If you grew up at all during the Super NES and Sega Genesis era, then you remember one thing Sega had that Nintendo didn’t: Mutant League Football, a crazy spin on the sport that substituted humans for goblins, skeletons, and robots. Mutant Football League is a spiritual successor to the popular series, whose creator has launched a Kickstarter campaign looking to bring the franchise back this fall. Those who support the crowdfunding campaign with any amount of money – even $1 – get to try out the alpha build of the game. It just so happens we had a buck.
Fans of the original series, which Electronic Arts retains the rights to, will feel right at home, while those more used to traditional NFL-style games will also find themselves having fun. Basically, it plays like a football game, with your typical offensive and defensive styles and similar control schemes. Where Mutant Football League stands out is the bonuses: instead of just using a standard play, you can pull up something from your “dirty tricks” playbook instead, and take out defenders with a chainsaw instead of a stiff-arm. The field is littered with landmines, buzzsaws, and other hazards waiting to cause a fumble by literally cutting off your arm. Players can be killed; you can win without scoring a single point, if you just wipe out the other team from a physical and literal perspective.
The limited, first-half demo you get from contributing to the project is very fun, and feels like a game on the verge of completion. It’s easy to pull off gruesome hits (you can beat up other players after a play is dead), the original game’s sense of humor has been well-preserved thanks to the commentary team, which includes what sounds like NBA Jam announcer Tim Kitzrow, and the mechanics are very solid.
While clearly not meant to be taken very seriously, Mutant Football League might just be a good alternative for Madden, especially for those who miss NFL Blitz or the original Mutant League Football. We’re looking forward to getting more time with the game as it nears completion, should the fundraiser hit its goal.
Mutant Football League is planned for a PC, Xbox One, and PS4 release in October.