Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Developer: Select Button
ESRB Rating: E
My Rating: ****/5
In recent years, Nintendo has been expanding the success of their video game franchises into the emerging market of mobile games. While the Pokémon series has had major success with “Pokémon Go,” another spinoff has emerged as a surprisingly fun and addictive addition to the franchise: “Pokémon Magikarp Jump.”
Centered around the Magikarp species, you play as a trainer with ambiguous features that wants to become champion of the sport of competitive Magikarp jumping. Along the way, you’ll encounter unusual characters such as a laid-back mayor, an eccentric fisherman, an eager sales clerk and an absent-minded professor.
If the premise of this game sounds totally ridiculous, you’d be right. As with many spinoff games from the “Pokémon” franchise, they take the series in different directions from the main series; with often amusing results.
As a result, this mobile game spinoff provides an example of a free game done surprisingly well: like many entries in the series, it’s simple enough to pick up and play, but tough to truly master.
That said, the game isn’t perfect by any means. As a “freemium” game, the temptation to spend real-world money on in-game items and currency to get ahead is dreadful. Even so, the game is relatively generous with free items and in-game money; and depending on your skill level, you may get even more prizes as you play.
Even with the drawbacks of being a “freemium” game, “Pokémon Magikarp Jump” has a surprisingly fun and addictive setup hidden behind its admittedly silly presentation. While usually nothing happens when Magikarp uses Splash, this game makes a pleasant “splash” in Nintendo’s growing plans to expand into the emerging market of mobile games. Feel free to check it out whether you’re a fan of the series or just looking for a fun mobile game in general.
Review by Steven Pryor