For being a small 3 man team, the Tomorrow Corporation has an excellent history. They have created great puzzle games like World of Goo on Wii and PC and the launch title for WiiU, Little Inferno. Each game has its own unique twist on the puzzle genre, and their newest product, Human Resource Machine, is no different.
Recently released for the WiiU, the story behind Human Resource Machine is simple. You are an inferior peon working in a large factory as you try to nudge your way to the top. As you solve puzzles, and the years pass by, you will slowly reach your final goal.
The game ends as quickly as it begins, but one great thing about the Tomorrow Corporation is how they hide allegories inside their games that reflect our own lives in many ways. Of course, like all of their games, this one is up to the gamer to decipher and interpret in their own personal way. They’ve never been one to hit you over the head with a blunt message.
One thing you will notice when turning on Human Resource Machine is the unique art style. This is something that has carried over through each game, making you feel like they are all set in the same universe, however odd that may sound for a puzzle game. While some may find the gothic, Tim Burton-inspired art style off-putting, I actually find it very charming. It definitely feels like the Tomorrow Corporation stamp of approval, and would be greatly missed if they ever decide to change it.
Like mentioned above, each game has its own unique take on a different puzzle genre. World of Goo was a physics based puzzles, Little Inferno was all about matching the right combinations, and Human Resource Machine takes something as complicated as programming and coding and brings it to the masses.
The way you solve puzzles in Human Resource Machine is by programming a robot to do your job. In a nut shell: you move boxes from one side of the room to the other, which starts off fairly easy at first, but quickly escalates into mental gymnastics. Your brain will definitely get a work out.
You start with basic commands like “Inbox” and “Outbox”, and over time they give you “Add”, “Subtract”, and “Jump”, and many others. This game is fantastic for anyone that may have an inkling of interest in computer programming, even if it is a very simplistic version. However, this may also be the game’s greatest downfall. It requires a very special kind of thinking to solve these puzzles, so if you don’t have the mind of a programmer, you may find yourself at a disadvantage.
Each level has one puzzle to solve, but its less about solving it and more about how you solve it. You need to complete the stage in as few moves as possible, and it gives you two unique goals for each stage. If you are looking for hints to solving puzzles you will need to turn your eyes to Miiverse, as the game is not the best at pointing you in the right direction.
If you are looking to add more playtime to your WiiU, this game is a good choice. The art style is great, the concept is original, but you definitely need a programmers mind. This may be the least accessible game from the Tomorrow Corporation. While fun, I feel this is the weakest of their games on the Nintendo platform. However, if you’ve already played the excellent World of Goo and Little Inferno, and want more from the Tomorrow Corporation, its definitely worth checking out.
Human Resource Machine was reviewed on the WiiU.