There are a few universal truths: water is wet, in life you pay with time or money and Magikarp sucks.
Whichever way you cut it this oversized goldfish of a Pokémon has only ever made it into a trainer's team in order to hoover up the hard-earned XP of other monsters’ efforts in battle, at least until the point at which it evolves into a genuinely useful combatant in Gyrados.
So why then does such a maligned Pokémon warrant its very own mobile game? Read the app’s description and not even the developers seem to know:
What is this world coming to?! It's a Pokémon game all about the weakest Pokémon ever!
What kind of Pokémon is Magikarp?
- It's famous for being pathetically weak, unreliable, and generally useless.
- It can't learn any powerful moves, all it does is flop around and splash!
- When it flops its way too high in the sky, it's sometimes snagged by the Bird Pokémon, Pidgeotto; never to be seen again!
What is Magikarp Jump?
Despite the most unlikely of protagonists, Magikarp Jump has you catch and train Magikarp in a place called Hoppy Town - a locale where, for some unknown reason, everyone actually loves these clueless carp-like water types.
Early on you’ll meet the mayor of Hoppy Town, a Professor Oak-like sage and mentor by the name of Mayor Karp (yep, really). He introduces you to the town’s leagues of Magikarp trainers who face off against one another by seeing which of their expertly trained ‘karp can jump the highest; because if there's one thing we can concede Magikarp are good at, it's jumping, apparently.
As the newcomer to the town you're thrown into this weird world of competitive Magikarp jumping tasked with catching, feeding and training a fish of your own, or rather, fish (plural) of your own in order to progress through the game's eight leagues.
Magikarp Jump adopts a flat, almost Chibi-like art style with a colourful palette and charming, simple animations. The game is littered with brilliant in-jokes as well as nods to the wider franchise and displays a level of self-awareness not really seen in other Pokémon titles.
When you first meet the mentor-like Mayor you may recognise the 8-bit chiptune score in the background, lifted directly from the generation one games. Characters don’t necessarily know whether you’re a boy or a girl and there are even some cringeworthy pun-filled NPC names like Roddy Tackle on offer.
All in all, Magikarp Jump is a surprisingly charming mobile Pokémon game that we didn’t know we wanted but we’re glad it’s here.
How to play Magikarp Jump
If this sounds like your type of Pocket Monster mobile title then you’ll want to get your head around the basics first and foremost.
Whilst the game is, in essence, an auto-battler of sorts it actually includes a diverse range of other activities that contribute to your Magikarp's overall performance when competing.
You’re first introduced to your own Magikarp after catching it with an Old Rod and as the game progresses you’ll find yourself returning to find a new combatants time and again as, should you lose in even one league game, that’s it, your current champion has to retire and you have to train a fresh fish from the ground (er, water?) up, but don’t worry, your old companions don’t wind up on somebody’s plate, they still can be seen swimming around in the deeper areas of your pond from time to time.
To make the process of training consecutive champions that little bit easier you’ll unlock new ways to increase the rate at which your fish accrues Jump Points (JP), which paired with its weight (the larger the better) usually yields a higher jumper in competition.
JP can be increased by training your Magikarp in a number of increasingly diverse trials that you unlock simply by playing and leveling up your player rank, feeding it (which is also how you increase its weight) and by introducing decorations into its pond (which you can buy using diamonds, one of the in-game currencies).
Along the way, you'll also be expected to attract other Pokémon to serve as a support team/cheerleading squad for your principle piscine companion which you attract using Friendship Items that can also be purchased using diamonds or unlocked by battling through the various leagues.
Whilst we’ve covered all the basics there are a host of other aspects to the game including random encounters (which follow after training sessions) that sometimes yield extra goodies, a Pattern Dex, which similarly to a Pokédex, logs the various patterns on the Magikarp that you fish over the course of your league battles, and achievements.
Read next: What is Pokémon Duel?
How to install Magikarp Jump
If you’ve already headed onto the App Store or Play Store in the UK and most other markets outside of Japan and South Korea you’ll notice that Magikarp Jump isn’t actually available to download (despite already featuring a fully localised English language option). It hasn’t yet launched globally but that doesn’t mean you can’t download and play it right now, you just need to jump through a few extra hoops first.
Android users looking to download Magikarp Jump will have an easier time of getting ahold of the game due to the nature of their operating system.
- First head into the settings menu on your device and allow ‘Unknown sources’ within the security section (it’s advised that you switch this back off once you’ve downloaded the game).
- Next, search the web for ‘Magikarp Jump APK’ and download the relevant file from a trusted website. We used the APK found here.
- Find the downloaded APK on your device, open it and it should start installing just like any other app.
- Once installed, open up the game, enter your date of birth and jump in.
We’d suggest that iOS users simply be patient and wait for the game to formally arrive on their local App Store as the alternative download method is a little more of a hassle than on Android.
To download any compatible app from a region outside of your own you’re required to make a completely new Apple ID registered to the region in question (a selection you can make during setup) and then log into the App Store on your device with this new account.
Whilst it’s not exactly a difficult process bear in mind that any credit currently tied to your App Store will not carry and could potentially be lost. As such, use this method with caution, or as we said earlier, simply wait.
In its current incarnation, Magikarp Jump doesn’t require any special permissions to run and assuming you don’t intend on making any in-app purchases it doesn’t need a constant data connection like most other mobile Pokémon titles.
Now jump to it, those Magikarp won’t train themselves.
Want more Pokémon mobile goodness? Check out our Pokémon Go hub.