Pokemon Magikarp Jump – Review & Tips

I always like to try out new games, especially games that kill time. Not in an addictive way, but just enough time before I start doing something else. I am never really a fan of online mobile games for the very reason that you need a stable connection to keep on playing.

About the game

Released in May 2017, it was fairly new by the time I started playing last June. The title sounds funny but it actually explains the gist of the game itself. You are a trainer who gets to fish out a Magikarp and after that, you feed it, train it, level it up, and when you reached its maximum attainable level, you send it out to battle with other AI trainers’ own Magikarps…by jumping. Yep, jumping. The one who jumps the highest wins. It says so in the title of the game. And if you win, you proceed to the next trainer. What happens when you lose? Do you train your Magikarp to become stronger? Feed it a few berries perhaps? Nope. You let it go silly! Yes when you lose to a certain trainer, you will have to release your Magikarp to the ocean/river/lake or whatever. After doing so, you will immediately be fishing for a new one. And the cycle continues.

So forget about ‘bonding’ with your Pokemon like the other Pokemon games. And believe me when I tell you that you will lose A LOT of times in the game. But here is the bright side, every time you let go of your Magikarp, you will receive a huge chunk of XP so that your character rank increases which will at the same time increase your Pokemon’s max attainable level. This will result in a stronger Magikarp. However, when you get to higher ranks, this will not always be the case since releasing one Magikarp doesn’t necessarily mean you will get enough XP for a rank up. Sometimes it would take you 2, 3, or even 4.

Fishing

At the start of the game you will be fishing for your first Magikarp. You will also fish after you let go of your previous Pokemon. Each Magikarp has special abilities and sometimes patterns.

Abilities like +50% JP for every food eaten or +50% JP during training helps your Pokemon level up faster.

Patterns is the exterior skin of your Magikarp and can be different every time you fish. It can be quite enjoyable collecting these and at the same time challenging since you are only relying on chance and how good your rod is.

Feeding

You feed your Magikarp by tapping the food that floats around the screen. Each food grants JP for your Pokemon so that it levels up. There are different ways to get food which are:

  • Drops on the screen
  • Pokemons that give out lots of food when tapped
  • Random chance by Pokemons who give out special items

You should also upgrade your food and unlock new ones using coins so that you get more JP from each bite!

Training

This is one of the most important parts of the game. Unlike feeding, this gives a much larger JP boost to your Pokemon. What I don’t like about it is that it’s random so you have to hope you don’t get the lousy ones. Also you have to keep this upgraded because in my experience there was a point that my food gave better JP than hitting that punching bag.

Also there is a chance for a random event after each training session. It gives you the chance to earn JP for your Magikarp, coins, diamonds, training points, and even a skill refresh! However they’re not all good. There are those that earn you nothing or can actually make things worse. Like those that kill your Magikarp!

Friendship Items

Despite what they’re called, these are the Pokemons that will help you throughout the game. You will start with Pikachu but will be able to purchase more using diamonds, which you can quickly earn from rewards. Each Friendship Item/Pokemon has special abilities. Some give JP, gold, food, and even a random item when you tap on them. Friendship Items have cooldowns that will reset every time you use their active skills.

You can also upgrade them to improve their abilities using Support Candies.

The ones I currently own are:

  • Light Ball (Pikachu)
  • Mystic Water (Piplup)
  • Charcoal (Charizard)
  • Amulet Coin (Meowth)
  • Miracle Seed (Bulbasaur)
  • Damp Rock (Slowpoke)
  • Soft Sand (Mudkip)
  • Soothe Bell (Eevee)

Decorations

These are like Friendship Items but instead have passive abilities, which means you don’t have to tap on them to work since they are always active, that help your gameplay experience and are placed around your ‘pond’. You are only limited to place a maximum of 5 decorations. And only those decorations will have their abilities activated. So choose wisely on which ones to spend your diamonds on since they can be expensive.

I currently use:

  • Octillery Pot
  • Starmie Bubbler
  • Exeggutor Palm
  • Important Sign
  • Lampent Lamp

Battling

Just like conventional Pokemon games, the battles are divided into Leagues. Each League contains about 15-20 trainers, with each one better than the former. You will compete on whose Magikarp can jump the highest or higher Jump Points. What I like about this is that your other Pokemons can sometimes cheer for your Magikarp which grants a percentage bonus to their jump. When you win, you will get a gold reward and proceed to the next trainer. But if you lose, a simple cinematic will play showing off your Magikarp’s achievements before you release it back to the ocean. Then as if the game just restarted, you will then fish out a new Pokemon from the lake.

However the main difference is that you get XP when you release your Magikarp and if that XP is just enough to rank your character up, your new Magikarp’s max attainable level will be higher making it better than the previous one, giving you the opportunity to defeat the trainer that you loss to.

Tips:

  • When you have enough Support Candies, be sure to upgrade Piplup first. It gives you 3 Training Points when you activate its ability.
  • Get Charizard and Slowpoke! Charizard gives you a random item and Slowpoke resets a Friendship Item’s ability. Which allows you to get a total of two random items.
  • Stay safe. Unless you’re a risk-taker, don’t try to grab the fruit from the tree because there’s a chance a Pidgey will swoop in to take your Magikarp. Happened to me 3 times. There is also the one event where it asks you to pick up a Pokeball, which can actually be a Voltorb in disguise that kills your Magikarp.
  • Challenge the League when you have fully leveled up your Magikarp first.

Bugs:

  • When you have too many Friendship Items, some of them tend to disappear. To fix this issue, I would usually access the Town menu and press Back so that the pond ‘refreshes’.
  • The game sometimes force closes if you make too many actions and taps on the screen.

Conclusion

It’s a great game when you want to pass time. It’s not for the hardcore gamers since there are cooldowns that take too long to reset. Also, progress slows down when you get to the higher leagues, especially the Elite Four. I’ve been playing casually for 3 months now and I haven’t defeated all of them yet. It would now take me 3 Magikarps to rank my character up and leveling Magikarps can be time-consuming. But despite these, it’s still a good game to check out!

Pros:

  • Offline
  • Great time-killer

Cons:

  • Disappearing Pokemon bug
  • Pace can get REALLY slow on higher leagues
  • Can become redundant & boring
Elmer Balbin

Full-stack developer from Bacolod, Google Local Guide, Agoda affiliate and casual DotA 2 player.

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