Mutant Football League is a game that is reminiscent of the National Football League of America (and possibly London if some people have their way), but with a very large difference: You’re playing as ghouls, skeletons, aliens, and demons!
The game is currently available as an Xbox One Game Preview title, and allows you to play through simple skirmish matches which see you playing as one team versus another in a match that holds no strings for any ranking or progression. There is also the ability to play a full season, or playoff. Simply put, one of them lets you play before the playoffs hit, and the other begins at the point of playoffs. These are the only game modes available, which certainly makes sense, given that it is a football game above all else.
Each team included has their own stats and players, all of which are satirical representations of the players in the actual NFL. Each team is a quirky remake of one of the members of the NFL, whether it be the Mile High Chronic for the Denver Broncos or the Microhard Oceanhawks for the Seattle Seahawks, the game makes fun of them.
When you get into the game, it plays very similarly to the old NFL Blitz! titles from years gone by, but with the obvious difference that you can kill your opponents. In fact, it’s encouraged! Your opponent can gain as many points as they like, but if you kill a ton of their roster off, they forfeit automatically, which gives you two ways to play the game: play like a normal football game, or play like you’re the Oakland Raiders.
If I’m honest, Mutant Football League looks and sounds pretty middle of the road. The graphics aren’t appalling, but they certainly aren’t going to make you mark it down as the best-looking game you’ve played. The audio could do with a little more tweaking to make its sound a bit heavier, especially when you’re stomping your opponent into the turf. It currently feel a little too soft for my liking, and makes the game feel a little contradictory – especially when you consider you are killing your opponents, but it sounds like you’re thumping someone gently with a pillow. A rebalance of the audio would definitely help with making the hits feel more like how they are visually represented.
Each arena will have obstacles in it, ranging from pits to flamethrowers, whilst stopping off at giant lines of retractable spikes that can stop a play if you don’t time it properly. These traps are active for anybody’s play, so no true homefield advantage can be attained. But there are other ways of getting ahead. You can draw a penalty and then go zebra hunting, which is something several football fans have probably dreamed of doing at one point or another.
The game also features Dirty Plays; plays that allow you to get a definitive edge on your opponent, sometimes quite literally. Each team appears to have their own set of Dirty Plays they can action, the most common being growing one of your units into a giant for the play. You can block almost all throws in the giant form, but can also inflict serious amount of damage to your opponent if you can get past their offensive line. Which, given the fact you’re a giant, isn’t too difficult to accomplish.
I’m not entirely sure what the future holds for Mutant Football League, but I’d certainly love to see some customization or custom team creation. Adding that would help build longevity for the game, and would allow the developers, if they had the desire to, to make a game mode similar to the MyCareer in the 2K Sport offerings. Each team could start out with bad equipment and traps, slowly letting you build your way up to buying a new arena or drafting professional players, whilst also allowing Dirty Play moves, like paying off the refs, to take up team funds and add another level of strategy. Make it where you can create your own plays for both the offensive and defensive side of things and test them in training, and you it could well be something really special to supply to consumers, and would certainly give more appeal to this game over the other football games that are on the market.
There is also the option to play locally with multiple controllers, or the option of playing online with other individuals.
Really, aside from the little twist of changing the theme and adding death to the game, Mutant Football League plays like a regular football game. You can decide between cleverly named plays that involve either passing or handing the ball off, or if you’re playing defense, various forms of blitzing or some zone defense. At the moment, it’s a quirky spin on the standard experience, and so that’s something to be wary of. But it’s still pretty early in the life cycle, and it’ll feel like that, especially with targeting hits or getting hit by other players, with them not always registering or just completely clipping through people. It’s likely that the developers will be able to fix that without much delay though, because, you know, what’s football without contact?
Keep an eye out for our full review of Mutant Football League nearer to its full release.