3 Out of 10 is the latest game from developer and publisher Terrible Posture Games, a team that is probably best known for bullet hell game Mothergunship. This is a noticeable change of pace from the developer’s previous action-packed releases, with this latest title being touted as a “playable sitcom.” That means that players can expect a slightly less frantic pace this time around.
In terms of gameplay, 3 Out of 10 is a curious mixture not only in terms of trying to blur the lines between television and video games but also how it blends together so many different genres. Essentially, the game is a series of cut scenes that are linked together with a wide variety of mini-games, although there is also some brief exploration for players to engage in as well. The majority of 3 Out of 10 is largely spent as a passive viewer rather than an active player who is directing what happens.
It’s certainly an interesting concept, even if it is not entirely unique as there is a gluttony of walking simulators available across practically every imaginable platform. 3 Out of 10 stands out due to the way it takes almost all agency away from the player. In fact, the entire game can be experienced completely as a TV show, with options available to skip any gameplay section or scene entirely and fast-forward through conversations.
Almost the entire bulk of actual gameplay comes in the mini-games mentioned earlier. These are made up of small modes that tie into the story. There’s a block mover puzzle when players are trying to reach an intern in a crowded closet, a cover-based shooting section, and even a pinball game to get through. While none of the mini-games are particularly memorable, they help to break up the story and are varied enough that they don’t become stale and look forward to the next challenge.
Of course, for a game that is attempting to focus more on the narrative than gameplay, the story has to be pretty good to keep players invested and compelled to go through each episode. The first season plays out in five episodes that are roughly around 30 minutes in length, although this can vary a little depending on how many times players tackle each mini-game. The plot centers on Midge, who gets a job at game developer Shovelworks Studios – a company that has never had one of its releases score better than 3 out of 10.
The story starts out feeling all rather innocent and innocuous at first, although it certainly has some wacky moments. By the end of the first episode, things start to get more mysterious and sinister as it turns out that everything is not as it seems. For some, 3 Out of 10 is probably too much of a sitcom when it comes to the story. Each episode is generally quite self-contained so that they don’t contribute to the larger arc effectively, meaning that the plot kind of just meanders around so that it is not brought to a satisfying conclusion at the end of the season. However, that doesn’t stop each episode from bursting with humor while exploring some hilarious and interesting themes.
What 3 Out of 10 does have, though, is a great cast of characters, ranging from an over-the-top tough guy to a boss that’s willing to jump at any opportunity to earn some extra cash. Each of the individuals that players come across has their own personalities and feels well-rounded, helping to provide an immersive world that feels believable.
Technically, 3 Out of 10 runs pretty smoothly on the Switch, outside of some incredibly long loading times at the start of each episode. The art style is reminiscent of the cel-shaded look that Borderlands has, although it’s not quite as sharp and is definitely more colorful. The characters are all well animated, to such a degree that without the gameplay elements, most people would probably assume this was a genuine cartoon airing on television.
3 Out of 10 has plenty of funny moments and a collection of strong characters that can genuinely draw out laughs. There’s some nice satire about the gaming industry and the title strikes a good balance between having stereotypical characters that are quite loud but remain likable and never become annoying. The only major problem is that it is simply so short and ends on a cliffhanger, a ploy almost certainly designed to get players to come back for season two. But if it continues the trend set during the first five episodes, that should not be a big problem anyway.
3 Out of 10 is available on PC and will launch on Nintendo Switch on March 3, 2021. Screen Rant was provided with a digital code for the Nintendo Switch version of the game for the purposes of this review.