Fourth quarter, up by 18 points, first down. You’ve got this in the bag, it’s a won game. Then your quarterback gets jumped by the offensive line. Now you have to forfeit because your last substitution just had his brain squished against the astroturf. Enemy team wins, you lose. That’s the gist of Mutant Football League, and it’s what every sports games should aspire to be.
Old School Cool
A spiritual successor to the original Mutant League Football, an insane game even by today’s standards, Mutant Football League reboots this long lost franchise.
As a fan from way back, I can very clearly recall the wet and wild Mutant League games on the Sega Genesis, the few oddball toys, and forty (I know, right?) episode long cartoon series. As such it was no surprise that the concept of ultra violent monster men playing football perfectly translated over to a 3D NFL Blitz inspired action sports game.
Mutant Football League plays out exactly how you’d expect. You pick your punny team (Blitzburg Steelheads etc), you choose from a selection of goofy plays (all loaded down with dirty tricks like super speed and bribing the ref), then you try to stomp a mudhole in the other team. Occasionally, you might even try to score points. It really is the Sega Genesis game all grown up, right down to the silly player names and stage hazards.
New School Sensibilities
This is a complete throwback title, the football equivalent of Dusk. It plays like an old school game because it is an old school game. However, instead of relying on nostalgia to carry it, Mutant Football League takes what fans loved from the previous entry, ramps up the good stuff, and puts it on modern hardware with online play.
The game has everything from the over-the-top violence, to the legendary Tim Kitzrow of NBA Jam and NFL Blitz fame behind the microphone. Having Kitzrow narrate every bloodbath while your pack of animals tears the enemy team apart is the best kind of throwback. However, just because it has retro roots doesn’t mean MFL is short on features.
Released in 2017, MFL has seen consistent updates. This isn’t a bare bones blood bowl. Local and online multiplayer are both on board along with equippable weapons and a whole host of different fields to play on. The fields feature everything from landmines to buzz saws.
Dynasty mode lets you play GM to your favorite team of misfits. While dynasty mode includes everything a player would expect with a customizable playbook (you ARE running all dirty tricks, right?), an XP system to tweak your Legendary Players, and a host of championships to win, it is a little simple. However, I definitely enjoyed it for what it was as the humor of the series can really carry the more basic moments at times. There’s just something inherently funny about having to send a xenomorph to rehab or bail an ogre out of jail.
Same Ol’ Mutant League
Dynasty is not the most robust campaign mode in the game, and MFL does not feature the most in depth, cutting edge football experience of the current console generation. Walking in with those expectations is judging a fish by how well it climbs a tree. If you want a button down football game with all the minutia options intact you’d be better off with a more realistic title.
Mutant Football League is a game for people who want old school sports games that are cartoony, arcade style play. This isn’t a normal football game so why not give your werewolf running back a chainsaw? You might not be able to score the most points in every game, but Mutant Football League lets you kill all of the opposing team’s quarterbacks so you can win by forfeit.
Mutant Football League is available now on Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.