Mutant Football League is probably one of my all-time favorite 16-bit era games. When I found out that a revitalized version was coming to PC and consoles, I was overjoyed. The blend of arcade sports and campy humor mixed with a little of the old ultra-violence makes for a raucous good time, even if the football aspects themselves are a little lightweight. This is our review of the Nintendo Switch version of Mutant Football League – Dynasty Edition.
Let me preface this by saying that any game which takes my beloved Browns and lampoons them is immediately given my seal of approval. The Leaveland Burns led by the CEO of Shacknews, Massive Khan, is just too funny. They repeatedly reference how bad the team has been historically too. It’s just… you know these people are NFL fans alongside being fans of the Mutant Football League IP.
There are tons of gameplay modes, including full online play, season, playoffs, exhibition and so forth. But the crowning achievement is Dynasty Mode. This is your Madden-esque “Career Mode” where you’re brought in to run your chosen team and asked each year to hit certain goals. The Burns need to make it to the playoffs, even after starting off with a 40/100 overall rating, within three years or you’re fired (Game Over). Your players level up and gain better stats as they play and perform well, and you can make trades and sign free agents as well. Each game, you earn money you can spend on resurrecting dead players, signing new folks, and your goal is to get out of the red before too long too.
Of course, I had to sign Nukem Dukem and Grimm Brown to the Burns, so I could have a killer QB and a werewolf HB to help me make the team succeed. I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to, but the MFL doesn’t seem to take its salary cap or budget rules too seriously. The teams are based mostly on real NFL players too – Haymaker Minefield is Baker Mayfield, etc. It’s all very tongue in cheek, and not at all a serious Football Sim. It does all the things you’d expect a sim to do, just not as… restrictive?
Gameplay wise, MFL is fun, but also kind of busted. Like the NFL Blitz games of the late 90s and early 2000s, there are a few plays that you can seemingly run endlessly to great success. Runs to the outside always seem to go for 20+ yards, for example. Meanwhile passing is just kind of a crapshoot. Players never seem to get open, and throwing to them is basically a prayer. But what’s probably worst about MFL is that a breakaway 80-yard play can and will often get a nonsense penalty tossed at you. Something like “The Burns don’t like rock and roll, and that’s wrong. 10 Yards!” I don’t know why the devs chose to do this sort of thing, but there’s nothing more infuriating than having a big play taken back almost every time. I lost tons of touchdowns due to this “feature”.
This referee tactic may be intent on getting you to use the “Dirty Tricks” part of your playbook. These are limited each game, and let you kill the refs, bribe them, and so forth – in order to avoid such situations. But they’re limited, so you may still get a key play taken back from you when there’s nothing you can do about it.
Note: Our copy was provided by PR for review purposes.