The spiritual successor to Mutant League Football is here! Coming 25 years after the original release on the Sega Genesis/Megadrive.
With the original lead developer, Michael Mendheim at the helm and heading up a team at Digital Dreams Entertainment, the game now benefits from current-gen hardware and graphics, while retaining the spirit of what made the original game so fun all those years ago.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Mutant Football League features violent, over the top, arcade gameplay as 2 teams square up for this fantasy take on American Football.
Staying true to the mantra of 1993 original, MFL (Mutant Football League) also features hilarious, monster-themed takes on player names and franchises. I mean, who wouldn’t want to land a sack (or a shotgun) on “Bomb Shady” of the “Nuked London Patriots” while playing as the “Killadelphia Evils” in the Mayhem Bowl?
It’s Mayhem Bowl Baby! Wooooo!
Reviewed on Xbox One, also available on PlayStation 4 and PC
Released January 19th 2018
Developer – Digital Dreams Entertainment
Install Size – 3.2GB
One area this game really excels in is its fast, fun and frantic arcade gameplay. Available as either a single player experience, local multiplayer for 2-4 players or through Online Multiplayer.
Featuring 7 on 7 action, MLF sees a roster of various mutants, aliens, orcs, skeletons & robots fight it out, quite literally to the death, as they try to outscore each other by way of touchdown and field goals on the usual 100yrd American Football Field.
The big difference with this field, however, is that it will be layered with traps and hazards designed to kill and maim your team! Luckily, your mutants are super responsive to player commands meaning dodging these hazards is half the fun, especially if you manage to slam the opposition into a lava pit while dodging it yourself! My only gripe towards the hazards is that your own AI teammates do not show the same or even basic finesse when it comes to avoiding the traps, resulting in needless deaths (which can be an absolute pain in season mode – more on that later)
Games play out in the usual way, 4 quarters of play, teams having 4 downs to gain 10yrds etc. All the usual plays you would come to expect from a football game are also present, such as blitz, covers, ground runs etc.
All are also easily mapped to the controller for quick selection before a play begins. Anyone familiar with the Madden games will be used to the command prompts after the snap, with button icons appearing above receivers for throws and the usual commands for hand-offs, jumps and jinks present should you choose to run the ball.
However, you don’t come to MFL to choose the perfect play! You came to kill!
One thing I really like about this game is the over the top, gratuitous violence (there is even an achievement/trophy to be earned for getting the other team to forfeit due to too many deaths).
Players are actively encouraged to slaughter the opposing team, whether that be through continuing to punish opponents in the “late hit window” or selecting one of the “Dirty Tricks” resulting in shotguns being equipped, bombs being thrown or even bribing the referee to look the other way. It’s fantastic fun.
Title screen with different play modes
The game offers multiple play modes for you to enjoy the carnage. Play Now is basically an exhibition match that can be played single player or between 2-4 players in local co-op (which is great fun by the way)
Mayhem Bowl is basically MFL’s version of Superbowl 52 with the 2 teams already selected (Nuke London Patriots and the Killadelphia Evils) It is a shame that you can’t select other teams in this mode. You can use Playoffs but it will end up random at the main event.
Playoffs are quite self-explanatory, it allows you select your favourite mutant franchise and work your way through the playoffs and into the Mayhem bowl main event.
Season Mode is where the guts and the majority of MFL game content lies. Here you take your franchise through 15 weeks of games, trying to ultimately win the Mayhem Bowl. Its a great little mode as in brings in an element of strategy to player management, owing to the nature of the game with your players being constantly slaughtered. You have to start considering which starting players you want to run, do you want to put your star wide receiver on a field full of bombs for him to potentially get blown up? (remember the AI can be a bit suspect) or do you rest them knowing you have stronger opposition the next week but run the risk of not getting as many touchdowns? At the start of the season, you do have 15 resurrections that can be used between games to bring your players back from the dead but these are finite. Run out of resurrections and the only way to earn one is by successfully completing the entertaining halftime show, a great little mini-game involving you, a shotgun and a horde of undead referees.
My only criticism with the Season mode is it would have been nice to have a “create a mutant” option so that you conjure up your own player to take from the start through to Mayhem Bowl glory. It is something that could definitely be added in a patch and would make a great addition to the game and bulk out the content a little.
Graphics are bright and punchy in MFL. Don’t get me wrong, they are certainly not bleeding edge, but they serve their purpose well and the framerate was consistently rock solid, something that is absolutely essential for sports games.
Games are viewed from the same overhead isometric viewpoint that has become the standard for American football games. It works well allowing the player to see a fantastic amount of the game in calling plays in offense or organising in defense.
Character Models are well done and animated with the player being treated to close-ups at regular intervals, usually, while they are trash talking the opposition after a particular great play. My only criticism is it would have been nice to have more variety in the characters to really bring out some uniqueness, especially in the star players.
From referee to star QB, must be hard having to work 2 roles.
Audio is a particular highlight for me with MFL, from the opening game day music all the way through to the in-game commentary and sound effects. Everything has been cranked up to 11 and the developers need to be applauded for really creating a sense of atmosphere. You definitely hear every crunch, tackle and dismemberment.
The commentary is an outstanding highlight for me though. I actually lost count how many times I burst out laughing from the crude and hilarious banter that comes from the 2 presenters. It really is that good.
MFL does exactly what it sets out to do. It delivers a fun, arcade-style take of the American Football Genre that caters for all ability levels. Even players that aren’t quite familiar with the intricacies of the sport will enjoy the over the top violence and hilarious commentary. Graphics could do with more variation and it could certainly do with more content such as “create a mutant” or “Career mode”. However, gameplay is king and you will certainly enjoy your time with it!