In terms of over-the-top, hard-hitting football games, the late 1990s and early 2000s had the infamous NFL Blitz. But Blitz wasn't the first such NFL parody game to hit the market. Earlier on in the 1990s a game hit the SEGA Genesis called Mutant League Football and it was monsters and mayhem on the gridiron. Fast forward to 2018 and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners (and PC owners late last year) get an updated dose of that off-the-wall Genesis game in Digital Dreams Entertainment's Mutant Football League.
The seven-on-seven arcade style Mutant Football League is a shameless parody of professional football (ie: "Croakland Invaders" = "Oakland Raiders") to the point of being ludicrous. It's punny, violent, and simply so far over the top that it's fun.
As with any sports game, the overall objective is to outscore the opponent. MFL throws some screwballs into the mix by having a football field that's filled with hazards such as giant worms, land mines, and so on. There is also a complete repertoire of dirty little tricks that players and opponents can pull for an unfair edge from time to time like bribing the refs or having a player become ginormous and physically overpower the opposition. It's insane, yet oddly satisfying.
Controls are unapologetically arcade-y and simple. There are no nuances or complicated button patterns to be found. Those who are accustomed to Madden NFL controls, however, might find themselves accidentally defaulting to them mid-game with disastrous results. Like the controls, MFL's playbooks are simplified compared to "real" football video games. It's not quite to the level of Tecmo Bowl, but it's pretty darn close.
Graphics are alright. They're not bad, but by contemporary standards they are not going to blow anyone away. Animation quality seem to run the gambit from smooth as silk to stiff and choppy and there's a concern that the game, visually, won't be aging well over the years.
Where the graphics are (at best) acceptable, the audio stands out as the game's strongest presentation asset. While the soundtrack itself could stand to have a tad more variety, it fits the bill just fine for the attitude of this game. Adding to MFL's ear candy are the talents of Tim Kitzrow. He brings to the game the same personality and gusto that made NBA Jam, a game he also voiced and coined phrases like "He's on fire!" and "Boom shakalaka!", so memorable. He is beyond a perfect fit in Mutant Football League even if his lines do repeat themselves a bit too often.
For those who have fond memories of the 1993 SEGA Genesis original or (like me) remember pumping quarters into the NFL Blitz game at the video arcade, Mutant Football League is a monstrous good time while the good time lasts. It's not a game that you're probably going to want to be playing every time you fire up your console, but it's an entertaining enough distraction and change of pace from the market-leading Madden games that it's got an appeal all its own.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.