The NFL and American Football in general has never interested me. Neither has the Madden series. The more arcade-y and faster NFL Blitz is something I’ve played and enjoyed and while games like that aren’t really made now, Mutant Football League is a game tha tries to scratch the itch left by those games. Try, being the key word here. A spiritual sequel to the original Mutant Football League that released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis, Mutant Football League is a kickstarted game developed by Digital Dreams Entertainment led by the designer of the original Mutant League Football game, Michael Mendheim.
Mutant Football League is a throwback to games like NFL Blitz and it’s own predecessor with a modern touch added to it. It features many different species such as the Aliens, Orcs, Robots etc that you can choose from to carry out chaos and madness on the pitch, or more appropriately, the battlefield. I’m calling it the battlefield because quite honestly, it is war that is waged when you play. From dismemberment, brutal beat downs and literally killing players this game is absolutely crazy and over the top in the most fun way possible. While the game does feature quite a big roster, most are locked and need to be unlocked by completing certain goals. The teams and players are all parodies of teams and players from the actual NFL, most of the time being a “pun” version of their real life counterpart. Even the stadia are close to their real-life counterparts, excluding the crazy, deadly hazards that are present and vary from stadium to stadium. From buzzsaws to alien worms, you can be assured that your life is always on the line. Quite literally.
Graphically, the game offers nothing spectacular. It has a cartoon aesthetic that goes well with the style of the game and adds to the arcade-y and over the top atmosphere. The game is quite heavy on the blood and gore. It’s quite fun to see someone run straight to their death when they turn into fast food for alien worms that are looking for a quick snack. The visual presentation fits in well with the premise of the game and immediately sets the tone of the game from the main menu. While the game did run smoothly most of the time, I did encounter a few performance issues mainly during the half-time minigame, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
Gameplay wise, the game is a lot of fun. Like most American Football games, it features a Play Book from which you choose the play. I did feel that this play book was lacking and could feature more plays. If you’ve played other American Football Arcade games, youll notice that it is quite similar gameplay wise to those. What sets it apart however, are the Dirty Tactics which are, in my opinion, a fun element that adds further absurdity to an already absurd game. You can bribe the referee to call false penalties at crucial moments with the only way of making them unbiased again is by either killing them or bribing them yourself. You can also resurrect dead teammates by using your Power Up. It sounds unfair but these power ups have to be used tactically as they are limited in number and the only way of getting more is by winning at the Halftime game. The halftime that I talked about earlier, is a top-down twin shooter where you have to kill referees and survive until a timer runs out. Speaking of dead teammates earlier, you can beat up and kill the players on the field by literally beating them to death. You can attack them for a short period of time after the whistle has been blown.
The matches are commentated by Tim Kitzrow, a voice quite synonymous with Arcade Sports games, specifically NBA Jam. While the commentary is a good addition it can get quite bland and repetitive after sometime. The sound design is decent but I do feel the tackles and fights lack a bit of “oomph”. They don’t feel as powerful as they should for bone crunching and neck breaking tackles.
The game offers a seasons, playoffs-only, exhibition, and multiplayer online and local modes. The season mode is around 4 to 5 hours long. The game is extremely easy at the easier difficulty and I really recommend playing at the higher difficulties to have a more fun experience. A Dynasty Mode is going to be added in February of 2018 where you start as a team filled with rookies and make your way up.
Mutant Football League is an absurd arcade football game that is quite fun to play, especially on local multiplayer. While it is fun, it can get a little stale soon because of the bad writing that feeI like it was taken straight from the original game, not to mention the bad half-time minigame and somewhat buggy and stiff game. I would only recommend this game if you’re a fan of the classic arcade sports game or if you find this game on sale.
Mutant Football League is out now for the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for $20.