Human Resource Machine Review (iOS)
Human Resource Machine is a puzzle game that has been designed to teach you the foundations of programming. You play as a generic employee starting a new job at the big corporation, and of course you start in the mail room. The first task is to simply move everything from the inbox to the outbox. Simple enough for year one.
Year 1: The Mailroom
To complete the task, you need to drag commands onto your instruction area. The commands you begin with are limited to “inbox” and “outbox” at first, but year two opens up “jump”, year three gives you “copy from” and so on until you build up a large instruction set to use.
Up The Elevator of Success
And you will need to use them. With 42 levels that get increasingly complex there is plenty of challenge. Each puzzle, or year/floor, follows the same system. Take things from the inbox, perform some function on the values, and output the results. Pretty much the exact definition of an algorithm. The functions you need to perform however, do ramp up in difficulty. There are also side rooms off the main story path that are optional and provide an extra challenge, should you fancy it.
An example of such a challenge is the Fibonacci visitor, in which you need to take each value from the inbox and output the values of the Fibonacci sequence up to, but not exceeding, that value.
On top of the side challenges there are also size and speed challenges for every level. In some levels it’s not possible to complete both challenges with the same set of instructions, so you will have to revisit to try a different method.
Learning at a lower level
While you do get a lot of commands to use, they are all what’s known as “low level” commands. There’s one puzzle in which you need to take the first object from the inbox and multiply it by next object from the inbox, and output the result. However, you don’t have a multiply command, only add, bump + or – and jump. So there in lies the challenge.
Just a cog in the Human Resource Machine
There is some sort of story that goes along with Human Resource Machine, but it doesn’t do anything to explain why you are doing the tasks that are asked of you. The story is simply played to you through a set of videos in between some of the years (levels) of the game. Really I pays no bearing on the overall game and can be completely ignored. It’s not all that interesting either really.
The style of the game is nice however, in keeping with the theme of you just being a generic employee no-one refers to you by name. Even your save file has “employee-1” on it. All the graphics are brown and grey (other than the items from the inbox) and even the tone of your boss is monotone warbling.
Learning is fun
That’s the great thing about Human Resource Machine; it is a fun way to learn about programming. Even if you don’t have any interest in programming but still like challenging puzzles, and are at least slightly interested in mathematics challenges, then you will find Human Resource Machine fun and interesting. That is potentially the only drawback however, that it will only suit certain people’s interests. But if the above sounds like your cup of tea, then I can highly recommend Human Resource Machine
if(scoreOutOfTen == true) score = 8;