Generally speaking, there are two possible approaches for sports games. They can try for the precise simulation of the real sport, translating its rules, elements, and official licenses, to name a few ultra-realistic elements. On the other side of the coin, they can become arcade games that strip out all the realism in favour of a more chaotic experience.
Sitting somewhere between these two extremes, Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition is an odd implementation of football that fails to appeal to fans of either style of sport games.
I’ll admit – I had little knowledge about American football prior to playing Mutant Football League. As I’ve since learned, it’s a game of different strategies, skill, and thrilling moments.
As much as it looks like a fast sport with a high level of physicality, it also has many cerebral moments, with some teams playing the ‘thinking man’s’ way. In one way or another, all these elements are present in MFL, so structure-wise, the game bears a surprising similarity to what you can expect from a real football match.
You can’t forget the ‘mutant’ part of MFL. The most obvious difference here is that the whole league of teams is formed by mutants, monsters, vampires, skeletons, robots and other types of creatures. This isn’t merely an aesthetic factor, though. In the MFL universe, football is a much more violent sport.
Not only can players now directly attack the opposite team, but the field itself can be filled with traps and hazards. In a standard MFL match, it isn’t unusual to have players being incapacitated (or even killed) during every play. To make things even more erratic, each team has its own set of ‘dirty tricks’, which are special powers that can be activated to take perks like enlarging players or going back in time.
MFL mixes those far-fetched elements with the crucial elements of a real-life football game. But, it doesn’t quite work. For the hardcore football fans looking for a realistic simulation of the real thing, MFL cheapens the experience through its superpowers and playful elements. Those on the other side of the fence who want an arcade football game along the lines of Mario Smash Football – easy to jump straight in and play with no prior knowledge of the sport – will also get frustrated due to the high learning curve, with too many layers and nuances to be mastered. MFL isn’t the Rocket League nor the FIFA of American football. It is a mutated experience that lies in-between two extremes.
Still – there’ll be some who love the sound of this. In that case, the Dynasty Edition of MFL holds a considerable amount of content, as from the extensive single-player championships to the local and online multiplayer modes, MFL provides dozens of hours of gameplay. To give it its due, this is a competent Switch port, with a pleasant presentation. It’s just not clear what its audience is.
Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition £21.59
Despite providing a lot of content, Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition is a sports game undecided about its audience. It mixes elements typical of both simulation and arcade experiences, but ends up touching down too early on both fronts.