I started to see reports of a new Pokemon app on the Google Play store, so of course I had to try it for myself!
What would a game like “Magikarp Jump!” actually entail? What is it?
Long story short, it’s a pet management simulator, with added competitions to take your Magikarp to the top! It’s brightly coloured, simplistic fun. But it’s a little hollow and a few hours (over the space of a few days) is as far as my attention lasted.
This is a game with a nice and simple premise. You need to raise your Magikarp to be able to jump the highest, and compete against other Magikarp in the world.
You earn “JP” from training, and from feeding your Magikarp special food. The more JP, the better it will fare at tournaments.
Along with JP, you need to be concerned about the actual level of your Magikarp, too. You start out and can only fish them out with potential to reach low levels. However, as you develop, as a trainer, your ability to catch higher level Magikarp improves.
So you’re in a cycle, train a Magikarp as high as possible, compete as far as possible, earn experience as a trainer, catch a Magikarp with higher level potential and repeat the cycle.
It’s a simple, fun and mostly mindless game that lets you just push things forward at a reasonable pace. You earn different currencies (gold and diamonds) which serve to be able to by upgrades to the types of training you can do, the food you can feed your Magikarp, the decorations in your pond and then improving these things.
That’s the sum of it!
How does it look?
It looks wonderful, vibrant and bursting with colour. It’s lovely to look at and the character design for your avatar is done in such a way that you don’t know if you’re male or female (nor do people that you encounter).
What else happens?
Well, there are all kinds of encounters, where people come along and provide you with aid like Golden Nuggets or Magikarp massages.
There are moments where you’re walking home from a training session and tested with temptation. I’ve lost a Magikarp to temptation, and it was devastating! I’ll not spoil it, but every encounter since that fated moment, I’ve been cautious, and so far kept the rest of my Magikarp. That doesn’t mean I don’t wonder what else might happen, but I can’t stand the thought of that kind of pain again.
So you’ve trained and trained, and force fed your Magikarp until it has hit Max Level (and therefore max JP), great. Now it’s time to compete.
The “matches” aren’t particularly involving. You watch your Magikarp Jump, see how it stacks up against the opponent, they land, the winner is announced. You move on.
It’s a long process without much involvement. I didn’t mind for a start, but it’s a lot of fuss to just tap through a few screens. It gets stale quickly.
If you lose a round, you retire your Magikarp and then raise a new one, hopefully taking it to a higher level, and to beat your previous progress. Plenty of tournaments to play through, and rounds to grind through.
If you’ve already won a round in a tournament, then when you come in with a new Magikarp, you’re allowed to skip the match, in as much as it doesn’t show the animations, and just announces a winner. This is great, but it’s still tough to have to press through screens when you know you’re going to win the round, you already did, but with a lower level Magikarp!
It becomes a grind, and there’s no real sense of progress or reward.
So, how is it?
Well, it’s pure and simple fun. It’s not taxing on your time, no need to really build or wait for resources (your training points are the exception there, where you can only train so many times within a set time period, and then they’re on a cooldown before you can train again), which is nice in the age of resource management and pay to win games.
However, with no sense of progression, no real reward for continued play. It’s repetitive without any way of keeping you hooked. This is great, in one sense. Why should a game be addictive, if it’s fun, then that’s great! Plus, it’s free, which is also great.
Maybe I’m brainwashed in the world of achievements and loot and rng, but I just don’t get any satisfaction from this game anymore. I’ve had about 10 Magikarp and just given up caring about training and feeding.
It’s a lovely time killer for a little while, but it becomes ultimately dull and repetitive, which is a shame.
Fun while it lasted, it just didn’t last very long.
Also, what the hell is the plural of Magikarp?!