Review: Human Resource Machine

I love programming, and I love games. Games about programming are either awesome, or frustrating. Thankfully, Human Resource Machine is the former.

About the game

Human Resource Machine is a game by Tomorrow Corporation, the creators of Little Inferno.

You play the role of an office worker in the mailroom of a corporation, processing the objects in the Inbox and moving them to the Outbox based on a given rule. You have a set of instructions that you can give to your office worker, who will follow those instructions to the letter. If your instruction set, or program, meets the requirements, you are promoted, and move up the next level. But watch out – robots are coming for your job!

The puzzles become increasingly more difficult as you rise through the ranks. At higher levels, your performance is evaluated on speed (the number of steps that your office worker takes) and efficiency (the number of instructions you give your office worker). Many times, both of these optimisations can be performed with the same program, however sometimes you’ll need to restructure a program to meet one or the other goals.

The controls are simple: you have access to a set of instructions, which you drag and drop in any order as you see fit. You then tell your office worker to follow those instructions, or perform one instruction at a time so that you can see what went wrong (you’ll be doing this a lot!)

An interesting feature is that you can share your solutions with others via text. For instance, this solution (for the first level, Mailroom):

 

Human Resource Machine – Mailroom

translates to the following solution which you can email/post/share:

This pseudocode can then be pasted directly into the game, allowing you to improve on other’s solutions.

In the image above, you may also notice three tabs above the puzzle goal. Each of these tabs can contain a solution, so you can have up to three solutions at a time for a given puzzle.

Dialogue/story

Give that this game is based on logic puzzles, there isn’t a lot of dialogue, but it fits in with the theme of the game.

Graphics

The art style is in a similar vein to Tomorrow Corporation’s other games – simple, colourful, and incredibly lovely to look at.

Audio

The soundtrack fits in with the game: simple and unobtrusive, but so wonderful. It’s a great soundtrack that blends into the background and allows you to concentrate on the puzzle in hand.

Verdict

Human Resource Machine is a great game for logic puzzle and/or programming enthusiasts. As an independent developer, Tomorrow Corporation deserves your money.

Bonus

You can get the Soundtrack for free!

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