Review: Human Resource Machine

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Title: Human Resource Machine
Status: Released
Graphics: 2D
Genre: Casual, Indie, Puzzle
Platform: Windows, Mac

Developer: Tomorrow Corporation
Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation

Human Resource Machine is a game where you must create “programs” in order to get a little guy to perform tasks set out for you to accomplish.

The game doesn’t have much of a story besides “machines show up and take people’s jobs”, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s not really a game that anyone would buy or play for the story.

Programs are written by dragging and dropping commands given to you. Available to you are the “Inbox”, which serves as the “Input” for your programs, the “Outbox”, the “Output”, and the “Floor”, which serves as a “memory” of sorts that you can read and write to in order to store variables.

The puzzles themselves start out really easy, starting with taking the numbers from the “Inbox” and putting them into the “Outbox”, however they get much more complex later on, going from doing multiplication while only adding, to alphabetizing zero-terminated strings. But don’t worry about the terminology, you don’t actually need to know what a “string” is or what “zero-terminated” means to play the game, it’ll explain all the technical stuff to you, leaving the logic part of it for you get frustrated with.

But don’t worry about the terminology, it’ll explain all the technical stuff to you.

The code doesn’t resemble any of the more “modern” or “high-level” coding languages, it’s pretty much just Assembly, but actually readable. While only a madman would ever code in Assembly, the “HRM Code” (for lack of a better name) is easy to understand once you know what it does. For example, ADD will, well, add whatever you point it to on the floor to what you’re holding. SUB will do the same, just subtract instead of adding.

My only real complaint about coding are that comments have to be drawn and cannot be typed, making for some funky labels, and that using a lot of JUMP commands will make your code hard to follow (but it’s a good lesson why GOTOs are evil and should never be used and the dangers of spaghetti code).

In short, it’s a fun, casual game about programming that will challenge non-programmers and programmers alike. Would recommend to anyone interested in logic puzzles.

 

 

PROS AND CONS

PROS

  • Explains concepts well enough that non-programmers can play
  • Challenging enough for programmers that want to obtain all of the optimization challenges
  • Easy to pick up, hard to master.

CONS

  • Pretty short (~5 hours and at before last puzzle)
  • All code must be done by dragging and dropping
  • No way to add whitespace besides adding empty comments, making code harder to read and cramped.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Minimum System Requirements:

    Minimum (WIndows):

    • OS: XP or later
      Processor: 1.5 Ghz CPU
      Memory: 1 GB RAM
      Graphics: Supports Shader Model 2.0 or greater
      DirectX: Version 9.0c
      Hard Drive: 200 MB avaiable space

    Minimum (Mac):

    • OS: OSX 10.7 or later
      Processor: 1.5 Ghz CPU
      Memory: 1 GB RAM
      Graphics: Supports Shader Model 2.0 or greater
      Hard Drive: 200 MB avaiable space

 

 

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