STAFF REVIEW of 3 out of 10: Season One (Xbox One)


Thursday, March 18, 2021.
by Adam Dileva

3 out of 10: Season One Box art Given that I primarily game on my Xbox, this sometimes means that certain games that aren’t on console slip by me now and then. 3 out of 10: Season One was one of these games that I had no idea even existed until it came to console. I’m beyond thrilled that I got to experience 3 out of 10, as it was immensely enjoyable and had me laughing almost nonstop. Released last Summer on PC, 3 out of 10: Season One has now made its way to consoles and feels like a completely natural fit for chilling on the couch with a controller in hand, especially since it’s episodic and plays out somewhat like a sitcom, so the time commitment isn’t terribly high.

With a narrative that is a comedic take on the game industry as a whole, 3 out of 10 tells the tale about the worst game studio out there and their employees at Shovelworks Studios. They are known for their terrible games and hope that their latest game will finally score higher than a 3 out of 10. Its premise is absolutely silly and absurd, but that’s what makes it so entertaining and memorable.

The story begins with the newest member to the team, Midge, as she is hired on to replace Javier, who seemed to spontaneously combust. Thing is, she was simply coming in for an interview and then finds out that Javier’s entrails and blood are still covering his desk after exploding. This doesn’t seem to really phase any of the other team members though. Midge is very level headed and is trying to figure out why the studio has its reputation for making terrible games and just how anything actually gets done at the studio. So it will fall on her to solve problems they encounter, like returning interns to the school they were created, posing a toy mannequin for the lead artist and numerous other absurd tasks.


She came just at the right time, as their newest game, Surfing with Sharks, is early in development and has announced. But this game has a twist; it’s like an endless runner, but get this, it has an end. That’s right, an endless runner with an end, breeding a completely new genre; the endfull runner. You can start to see the type of humor used throughout even from its opening moments with absurd premises like this.

Season One is comprised of 5 separate episodes, each lasting roughly a 30-40 minutes or so given how much you want to take the time in the minigames to earn stars. The overall premise is that much of the game plays out like a sitcom, watching events unfold just like on TV. Eventually the team will run into some sort of self-inflicted issue which is where the gameplay comes in. This will vary each time though, giving a wide variety of game mechanics and styles from across numerous genres. Better yet, everything is fully animated and voiced amazingly, giving each character just enough screen time for you to really start to enjoy their quirkiness.

Kevin is almost like the leader of the team, but very naive. Ben is the cool guy that just wants to have some peace and quiet and get some work done but never can because of the antics always going on. Francine works for HR and is grounded in reality. Vyper is a Wolverine lookalike that has a wall of energy drinks at his desk and is clearly the muscle of the team with his intensity. Pylon is a green skinned tech artist that is the quirky and weird one of the bunch, that is if you consider someone that chugs ketchup like its water weird I guess. Joan is the middle aged lady that runs the office but has some serious Battle Royale skills. Jeb is your typical clueless boss that wears no shoes and eventually wants to pivot the game in a whole new direction halfway through development. Lastly is Timothy 3000, the office robot that is designed to do anything you ask, but can't actually do anything at all.


Each episode is paced very well, never overstaying its welcome, and given that they are about a half hour or so each I really don’t want to give much away about each one’s narrative, though there is of course an overlying plot to tie them all together and setup the next Season (due April by the way!). It’s almost as if each episode tries to outdo the last, becoming more and more absurd and ridiculous, but that’s what makes it work so well with its setting. Spoofing what it’s like to work at a small studio, the writing is done extremely well, as humour can be very hit or miss when it comes to games, but 30 out of 10 absolutely kills it on every front. I literally snort laughed more than once.

You walk around in a 3D world within the office, but characters and objects are 2D, akin to like a Paper Mario style but more cel-shaded. It’s a subtle effect, but when the camera moves with you it looks quite slick on the presentation side. Objects and people that can be interacted with will show an ‘A’ button prompt above it, allowing you to speak with team members or inspect certain objects. A keen eye will find certain rubber ducks and cereal boxes that have hidden stars if you take the time, which will be added to your final scoring at the end of each episode.

During certain story moments, you’ll be thrown into a minigame that varies. This is based on the situation you find yourself in and usually only last a few minutes tops. These are quite basic and only have a couple of controls to learn, but breaks up the monotony of simply watching the story play out without any interaction. You can earn a maximum of five stars per minigame, though you aren’t required to earn any to progress if you simply want to enjoy and watch the episodes. Better yet, you can completely skip every minigame or chat sequence if you desire. These games are so varied that it would take some time to even list all of them, but there’s almost something from every genre. Are they great? No, but I think that’s part of the meta they were going for given Shovelworks Studios’ reputation. That said, the stealth minigames were the only times I wanted to skip any of them.


As you explore the office, you’ll get to play the latest build of Surfing with Sharks, seeing how the game progresses in development each episode. It’s a terrible endfull runner with odd design decisions thrown in, but that’s the point. You can even find classic games in the office that resemble Pong and other primitive era of gaming. These aren’t required to be played, but offers some variety.

Having released originally on PC one episode at a time, the console version had to wait, but we got all episodes at once plus a handful of extra exclusive features. On an Xbox Series X you can expect 4K 60FPS, but there’s a ton of other bonuses like a soundtrack, concept art, actor profiles, director commentary and of course, a big head mode. Who doesn’t love a big head mode? The director commentary was fascinating to hear the behind the scene insights and you also got to freely explore the studio doing so.

I really enjoyed 3 out of 10’s visual aesthetic, as every character looks unique and fits their voiced personality perfectly. There’s a lot of small details in its world that didn’t go unnoticed if you take the time to look, plus, as a Canadian I have to give bonus points for including a Canadian Spider-Moose. By far though, the standout is the brilliant writing and accompanying voice acting across the board. Every character is written so well, and even though the setting and situations are completely absurd, they all react exactly as I think they would given their over the top personalities.

For being priced under $13 CAD, you must absolutely pick up 3 out of 10: Season One if you enjoy over the top humor and want a relaxing experience that you can choose to sit back and watch, or challenge yourself to earn all of the stars available. While many might think that they’ve jumped the shark, 3 out of 10: Season One is simply a ton of fun that had my laughing throughout all five episodes. I’ve already marked Season Two’s release date on my schedule.

**3 Out of 10: Season One was reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10

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