Mutant League Football is probably one of the (if not the) most beloved alternative football video games in history. At least as far as an adoring, nostalgia-driven cult following goes. And after what feels like decades, because it has been decades, the ultra violent and gloriously twisted take on one of America's most popular sports is back! Or at least it's trying to come back.
Series creator Michael Mendheim has turned to Kickstarter to try and bring the spiritual successor of the EA classic to multiple platforms, including iOS! The project is still in the early stages, but the plan is to keep all the violence and tongue-in-cheek humor fans have been craving intact.
As one of those fans who's been lamenting the distinct lack of Mutant League over the past 20 years, I could not be more excited about this. Of course it's too soon to know how it's going to turn out, or even if it's going to meet its $750,000 goal in time, but simply knowing that the series' creator is interested in bringing it back is more than enough for me!
From what I understand, football (i.e. soccer) has the most intense fanbase of any sport. And intense fans require intense apps, right?
Okay, so maybe FTBpro - The Football News App isn't necessarily intense, but it certainly seems useful. It enables users to create their own custom news feeds that follow only the leagues and teams they want. In addition to up-to-date match stats and scores via push notifications, naturally.
Developer: Mobage, Inc. Price: Free
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating: User Interface Rating: Gameplay Rating: Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I’ve haven’t played many sports titles on iOS with good reason; like fighting games, the gameplay is all dependent on latency. For developer Mobage, Inc., the solution for translating fast-paced hoops to the non-buttoned platform is to remove the ability to play basketball all together. Instead, we are left with a situational analysis app, an almost coaching approach, where every player action is dictated by the statistical probability of its outcome. From passing to shooting to playing defense, each action is a timed decision where players must choose the best course of action to score a bucket.
The way Showstopper sets up this grand experiment is placing a 5-member squad against an opposing team in league play; the catch is that I didn't actually play but rather governed the team of stars. After the opening tip, it is up to me to decide the actions of the team ,as every two seconds the players pause and I am given five seconds to decide whether to dish the rock or shoot the pill. This may seem to be a lengthy process but as each game takes less than three minutes to complete, I am hungered, like looking for seconds on Thanksgiving with none to be found. Upon loading the first match-up, my first thought is, “this is different." However, by the tenth league game, I'm sure that I'm not enjoying the basketball portion nearly as much as the collectible card game (CCG) component.
Did I utter basketball and CCG in the same sentence? That I did. How Mobage came to the conclusion to unite the two is well beyond me but what I do know is that it feels compelling enough to stick with (even if basketball gameplay is non-existent). At the conclusion of every match-up, the standouts from my team level up and continue to gain xp that translates into new abilities on the court. So, instead of continually shooting jump shots right under the basket, new window options of “layup” or “dunk” appear at my coaching disposal. Customizations are also the rave, as new gear equates to in-game attribute bonuses. With the gamut of CCG depth for such a simplistic sport, I could not help but imagine what could have been if this type of CCG were layered onto a different genre.
Is Showstopper Basketball a great sporting experience with excellent b-ball gameplay? Absolutely not. Is it worth a glance to imagine what cool CCG and sports could possibly become on iOS? Absolutely.
Football Heroes, Kickstarted a year ago, is coming to fruition. Michael Marzola, one of the game's developers, showed off an early build of the game with non-final art, but this title already shows promise. It's inspired by classic arcade football games such as Tecmo Bowl, with a dash of the brutality of NFL Blitz, and World of Warcraft. Wait, what? That's because the players on a team can be endlessly customized, with skill trees to help make them play better and avoid more tackles. The game has a long way to go still, but expect to play this one during NFL season.
Greedy Bankers Vs. The World was only the beginning for Alistair Aitcheson. Now we have Slamjet Stadium to satisfy our same-screen multiplayer desires. Think football re-imagined by a bunch of aliens who were trying to piece the rules together a couple hundred years from now and you'll have the basic gist of it.
Where exactly did you pull Slamjet Stadium's inspiration from? Not just the wacky-looking gameplay; I'm talking about the physical roughhousing, too. Super-intense family game nights as a young boy perhaps?
Haha, I don't know really! I'm generally a fairly calm and friendly guy. I was never into rough-housing at all when I was a kid! I am very competitive though, as my friends know - I'll always be looking for a way to mess up my rivals in any game.
So I wanted to experiment more with this kind of game design. The original prototype for Slamjet Stadium came out of a big batch of experimental multiplayer games I did over the summer and tested out in the pub.
Often you'll find yourself scoring by spotting a really awesome shot or powerup, so paying attention to the board is really important. Hand-grabbing is certainly a useful tactic, but it's only one way of doing things. That makes play really dynamic. One moment it could be best to play rough, the next moment you might need to think fast, or play accurately.
While we're on the subject of the multiplayer, how are you going to influence players to stop being polite?
People tend to jostle as much or as little as they feel comfortable with, and surprisingly that's usually quite a lot! There's typically a "eureka" moment when one player realizes they can get in the way of their friend, or use their opponent's characters instead of their own. The physicality often grows from there!
So I've put messages in the loading screens suggesting ways you can "cheat." The game's advising you to play foul, so it must be okay! That eureka moment has to inspire creative play, so it's important that players know that the game isn't degenerating into chaos.
Would you mind going into a few specifics? Stuff like general gameplay, number of teams, differences between teams (if any), etc.
Each player gets two characters on a team, and the rules are fairly simple. You grab a character with your finger, pull back to charge their engines, and let go to send them flying across the screen. You want to hit the ball into your opponent's goal, and the first to score five points wins the match.
There are also various power-ups and stage hazards that appear: rage power to smash up your opponents' characters, freeze power that traps them in ice, multiball release, powerful gusts of wind.
My favorite activates "Last Man Standing" mode, where traps come in from the side of the screen, and it's up to you to avoid them (or throw your opponents into them); a point is awarded to the survivor!
There are nine different arenas in the game, with different effects and hazards. As for the teams, there are six to choose from and each has different physical properties: shape, weight, boost power and grip.
Are there going to be multiple game modes? Might we be able to look forward to something similar in a future update?
Right now it's split into Multiplayer and Solo Play. In solo, you take on a gauntlet of computer-controlled opponents over three leagues of increasing difficulty. Beating each one unlocks an extra multiplayer stage, and you can compete via GameCenter over your fastest completion times.
In Multiplayer it's very much a quickmatch format: you choose your teams and arenas, and can have a rematch or pick new teams after someone wins. I'll probably add some extra variations and setups in updates; I guess it depends on what players want to see after the initial launch. My focus was on getting players into the action as fast as possible.
All the elbow-slamming, wrist-grabbing, butt-nudging madness of Slamjet Stadium can be unleashed upon your iPad on March 14th for $2.99.
BBC has released an iPhone app specifically targeted to the UK sports lover. In other words, Football fans. In my quick look it's well done, and generally snappy version of their mobile site. Though it does seem to lack features that you would expect like the ability to add favorite teams. (or favourite teams if you prefer)