Here at Nerd Jock Blog we have written about the library of football games on the Nintendo Switch or lack thereof. For more on this problem check out this blog post I wrote back in August; here. Naturally, when we heard that Mutant Football League Dynasty Edition developed by Digital Dreams Entertainment was coming to the Switch we were thrilled, excited, overjoyed and possibly a bit overly optimistic as to what this could mean to us at a Blog that is devoted to sports and nerd culture.
What exactly is Mutant Football League? Well, it’s the spiritual successor to Mutant League Football published by Electronics Arts in 1993 and released for the Sega Genesis. The revitalization efforts began back in 1993 with a failed Kickstarter project. You can check out the original page here. The goal was to raise $750,000, but only $141,821 was pledged and therefore no funding occurred. The games lead creator, Michael Mendheim continued to work on the project and funded another Kickstarter project with a more attainable goal of $60,000 to help fund the completion of the modern versions online mode. Mutant Football League was released for The game was released on Microsoft Windows on October 31, 2017, released for Playstation 4 and Xbox One on January 19, 2018 and eventually the Nintendo Switch on October 30, 2018.
The back of the case for Mutant Football League Dynasty Edition claims it to be a game of Mutants and Monsters unleashing maniacal carnage on the gridiron this action packed, arcade-style football game. The game also claims to deliver online multi-player action, big hits, deep strategy and deadly humor.
Mutant Football League is a violent, over-the-top interpretation of the game of football. It draws inspiration from the original Mutant League Football, as well as other games in the genre such as NFL Blitz.The game features 7-on-7 action, with teams made up of various mutants, including Skeletal Deadheads, Monstrous Orcs, BruiserBots, Mutant-Humans, and Criminal Aliens. The fields are littered with obstacles, including buzzsaws and landmines. Players can call normal plays, as well as “dirty tricks”, which include bribing the referee, using a chainsaw to cut through the opposition and various other dastardly choices.
Does it live up to the hype? Sadly no.
Presentation Grade: B
The commentary that occurs during gameplay is phenomenal. It features a fictional commentator voiced by Tim Kitzrow, the iconic voiceover artist that is best known for his work in the NBA JAM Series. The game does not take itself seriously and features very adult humor, which is downright hilarious at times. The game does not shy away from its “M” rating. Sadly this limits the audience to a game that desperately needs to find one. The adult humor makes it nearly impossible for me to play this game with my small children around and I wouldn’t dare play it around anyone under the age of sixteen or so. The game also has a television broadcast feel that really gets you excited to play. Also, during game-play, the athletes stop to give quotes. These are delivered awkwardly in gibberish talk with subtitles. This takes the player out of the game and the dialog is not that funny when read. This seems like something that was meant to be voiced over, but the developer either ran out of time or money. I would have preferred to not have it in the game at all given its incomplete feel.
Graphics Grade: C-
The graphics are somewhere bet
ween cartoonish and realistic. Nothing really stood out and the player models and stadium textures feel unfinished at times. The fields sometimes even have a pixelated look to them, which is shocking to see on a console that features 1080p output. The game isn’t ugly but lacks a certain vibrancy that would have made it stand out.
Sound Design Grade: C
Not much to say here. The in-game sound effects aren’t impressive. I put a lot of time into playing this game and can’t think of any audio besides the commentary that felt grandiose.
Gameplay Grade: C
Mutant Football League controls are pretty standard fare for an arcade style football game. Movement of the players feels a bit sluggish and stiff at times. Some animations seem jerky and don’t always sync well together. For example, when using the right thumbstick to juke left or right the player appears to just suddenly jerk to either direction and I never noticed in about 10 hours of gameplay the juke to actually have any noticeable impact to the nearby defenders.
Online mode works fine. I was able to play several games without any issues with connection. That being said, the game mode seems incomplete. I noticed a screen that mentioned something about leaderboards, but there is nothing of the sort. There is simply a random opponent option, nothing else. I was able to play my brother several times, but it was likely mere luck that we connected and were trying to play each other at a time when virtually nobody else was trying to find a game.
Overall Grade: D+
I would have loved to be able to write a glowing review of this game, but sadly it feels incomplete. Maybe this stems to such a long development period and possible budgeting constraints for the developer. Mutant Football League Dynasty Edition feels like a game that desperately wants you to think of it as a triple A title, but it’s ugly warts keep showing up. I would have loved to explore the deeper elements in Dyntasy Mode, but the repeated freezing during games makes this mode virtually unplayable and therefore I cannot fully review this mode. In the little time I spent with it I was impressed by the added depth to an arcade sports game. As you know, this is a genre that rarely adds any depth or tries anything new.
Issues such as players disappearing from the waist down into the field and when you move a defensive player out of his pre-snap stance when you let him reset he faces towards the sideline rather than the line of scrimmage have Mutant Football feeling like a game that was just taken out of the oven way to early. The games voice-over work is phenomenal but only serves to highlight the games glaring weaknesses. When working, MFL is a fun game, but given its unfinished feel and freezing issues, this is a situation where the whole is actually lesser than the sum of its parts.
The game is available now at North American retail outlets as well as digitally.
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by: Dennis Burkett