There are times when you have to question the very foundations of reality. To identify the sanity of the people around you and differentiate between the creative and mad. Can you interpret what motivates an individual to massage the udder of a cow and consume the resulting creamy excretions? Yet such inquisitive curiosity, brazen and dubious to many is now heralded as pioneering ingenuity of lactose infused sustenance. Without their visionary convictions cornflakes would be an inedible staple of breakfast consumption. Pizza would forever be compromised by latent flavours of elegantly melted cheese and tea would be forever undiluted, bringing England to its knees! No one can deny the influential significance of this curious discovery and I predict the same beguiling reverence will be attributed to “Magikarp Jump”.
I’ll admit that I was sceptical. The conceit of structuring a game, even a mobile one around Pokemon’s most worthless aquatic punching bag appears dubious. Yet here I am, training, feeding and indeed nurturing this convulsing turd into the best that ever was. Indeed much like it’s signature move, Magikarp Jump has allowed it’s namesake to make the most significant and effective Splash of its miserable existence! What a time to be alive! It was a mere 12 months ago that we were “hooked” (that is the standard and indeed “scale” of jokes I’ll be abusing today) on the much venerated Pokemon Go. Ironically this was a game that encouraged the harvesting of these ubiquitous flounders for precious candy. Now by some obscure twist of fate these dull creatures have somehow managed to breach the gaming market with its own absurd application. Upon opening the game you will find that “MJ” is really an endearing pastiche of the original canonical entries; a kid sets out on a journey to become the world’s greatest Pokemon trainer. Except here you are specifically limited to the cultivation of Magikarps. It’s an amusing homage to the game it’s inspired by, addressing the absurdity of Magikarp training as some kind of divine occupation, bestowed upon only the most worthy adopters.
As the title indicates instead of battling them in a traditional highly questionable combat against one another, you compete in a jumping competition. It makes sense considering that a splashing contest is hardly an exhilarating spectator sport, unless its between Kat Dennings and Alexandra daddario, which fits into the games rather skewed demeanour. Upon capturing your new angling understudy, using the traditional method of fishing with 3 distinctively indistinguishable old rods it will be your responsibility to train it to its full potential. The strength, durability or level of a Magikarps potential is dependent on the nature of that specific variation and the amount of experience they’ve gained, which can be increased by competing your Magikarp in tournaments. The more you participate in leagues the better you become. The level of success or indeed failure is greatly influenced by the “Jump Power” of your Magikarp, though some stat enhancing boosts can be initiated by your accompanying friend’s like Pikachu at the start, providing a small yet crucial benifit. You can even encourage the crowds to support you’re bumbling flounder by tapping the screen before the jump. Text will begin crossing the screen like “come on” and “We love you” from unseen audience.
There are in game purchases but they really aren’t required as just playing the game will net you sufficient in game currency just through natural progressive exposure. Other Pokemon will swim by while your Magikarp rests at intervals to provide additional assistance such as food or JP experience. As they grow the Magikarps you’ve trained retire and can often be seen in the water observing the new generation like ethereal apparitions. With every generation “JP” increases making each new acquisition a much more effective competitor than it’s predecessor. The Magikarps themselves come in a variety of colours and patterns that alternate from the standard orange flounder we’re accustomed to. Catching a variety of aesthetically unique Magikarps provides an expansion to your records, allowing you to document a retinue of rare species friends may not have, with many having unique individual bonuses such as increased JP percentiles from tournaments. When not engaged in battles (a very loose interpretation) Magikarps swim merrily in a big pond that can be decorated with furnishings befitting of such a valiant pagan beast, that also enhances the effectiveness of food or training, as well as any other recruited Pokemon. The only real issue is just how little engagement is required to not only improve the Magikarps but also play the game.
Methods of training are only differentiated by the amount of Jp you acquire at the end, not the individuality of the games themselves. Really they are just variations of the same thing. You tap the screen rapidly and repeatedly generating enough power to push/ hit an obstacle with enough force to gain Jp points. Depending on the distance or number of hits sustained, which at times feels random will determine how much you will obtain. It’s a simple task as well as an invaluable tool in progressing, but static and largely bereft of involvement. A more engaging approach to training and contests would’ve really enhanced the quality and experience, embracing you more into the splendours lunacy of this game. Also once a training session has been concluded or a battle has been victorious you maybe confronted with a random event that can reward you with additional coins, diamonds or an increase in Jp. But be careful as they may in fact punish you for your curiosity. Investigating a strange glowing object could result in a decrease in “JP”, or worse having your Magikarp attacked by a Pidgeotto, Magikarps natural predator and forced into early retirement. Sometimes it pays to be cautious. It’s a neat if not fully realised addition that relies on pure blind chance rather than any discernible delegation and rarely deviates from the same half a dozen scenarios.
Pokemon Go was an ambitious project that attempted to emulate the fictitious notion of capturing creatures in tiny prison spheres, by integrating it into our sophisticated world with the assistance of artificial reality, but never fully realising the potential nor limitations of this design. The beauty of this game is its simplicity. You catch a fish, feed it some food and watch it grow. It’s a glorified pet simulator that shouldn’t be nearly as compelling as it is. The game perpetuates the falsity that training these useless chip accompaniments is an auspicious career, a legacy to be admired. And that flagrant misuse of its proprietary sincerity is kind of charming. That altering the insinuation that these ineffectual creatures are in fact a most sought after species is strangely entertaining. Magikarp Jump is an endearing oddity to the already aberrant franchise. And an unexpected evolution that indicates that there is “splash” of creative affluence left.