When the NFL season began its 2018 season, EA Sports was at the ready to hike a new release on Xbox One and PS4; but they fumbled the snap when it came to the Nintendo Switch. For a second consecutive year, EA has opted to omit the wants of Switch football fans by leaving the system vacant of a Madden release. Looking to score a touchdown from EA’s fumble are the folks at Digital Dreams Entertainment, as they bring their own football game to the Switch in the form of Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition.
Whereas Madden offers a realistic simulation football experience, Mutant Football League runs with an arcade style offense, in which players will perform theatrical on-field maneuvers, commit acts of violence, and actively seek to injure or kill players on the field. To put things more simply: Mutant Football League urges the player to play the dirtiest game of football imaginable. With an emphasis on arcade antics, Mutant League Football is pick up and play friendly courtesy of its simple offense/defense playbook. The playbooks offer enough play calls to keep games interesting but remain limited enough that it won’t ever overwhelm the player with tons of options.
To further emphasize its arcade roots, Mutant Football League positions violence and poor sportsmanship as its top priorities. Each on-field player has their own health meter and can be killed during a match. A tough tackle will inflict a high amount of damage, but players can continue to kick and dogpile an opposing player even after the play concludes to get in a few extra hits. The opposition isn’t the only threats to be wary of, either. The football field is plagued with threats that will sever and mutilate players at any moment. Whether it be lightning, buzz saws, or the opposing team, there is something ready and willing to kill you during a match.
As if things aren’t crazy enough, the game pushes the envelope one step further by giving players access to Dirty Tricks. These plays are exactly as their name would imply: dirty. A Dirty Trick can range from bribing the referee to call penalties that favor your team, to throwing a literal bomb pass that will explode and murder all players within the blast vicinity, or simply having your player turn into an enrage beast that triples in size and becomes an unstoppable force. There is a limit in place on how many Dirty Tricks you can use per half, so they are best used strategically – especially being when you desperately need a touchdown or need to prevent the opposing team from scoring.
Some of the Dirty Tricks can be countered. For example, a referee that has been bribed by the opposition can be then be bribed by your team to gain favor with them. However, if that doesn’t work then you can simply kill the referee and the game will gain a new, untainted referee to officiate the game. If murdering a skeleton referee isn’t of interest, you can always choose to continue to play, get penalized, and just wait for the bribe effects to wear off.
For those familiar with the PC release of Mutant Football League, you’ll be happy to learn that the Switch version has all the downloadable content the PC version offers, plus a new addition with Dynasty mode. Dynasty mode is Mutant Football League’s equivalent to Madden’s Franchise mode. You start your journey by managing a talentless 40-man teamed roster. Over the course of the game, you’ll be tasked to win matches, trade for or recruit new players, and build a team that is capable of becoming a dynasty. All progress from your prior season is transferred to the next, so you can continually build and improve. The biggest annoyance of Dynasty mode is the inability to change difficulty settings once you begin.
One of Mutant Football League’s greatest strengths is its humor. Whether it stems from the comedic naming of the players — Bomb Shady (Tom Brady) or Thorb Bronkowski (Rob Gronkowski), the creative team names — Nuked London Hatriots, or the clever stadium names like Three Mile Island Stadium, there is a lot of dark humor at play in this release. The commentary is crude and perfectly suited for such a release. Hearing the announcers commentate in such an unprofessional manner is refreshing and capable of providing some good laughs. Admittedly, as is the case with any commentating, it can become annoying during length play session.
Mutant Football League plays well on the Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld mode. Offering both local and online multiplayer, the game covers all the wants and needs one may have with such a release. In our testing of the online mode, we could connect and play against others without any noticeable performance issues. Even when things got chaotic and explosive on the field, the game ran well during our play sessions.
Digital Dreams Entertainment plays a dirty game of football with Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition for the Nintendo Switch; but the use of vulgarities, complete lack of concern for player safety, and hard-hitting defenses make it a blast to play. There is something strangely satisfying about mutilating an opposing QB and then murdering a referee. If Madden is the NFL, then one could say that Mutant Football League is arena football. It’s unconventional but it is entertaining and it’s the best football game for Switch.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Digital Dreams Entertainment