articles and explanations of how the functions you use work in the real world, whatever that is. I do wish there was a list of all the tool-tips and information I could easily revisit though; I’d like to remind myself of how certain tycoon elements actually work.

Needless to say, this particular start-up was not profitable… Sure looks cool though

I do have a few other small nitpicks to mention too. Firstly, I accidentally exited levels far too many times, but fortunately there is auto-save so it’s not a major issue. My second complaint though is the music, the one track of music. That loops. And loops. And loops. I’m not even kidding when I tell you that my housemate threatened to kill me if I didn’t turn it down.

However overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with while True: learn(). If you’re a puzzle fan or curious about machine learning, I highly recommend picking this one up because despite its sometimes finicky interface and tycoooooooooon elements, I know I’ll be diving back in to polish off those final elusive achievements before I move on to another game.

while True: learn() was developed by: luden.io

Point of Sale: Steam

$13: Did I mention, it has cats?

A review copy was provided by the developer

Stevie Patamon has awarded while True: learn() The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.