It's going to be difficult for me to express my profound disappointment with this review. As someone who is a **huge** fan on the original Mutant League games on the Genesis, I find the fact that this game even exists (with physical editions, no less!) is nothing short of a minor miracle. However, we all have different views and expectations when it comes to our gaming, and even though I don't agree with the big, fat "F" this game received, I respect the Critic's judgement. Sometimes, you just don't like something, and that's that.
I remember hearing about MFL through the original Kickstarter, but figured the game would never see the light of day, and didn't get my hopes up too much. When I heard that it was actually funded and getting off the ground, I remained skeptical, waiting for the inevitable news that it would be cancelled, unfinished. Lo and behold, they pulled it off, and when I finally got to play it, I practically couldn't believe it was real. But it was.
In a nutshell, if I knew anything about creating video games, and got to pick one franchise to resurrect, Mutant League would be... number two on the list. Wing Commander would be number one, but hey, since EA owns that brand, I doubt they'll ever touch it again as long as I live. Same goes for my number three, Road Rash. Ah, well, at least I can still play the OG games.
It's worth mentioning that, despite the bugs and glitches with this game, it's actually the "fixed" version. The original PC release was rife with bugs and borderline unplayable, but to the developer's credit, they have done a hell of a job ironing out the kinks as time's gone by. The PS4, Switch, and Xbox One versions are all the updated "Dynasty Edition" version of the game, with numerous bug fixes and extra teams and gameplay modes. The game has even been patched since it released on consoles, and, well, right now it runs about as good as I think it ever will. Not perfect, and not acceptable for a AAA release, but for an indie title, I can look past some random audio and graphic glitches.
Like the Critic, I bought the Switch version, and got it for $20 during a holiday sale at Best Buy. The trick to fully enjoying the game is to realize the obvious, right off the bat - this is not a traditional football game. The Critic complained in his review that he had several touchdowns called back in one game. What do you do? Immediately kill the referee! Like the original game, each team can bribe the ref to get certain calls to go their way, or to get big plays by the opposing team called back. Killing the MF'er nets you a minor penalty, but keeps what the game accurately describes as "b***s*** penalties" from happening again. Yes, the game does have penalties, but only when the ref has been bribed. There's also an occasional penalty for late hits, but it's rare, and the announcers even jokingly point out that the ref "missed that one" while you're busy pounding the opposing QB after the whistle blows.
I crank up the violence when I play, but when I play through a season, I also have it set so that players are resurrected after every game. That way, I can possibly win a game by forfeit by wiping out the opposing team, but I'm also not taking any of the "all-stars" out of the league, or losing too many, myself. Playing through the season with the Killadelphia Evils, it's impossible for QB Scarsome Wince to make it through a single game without getting banged-up, leaving poor lil' Sick Moldes out there to save the day. Thinly veiled reference to the actual NFL, anyone? It's nice to play a game where one of my stars gets killed in the first quarter, knowing that the game will be that much harder without him (or "it"?) but also knowing that I'll have them back for the next matchup. Playing solid defense is all that more important, as your defensive stars can truly pour out the hurt, especially against the more frail offensive players in the league.
I love this game. That being said, it's not perfect, and I would hesitate to even call it "good." But for what it is - an independent game released as a budget title - I don't think you could really ask for more. I love the humor, even though, as the Critic pointed out, it is pretty juvenile. There is an option in the menus to turn off the R-rated commentary, and this does open the game up to some more clever lines that would otherwise go unheard. Some of my favorites:
"This game is brought to you by the ComCrack Corporation. ComCrack - "We're not happy, until you're not happy.""
"Yeah, killing that guy was a bit excessive, but as I always say, you can't spell 'funeral' without 'fun'!"
"Man, am I lucky to be a CB gifted with the arms of a WR. Well, maybe not gifted - they did set me back $8000 bucks on eSlay."
One from the two man commentators, after a player gets set on fire: "Oh, man, did he get barbecued on that play! Mmmmm, man that sounds good - wanna make a run for some Korean BBQ, buddy?" The other commentator: "Oh, no thanks. Last time I ate Korean food, I got Kim Jong Ill..."
From a freshly-bribed referee, after making a BS call: "That's a 15 yard penalty on the Midway Mutants for trying to argue that Rush is better than Led Zepplin. I mean, seriously, what's wrong with you guys?"
The list goes on. Along with the madness of the gameplay (getting sawed in half, eaten by a sand worm that pops out of the field, having the QB pull out his boomstick and start blasting guys on a "shotgun" play, etc) the game's sense of humor can be quite clever, if you give it a chance. Not for kids in the least - this game is rated "Mature" with a capital "M", for sure. For $20, I have more than gotten my money's worth with this game, and when I play it with my buds, it's hard for us to keep a straight face, even when we know what lines are about to be said. It's one of the most-played games in my Switch library, and the most fun I've had playing a football game in years, right up there with the OG NFL Blitz and Tecmo Super Bowl. Yes, I like it that much. As a longtime fan of arcade-styled sports games, it's hard to find many newer games to get excited about these days, but MFL has more than met my expectations... even though, if I were rating it, I would probably only give it a "C+". Tops
Despite the bad reviews, I would recommend that anyone who has a passing interest in this game to give it a look, even if it's just pulling up some gameplay on YouTube. It's not for everybody, but like I said at the start, we all have different views and expectations. One man's "F" is another man's "C+"