Mutant Football League is a fun twist on the commonly cliche American Football genre of games, combining excellent writing with solid gameplay and a self-aware presentation I really dig.
Right off the bat, the title grabbed me with its list of teams. Some are a play on actual NFL squads like the Croackland Invaders (Oakland Raiders), Blitzburg Steelheads (Pittsburgh Steelers), and a handful of others. My personal favorites, though, were those completely imagined for the game. Mile High Chronic, a parody of the Denver Broncos, was my team of choice. The team’s field was a play on the stereotypical view of drugs, with giant, colorful mushrooms surrounding the stadium and making for an interesting place to play.
Mutant Football League succeeds in its gameplay and visual diversity, but doesn’t offer enough of a variety of things to do.
Different maps come with unique hazards that interfere with the player, but they aren’t frequent enough. Giant worm-like creatures would randomly pop out of the ground, destroying anything they touched. Throughout the entirety of the match, I only encountered these creatures two or three times. With Mutant Football League being about using unfair means to top your opponent, this could’ve been emphasized a lot more in its stadium variation, but ultimately wasn’t. I wanted stadium hazards to fundamentally change gameplay, not just act as an occasional obstacle for the player. Sure, it’s tough for a genre-specific title to do anything drastically new, but it felt like more could’ve been done to fit with the theme of the game.
A way Mutant Football League keeps things interesting, though, is through its Dirty Tricks.
Each team has two offensive, defensive, and global Dirty Tricks. These are unbeatable moves that can be used once in each half of a match. Global Dirty Tricks utilize the referee, whereas offensive and defensive tricks see players use things like warp speed, a chainsaw, and other ways to beat up on the opponent. Dirty Tricks really add another layer to the game, giving those that lack in skill a hail mary’s chance at keeping things competitive.
Generally I’m not a fan of sports games giving players a way to unfairly score on their opponent, but it’s an element to the competitiveness of Mutant Football League. Both players are locked and loaded with their Dirty Trick, and it all comes down to when the player chooses to use it. This creates an interesting dynamic between you and your adversary.
Mutant Football League isn’t a pretty game. I just couldn’t help but notice the rough visuals, especially when in motion. Though it boasts a solid frame rate, pixelated and somewhat blurry visuals stood out even while docked on Nintendo Switch. I didn’t get a chance to see the title running in handheld mode, though.
My favorite aspect of the title, however, is its dialogue. It’s incredibly self-aware, making for a fun experience to not only play, but also listen intently to. Sports commentary is often bland by nature, but Mutant Football League doesn’t fall into that trap.
Overall, Mutant Football League is a solid game for Nintendo Switch and fills a void in the current video game marketplace. Not many Football games exist, let alone those that take the genre and flip it on its head with strange creatures and mutants, M-rated writing, and tremendously creative stages and teams.
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