Someone once told me that mobile games aren’t something you play to enjoy. You play them to get you through thing A to point B. I avoid mobile games in general but even thats an unnervingly low bar in my opinion. Even though I’ve outgrown them, Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run had more depth than most mobile games are willing to give consumers. And like them, I thought Magikarp Jump was a game I thought I could trust. I thought it’d respect my time at least a little, like Go and Run did. It didn’t. It doesn’t. And I still play it.

  • The novelty lasts, and quote me on this, exactly two generations into the heavy cup. After this point progression moves at a Slowpokes pace and gameplay turns into a grind.
  • The game is charming. It uses bold visuals and quirky scenarios and writing to give you the idea that The Pokémon Company is in on the Magikarp joke. You’ll find easter eggs sprinkled throughout as well. They even keep with established lore and make each Magikarp hold an everstone! Too bad the charm wears away after the first few encounters with repeat dialogue.
If you ever figure out how to break that everstone, you can even evolve Magikarp into a useless Gyrados!
  • It tries to compensate time you waste training new Magikarp by giving you growth boosts with upgradeable training and fruit. It doesn’t go far enough and the upgrades yield diminish returns once you venture past trainer rank 20.
  • At the very least, like most Nintendo & TPC games, they do there best to be fair with in app purchases. It doesn’t feel play to win, and they go as far as to limit the total amount you can spend.
In addition to being fair, in app purchases are also cute. I’d go for all these things as real Pokémon merch!
  • The pattern collecting is fun, but it’s unfortunate that keeping your favorite Magikarp isn’t possible. I’d appreciate more control of the cameo in your pond after retirement, even if it was purely aesthetically (or functionally like Feebas). Speaking of patterns, it’d be cool to see these make an appearance in the main series at some point.

I’d say sure, its a free app that’ll give you a laugh for a few hours. I don’t recommend investing much more time than that though. And I especially don’t recommend any in-app purchases, as the game is so shallow you’ll only regret it a few days later. But the best advice I can give is better safe than sushi!


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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Keep on the lookout for more of his editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here. Or find him on Twitter.