Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!
Welcome to Mutant Football League, the greatest football league this side of Andromeda! For those of you who haven’t been initiated to the way we operate things here at the MFL, we are an inter-species football league that allows all forms of night-spooks to compete in a competitive form of football, the likes of which you’ve never seen!
We allow all forms of creatures to play, whether they be Aliens from Ridley Scott’s mind, or Ogres from some high-fantasy setting, we allow them to compete in the most violent displays. Aside from the chance of death, we’re pretty much exactly like that old football league that used to keep those Earth people entertained for generations.
In fact, Mutant Football League is pretty much your basic football game. You get to make calls of which plays you’ll run, ultimately fail to follow through, and end up with some gargantuan pileup as you watch your poor tiny players be crushed into fertilizer by your opponent’s defensive line. The game does offer the ability to run an actual playoff campaign and fight for your right to play in the Mayhem Bowl, or you can even just play a Mayhem Bowl by itself and put any team you want in there! Which, is a little silly, seeing as the Mayhem Bowl is just another match, which can be set up in the skirmish section of the game. This does mean that there are two forms of skirmishes, and also two forms of campaign – one that includes Pre-Season, and one that only includes the Playoffs.
But, there is a special flair that this game adds to the concept of football, and that comes in the Dirty Tricks section, allowing you to activate special tactics, such as bribing the ref so you can kill some of your opponents. You could even grow one of your characters and make them into a literal giant for a specific play. These tricks allow you to get the upper hand on the AI or other players, and they generally help cut some of the monotony that comes from those bog standard football games.
The Dirty Tricks section also includes the special ability of each team, which usually is a very dangerous attack that can wipe out an enemy before they can get any yardage. The Mile High Chronics (a spoof of the Denver Broncos) for instance has the ability to, on a turnover, smite your foe with lightning when they make contact with the ball, instantly killing them. I did find it strange that even with the AI turned to the average level of difficulty, they still don’t utilize any of these dangerous dirty tricks. The only one that is consistently used is the gargantuan one that causes a player who’s carrying the ball to become a giant, reducing the likelihood of getting stopped shy of the yards you need.
Aside from the Dirty Tricks, this might as well be a Madden game. They both play very similarly, but MFL isn’t the prettier of the two.
Madden has surprisingly nice graphics most of the time, and whilst some characters and scenery don’t come across as the best, EA have really tried to make it as close to the real thing as possible. MFL however is more like an early PS3 version of Madden, coming without the skill set or power to run these intense graphics; everything feels like an asset that was reused from different projects from that time. The styles don’t all match (not an egregious thing, mind you, but it does look like they all belong to separate franchises) and gives off the impression that it was made before the age of 1080p. The same graphical issues run rampant throughout the arenas, where things just don’t stand up to other games on this console generation. It’s not a major killer, and it didn’t bother me too much whilst playing, but it is a bit of a disappointment.
In regards the audio and Mutant Football is just about alright, very much middle of the road. Nothing will blow you away, but you won’t be found rushing to mute your system either. If there were any place I’d be wishing there was more sound work though, then it would be found in the crushing of skeletons. I was expecting the sound of bones crunching, or even the sound of a xylophone being mangled, but it just uses the same hit sound as everything else, which I think is a major opportunity missed. The game is filled to the seams with little bits of crass comedy, so goofy sounds for the death of characters would have been a well-placed idea.
And really, that’s what this game is overall – a missed opportunity to do something great. Instead, it delivers an ‘alright’ experience, but there are better ones in the genre to pick up, and if you’re just looking for a football game, this probably won’t be the one you’d be looking at, simply because it isn’t just a football game – it‘s a small-time brawler that also includes a minigame where you kill referees at half time. It’s the small things that just make this feel like it was cobbled together, and when the pieces didn’t fit just right, nobody went to fix it, they just called it good enough and went on their merry way. That in itself is absolutely unfortunate.
Unfortunately, I wanted to like Mutant Football League more than I eventually did. When I first saw the game in Early Access/Game Preview form, I was expecting something like a street football experience, but it doesn’t have that same mobility or care that one would expect playing a street football game, and it doesn’t have enough realism to be an actual football game.
Instead Mutant Football League sits within this limbo where it looks at what it can be, and just shrugs. To be fair, if somebody were to ask me if they should buy this game, I’d shrug too. It’s not the best game on the market in this genre, and I’m sure it’s not the worst. It’s just a mediocre attempt at making a spoof-esque game.