Do you enjoy solving hardcore input puzzles disguised as menial office labor while being constantly berated and coerced by a superior? Eternally involved in an endless climb to further prosperity through the ladder of Tomorrow Corporation? Because in Human Resource Machine, you get to do exactly that! As something of a prequel to the indie hit Little Inferno, this game highlights the prowess of the humble office worker.
Aside from the 1984 (by George Orwell, not the year) feel that this title seems to radiate, everything, ironically, clicks so very well throughout this simplistic and complex puzzler. As a new employee of Tomorrow Corporation, you naturally start off at the bottom rung, working long nights in the mail room with a vacant expression on your face.
This entire game is based around an input>output command system that allows players to get their worker… working properly. Everything is fantastic at first. You only get four commands to manage and you’re probably trying to figure out why it is so easy. With every level (an entire year on the in-game calendar) that passes, however, you’re given a brand new command to learn, then utilize. When you reach level ten you start to understand that this seemingly innocent, quirky indie gem can break you faster than any given boss in Bloodborne can.
Seriously, if you’re not good at visualizing sequences or thinking ahead by about five or six steps when confronted with a problem, you are toast. Not only does the game start mixing up how many commands you’re given, but also specific objectives come into play. Suddenly, rather than “put X packages on the out tray”, it turns into “put only three X and two Y package on the out tray”.
The later combination of the ‘copyto’ & ’from’ commands are especially tricky to master when you have to start blending packages in your hands, putting that back down then programming to get another block.
The charming visuals and soundtrack could have been totally neglected during the production of this game, as the crucial focus was clearly the creation of the intricate and wholly interesting puzzles. However, this isn’t the case. A form of ‘animalese’ is used by the character who ‘speak’ to your worker and the cartoon-esque style compliments this, but above all else, the music choice is brilliant.
Even if you want pull out your hair and burn your house to the ground because you’ve gotten stuck on that one level, then the music will calm you down immediately. It’s a mix of guitars and synthesizers, which work to perform a very specific job, in making sure you don’t blow your top off.
Human Resource Machine is a fantastic game, with solid design choices in pacing and how the mechanics envelop the player totally. On top of that, the artistic style and musical tracks are charming in a satirical way, seemingly jabbing fun at the office worker lifestyle which so many find themselves in.
Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux
Release date: 10/15/2015
Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation
Developer: Tomorrow Corporation