Pokémon’s most pathetic creature is now a star.
The Pokémon Company International released Magikarp Jump for iOS and Android devices today. The free-to-play game has players training the fishy Pokémon to reach its full leaping potential. It’s a silly game, but the humorous approach could bring in fans who have always had a soft spot for Magikarp, who has been around since the original Pokémon games launched in 1996.
Pokémon became a major player on mobile in 2016. The location-based Pokémon Go is phenomenon, earning $950 million in 2016. It is still the No. 7 highest-grossing game on the U.S. Apple App Store, according to App Annie. The competitive mobile board game Pokémon Duel came out early this year and is the No. 282 ranked game in the U.S. Apple App Store, according to App Annie.
Oddly enough, Magikarp Jump has elements of roguelikes. Those games are famous for having strict death penalties, usually forcing players to restart after they die while getting to retain a few items or abilities. If your Magikarp is knocked out (Pokémon don’t die), you’ll have to start the game over with a new one. But each new Magikarp will be a little bit stronger.
Magikarps may look like weaklings, and … well, they are. In most Pokémon games, they can only use the move Splash, which doesn’t do anything. However, Magikarp evolves into Gyarados, a powerful, dragon-like Pokémon. So be careful what you say to Magikarp before they show up at your high school reunion and everyone gets all, “Oh, wow, Magikarp is hot now.”