Nintendo’s latest mobile game, available on iOS and Google Play, is a game about raising a Magikarp, one of the least appealing Pokémon in the entire Pokédex. That game’s name? “Magikarp Jump.” The game’s goal? To raise and train “the weakest Pokémon ever” so that it can succeed in a flopping contest with other Magikarp.
Play begins by fishing out your Magikarp from a pool and then feeding it. Feeding your Magikarp is as easy as swiping your finger within the area of its pond; you are effectively pointing out where food is, rather than directly feeding the fish by hand. The more food your Magikarp eats, the more quickly it will level up. While it is always a good idea to level up your Magikarp, levels are not the sole arbiter of success; you can also put your Magikarp through a variety of training exercises to improve its flopping ability. As every game features some limited interaction, the training exercises require points that can be earned by waiting in real time, received as items or from using purchased items. After a player has sufficient trained her Magikarp, she can run it through a jumping match. When at the match, the player commands the Magikarp to make a single jump.
While Magikarp Jump is nowhere near the complexity of Niantic’s “Pokémon Go,” it doesn’t necessitate the need for a connection to the internet nor does it require more than a pair of thumbs to operate. While Magikarp Jump may differ greatly from the gameplay of Pokémon Go, both titles serve as ways of introducing people to a variety of monsters from the Pokémon franchise; Magikarp may be the focus, but players can still run into monsters like Pikachu to cheer your fish on to literal great heights. After you have sufficiently trained your Magikarp to be its best, you can then catch a new one, with slightly better initial stats, and start over.
While Magikarp Jump has you managing and training one of the Pokémon franchise’s lamest monsters for a contest framed around Splash, the only move Magikarp knows until level 15, it does an excellent job of getting you to bond with the bony, dork of a fish and root for its success.