Mutant Football League Dynasty Mode Review

By Mark Delaney, 4 months ago
You may not have expected an indie arcade football game starring obscene monsters to go so deep as to offer a multi-season Dynasty mode almost a year after its original launch, but that's exactly what has happened with Mutant Football League. The new game mode instantly becomes the best way to play for fans who are already invested in the MFL, but its manner of introducing all this new content comes off as confusing and mismanaged, meaning it won't easily win over anyone who wasn't already on the field.

mfl dynasty

If you frequent the sports genre, you likely have a good idea of what to expect from MFL's Dynasty mode. Players take over as the coach and GM of their chosen team and have five years to solidify some sort of legacy. You can get fired early, you can run the table for five years straight, or anything in between. With new options allowing you to chase free agents, weigh trade offers, manage your salary cap, and account for player injuries and even deaths as attrition takes its toll on your team, the suite instantly makes for the deepest experience on offer for players. If you didn't like the one-and-done season mode before, Dynasty piles on with new features.

The problems arise just as soon as the new features are unleashed, however. For one, the game fails to intuitively explain all of these features and how to use them. Starting with a budget of almost 200 million dollars sounds like a lot, but is it actually? How did the developers land on this figure? Why can I pick up any free agent from a massive pool of superstars but only once per week, and not after the trade deadline that should not affect free agency acquisitions? I eventually figured out what the new labels mean beside each player, but it could've been resolved quickly if the game just told me when I started the new mode. Dynasty opens up a lot of questions that it fails to answer, sometimes even outright, but at best it doesn't do so in a smart way.

Menus are tough to navigate due to the controller map feeling unintuitive too, which really hurts one of the otherwise most impressive parts of the new mode, the complete control over every single player on your roster. Using earned and bought XP (there are no microtransactions), you can increase your team's overall rating player by player, stat by stat. This level of depth feels foreign to a game such as this that, in the original launch, was quite happy to be a nineties throwback overflowing with sophomoric humor. Now it's really graduated from college to the pros in terms of its depth, but in not explaining much of these new systems, it leaves you feeling buried.

New jokes are introduced in the DLC and are once again best reserved for the middle school lunch table.New "jokes" are introduced in the DLC and are once again best reserved for the middle school lunch table.

Having to upgrade players one by one in such a slow way and in such problematic menus means it becomes more of a chore than it ever should be. With so much leftover money to spend weekly and so much XP available to buy, it shouldn't feel like it's a hassle to make those transactions, yet that's often how it feels. Sometimes I was even foregoing the upgrade process for some players just because it becomes tedious moving through the menus for so long between games. When money was spent, it seemed like there was far too much of it. The difficulty was raised to the highest option to see if the budget would become stricter, but it remained sky-high. This means the unique mechanic of having to pay to resurrect your players from death falls flat, even as you'll have to do it several times per week for $300K each time. You'll always have enough money to do whatever you want, so there's no strategy involved.

Dynasty can still be fun, though. Leveling up your low tier players from 50 overall to superstars is a fun carrot to chase, and the improvements are rewardingly apparent. That element alone, unwieldy as it can be off the field, still makes this new mode the best in the game, and if you can push through the bad menus and self-govern to not overspend even when the game lets you, you'll get more out of this mode alone than the rest of the game combined. That's just a lot of caveats as it stands, and it'll take a budget adjustment and maybe some cleaner menus before Dynasty reaches its full potential.

The complete Dynasty Edition also includes new teams and player races, like Demons and the Werewolves pictured here.The complete Dynasty Edition also includes new teams and player races, like Demons and the Werewolves pictured here.

The achievements for the first game were pretty easy, and if you've completed it and feel compelled to go back and get the new list, it's quite sizable, offering another 15 achievements for 500 Gamerscore. You'll need to play five full seasons, winning the Mayhem Bowl each time, and get at least one player to Legend status. If you just want to boost it, it will take about eight hours to do it all without mistakes, and if this is your first time playing the game due to the new all-encompassing Dynasty Edition, you'll get a lot more Gamerscore on the way thanks to the easy base game list.

Summary

It's clear Dynasty should be and even still is the best way to play Mutant Football League, but it's a patch or two away from being what fans would really want it to be. Currently, it's a great idea dragged down by poor implementation. Patient players may be able to look past the game's less than optimal menus and mechanics that the fun new features are built around, but for most players, it'll feel pretty frustrating to have to play it in its current form. It's like when you get a new toy but first must remove all those ties and straps keeping it displayed in the package. Dynasty mode often feels like you're stuck removing those straps. There's a toy right there before you, but it feels like you never get to finish unboxing it all.
2.5 / 5
Dynasty Mode in Mutant Football League
Positives
  • Instantly becomes the best game mode on offer for already established fans
  • A surprising level of depth for an arcade sports title
Negatives
  • Introduces so many new systems and doesn't explain them well
  • Doles out too high a budget, which can make the challenge quite laughable for some
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent three hours back on the grimy, gory fields of the MFL, gathering an additional five achievements for 330 Gamerscore. An Xbox One review code was provided by the publisher.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is the host of the community game club TA Playlist. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.