Totally Over Pokémon Go? Magikarp Jump Will Give You Pokéfever All Over Again

Magikarp Jump is a magical new app that's all about celebrating Pokémon's most misunderstood and underappreciated character.

Unlike other Pokémon games, which are typically about collecting, battling or adventuring, this one is all about nurturing your bond with Magikarp to make it the most powerful competitive jumper in the land.

The game begins when you meet Karp, the mayor of Hoppy Town. In this strange land, everyone loves the otherwise neglected Magikarps, putting them through a special training regiment to jump to never-before-seen heights.

Magikarp Jump: Mayor Karp shows you the ropes

(via The Pokémon Company)

If you're unfamiliar with Magikarp's history, this video will get you up to speed.

With Mayor Karp's help, you hook your first Magikarp and start your journey toward jump stardom. To begin, you'll have to raise Magikarp's jump power, or JP. Eating the berries that fall into Magikarp's pool will slightly raise your JP. They appear every few seconds and never stop—but in the beginning you're not going to make quick progress by harvesting JP from berries.

Magikarp Jump: learning to eat berries

(via The Pokémon Company)

 

Bigger JP payouts come as a reward of training. In these mini-games, Magikarp does small workouts to bulk up and build JP. However, you can't do training anytime you'd like. You gain a chance to train every 30 minutes, and you can hold a maximum of three training credits at once.

When you finally decide to head to the league to face off against other Magikarp opponents, your JP score will determine whether you win or lose. To put it simply, the fish with the higher JP wins. When you do beat your rival, you're rewarded with things like coins, diamonds and trainer experience, boosting your trainer rank.

Magikarp Jump: jump fighting in the friend league

(via The Pokémon Company)

All of these are super useful. Coins can be spent not only to unlock new types of berries to eat but also to upgrade them so you earn more JP every time Magikarp feasts. You can also spend coins to increase the JP return from training and unlock better training exercises.

Diamonds can also be spent on handy items, stat-increasing decorations for your pool and powerful friendship items that allow Magikarp to befriend other helpful Pokémon. These Pokémon hang out by your pool to give you occasional boosts. To be honest, I haven't spent a single diamond yet—I'm trying to save up 600 of them to recruit Charizard as a friend—but you unlock other Pokémon friends just by playing. The JP-charging Pikachu is particularly helpful, as it occasionally shows up in a jump match to cheer you on and increase your JP even further.

Magikarp Jump: Pikachu friend Pokémon sleeping near pool

(via The Pokémon Company)

You'll also want to increase your trainer rank as quickly as possible. As you rise in rank, you'll unlock more unique items and more training courses and berries, plus raise the maximum level of the Magikarps you catch.

See, every Magikarp you train has a max level, meaning it can't get any stronger once it reaches its peak. This also means you can't just train one Magikarp forever. Once you reach the top level, they must take on the league in jumping battles against the other Magikarps until they either become the league champion or they are defeated. At this point, they retire. It's bittersweet saying goodbye to your fishy friend, but they stick around sometimes in the background and leave you with great bonuses to pass on to your next Magikarp-in-training.

Magikarp Jump: Seeing old Magikarp in pool

(via The Pokémon Company)

In my opinion, retiring in glory is much preferred to the alternative. Occasionally, random encounters are triggered in Magikarp Jump. Sometimes they're fun and friendly, gifting you more coins or introducing you to rare, beneficial Pokémon. Other times, they'll give you the dangerous choice to go for glory.

I thought it would be fine to urge a calico Magikarp, Patches, to jump to collect some ripe delicious berries out of a tree. To my shock, he was swooped up by a hungry Pidgeotto. The game notes that Patches was "forced to retire," but I know the truth. Patches met his untimely end and become Pidgeotto food. To paraphrase the mayor, he became a Tragikarp. Now, I'm much more careful and make sure to treat each Magikarp with love and respect. I'm looking at you, mysterious Pokéball in the forest.

Magikarp Jump: Magikarp swooped up by Pidgeotto

(via The Pokémon Company)

There are also some fun surprises hidden in Magikarp Jump. In most Pokémon games, Magikarp's only real value is that it evolves into the powerful Gyarados, but in Hoppy Town, no one really cares about the towering beast. In fact, they suppress Magikarp's ability to evolve by giving it an item called an Everstone. If you tap on Magikarp enough times, this Everstone can break, and your Magikarp might evolve into Gyarados. Of course, this will end your Magikarp Jump run—but it does look pretty cool.

Magikarp Jump: breaking everyone to evolve Gyarados

(via The Pokémon Company)

Once your Magikarp retires from the jumping league, evolves or dies tragically, it's time to start training a new one. Here's where Magikarp Jump somewhat resembles the "catch 'em all" mantra of other Pokémon games.

Magikarp Jump: fishing for new Magikarp

(via The Pokémon Company)

Historically, there have only been four variations of Magikarp. All boy Magikarps have yellow whiskers and girls have white ones, and there are the standard, orange-scaled Magikarps and the super-rare "shiny" variations with golden scales.

Magikarp Jump: fishing up a shiny magikarp

(via The Pokémon Company)

That's not the case in this game, where tons of variations exist. From the start you can unlock calico Magikarps with various color patterns, but later you'll unlock different Magikarps with white bellies, fish-bone pattern Magikarps and more. The further you advance in the league, the more Magikarp varieties are unlocked.

Magikarp Jump: new pattern discovered calico and dappled

(via The Pokémon Company)

And don't think you'll be clearing the leagues with just a few Magikarps. As you progress through the game, you'll have to repeat the beginnings or sections more and more often, going through multiple generations of successively stronger Magikarp until you can make it to the end of each league.

Magikarp Jump: fishing up a calico magikarp

(via The Pokémon Company)

This game is so hard to put down—particularly because you can technically farm berries all day if you want to, slowly but surely raising your Magikarp's JP. But if you want to take a more laid-back approach (which I recommend) you can also turn on your push notifications for the app and it'll alert you whenever you have three chances to train.

If you've ever been obsessed with a Pokémon game, Magikarp Jump is going to delight you. It turns out that whoever said Magikarp was useless was dead wrong.

 

If your Pokémon love doesn't stop at Magikarp, click HERE to find out what your favorite Pokémon type says about you.