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Is Pokémon: Magikarp Jump Worth the Hype?

Six months ago, if you asked me which Poké-craze would happen next, a game centered around Magikarp would be at the bottom of the list. Not only is the fish Pokémon famous for being weak and utterly useless, but all it does is flop and splash around.

It's the Energizer Bunny of Pokémon: It just keeps on going … err … jumping. So, why not make a mindless mobile game, right? Get ready to place that palm to face, folks. Here’s what you need to know about Pokémon: Magikarp Jump.

What is Magikarp Jump?

Much like a '90s Tamagotchi, Magikarp Jump is basically an evolution game where you feed and train your Magikarp to gain points for battle. With each generation you raise, your future generations of Magikarp grow even faster and can gain fun, unusual patterns like calico or polka dots. Trick out your pond with decorations, or meet up with one of the many Poké-cameos, like Pikachu and Piplup,to gain more points and create the most majestic Magikarp ever.

Throughout the game, you are prompted by Mayor Karp, and you make your way through the eight competition leagues of Hoppy Town, a place where everyone raises Magikarp. Your goal is to become the champion trainer, and the bulk of the game is spent feeding and training your beloved fish for these jumping battles.

Is it worth the hype?

In short, no. When the developers say anyone can play this game, they really aren’t joking. Now I’m by no means a hard-core gamer, but this is borderline insulting to even someone with my limited experience. You literally just feed and “train” your Poké-fish to get points so it can jump higher than the other fish. And by train,” I mean push a button and watch your Magikarp flop around a bunch or beat itself against a punching bag.

Don’t even get me started on the battles — or lack thereof. One button takes you to a map; then another starts the battle. Again, you’re a spectator, watching to see which fish jumps highest. You can’t even tap your way to victory or strategize against competing Magikarp, but you might have a nice giggle when your high-jumping fish gets snatched by a hungry Pidgeotto.

Other than the ability to pay attention, zero skill is involved. And even then, the in-game prompts have to be skipped individually, which gets monotonous. A word to the wise: Make sure to turn off your sound — the music and sound effects will make your eardrums cry.

Bottom Line

Overall, the iOS and Android game is a loving parody of the tragic beauty that is Magikarp, in all its bouncy brilliance. Unfortunately, Pokémon missed the mark on both playability and entertainment. But if you're a die-hard Pokémon fan who’s looking for something mindless to pass the time, there might be something for you here.

Image Credits: The Pokémon Company