With the NFL season now over and attention turning to the impending Draft, you may be forgiven for feeling like there’s a big American Football-sized hole in your life. The good news is that Mutant Football League, a tongue-in-cheek arcade-leaning reincarnation of the old irreverent SEGA Genesis game of a similar name, has touched down just in time to keep you occupied. But does this goofy take on gridiron go the distance like a ballsy Nick Foles trick play – or does it fumble in the fourth quarter like Tom Brady looking long?
For all intents and purposes, this is a stripped-back Madden NFL 18, with the control scheme almost identical to EA’s flagship football franchise. Each team has a unique playbook from which you can select a variety of offensive and defensive plays, and it’s down to you to execute them on the field. Much like the old NFL Blitz titles, aggression is the order of the day, as you’re more likely to find yourself blitzing on defensive plays and throwing the ball on fourth down. In fact, the comical commentary team will even have the cojones to poke fun at you if you opt to punt.
The game keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek throughout. Team names are parodies of their real-life counterparts, like the Killadelphia Evils led by star quarterback Arson Tense and the New Yuck Tyrants who are headed up by MVP receiver O’Hell Wreck’em Jr – neither of whom are injured in this game, fortunately. Matches play out at arenas such as London's Phlegmbley Stadium, which are littered with explosives and other obstacles such as giant sand worms. The twist here is that your roster will diminish quickly, as tackles literally send players six feet under; there’s no need for a concussion protocol here.
Balancing your roster actually becomes a key part of the Season Mode, as running out of quarterbacks will see you forfeit a match. There are ways to resurrect teammates – and you can turn off the whole death mechanic if you prefer – but it all adds to the chaotic nature of the game. Unfortunately, the title can be a little too hectic at times, as bribed referees and dirty tactics add to the insanity of the action. American Football can be a bit haphazard at the best of times, but here it often resembles a mush of character models as you smash buttons hoping to connect a play.
It is genuinely funny, though, with some great lines of dialogue from both the commentators and the star players. Not every gag lands, but the whole thing’s barmy enough to raise a smile, and it’s genuinely entertaining when you pull out a trick play – one that, for instance, arms your running back with a shotgun – to score an important touchdown. It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to competitive play, but this is a party game through and through – and it’s not exactly like the online servers are bustling. Local multiplayer for up to four players should more than suffice.
In terms of presentation, its heavy metal album cover aesthetic will ultimately divide. It’s a bit too grungy for our tastes, but the distinctive design of the various teams – like the Gundam-inspired Tokyo Terminators – will raise a smile. There are a few too many mohawks and hobgoblins for this particular author, but despite running on Unity the title maintains a sturdy 60 frames-per-second, and while the animation work is poor, there’s a good sense of scale to the various stadiums.
Like it or not, Madden NFL 18 is still by far the best American Football game on the PlayStation 4, but if you fancy something a little sillier then Mutant Football League is not a bad shout at all. It plays similarly to the iconic EA series, but its aggressive playbook and irreverent sense of humour make it a fun alternative for a few downs – just don’t expect the appeal to last long into overtime.
I picked this up yesterday and can't wait to play it, I have always preferred arcade sport titles over sims. I just wish they would bring NFL Blitz back.
I bought it on steam and promptly returned it after 3 matches. I guess I was hoping for something more akin to the original Sega game than a modified version of NFL Blitz. Oh well.
@RedMageLanakyn It would be cool if an indie developer did a kinda sprite-based version. I think there'd be a market for that.
It's ok just not enough depth to keep you coming back. I finished one season and haven't touched it since.
They should do Games Workshop's Blood Bowl. Those teams and star players would translate well to videogames, they have great character.
@get2sammyb ...the comical commentary team will even have the cajones to poke fun at you...
Did you mean cojones as in the Spanish word for balls?
I remember playing Mutant League Football and Mutant League Hockey on the Genesis...loved them because it was something different during that time, and still own the two games. Looking forward to picking this one up and reliving the good old days! Just will be waiting for the price to drop a little before I pick it up, or wait for a physical release (if it happens). Still waiting for the next Toe Jam And Earl title to appear or have a release date, and my backlog is too big at the moment on PS4...plus, I'll have Kirby to play on the Switch soon (finally, something to do on the system instead of watching it collect dust)
@SMKpaladin Ah yes, thank you. Fixed.
Why is the reviewer comparing this up against Madden in terms of football experience? It's like saying, hmmm well the new Burnout game is fine and all but it's no Gran Turismo.
This is to Madden what Rocket League is to FIFA 18, a deliberate twist on a conventional game. It should be compared against NFL Blitz and the numerous pretenders to the throne that have popped up here and there over the past decade.
@Relaxer That's not what I meant, though. Madden is still the best American Football game on PS4; this plays identically but as pointed out in the review it's still very much its own thing.
I don't really see what's wrong with this?
Yeah loved it on the mega drive. I do like arcade American football games. Also liked blitz the league
@get2sammyb I'd definitely buy that!
@GravyThief Thats already a game. Its called blood bowl funnily enough. Theres even a definitive version.
Well Im never buying another EA game (take a look at their bs sale going on right now on psn for the ridiculous dlc practises) so this will have to do for my NFL fix.
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