If you’re over Pokémon GO, there’s some good news. On Thursday, the Pokémon Company International launched a new Pokémon game for mobile devices called Magikarp Jump. The new app stands out in a franchise that has been trying really hard for more than 20 years by doing so much less.
In a hilariously bleak world full of bad water-related puns and unending self-deprecation, Magikarp Jump presents a quest with all the same trappings as your typical Pokémon adventure — Pokémon to train and level up, competitions to win, badges to claim — but the entire experience is characterized by a floppy fish deemed “pathetic and useless,” even by the hilariously named Mayor Karp.
Neither Nintendo nor Niantic have anything to do with Magikarp Jump, so the gameplay is nothing like the main Pokémon games or Pokémon GO. Instead, you feed, train, and level-up your own Magikarp so that it can get fatter and (somehow) jump higher than other trainers’ Magikarp.
Magikarp Jump is truly for fans of the franchise who have no interest in walking kilometers at a time just to play a Pokémon game on their phones. Heck, they’d rather laugh at Magikarp rather than power-level it into a Gyarados.
As the lamest Pokémon of all takes center stage in Magikarp Jump, the game becomes the sarcastic antithesis of everything that Pokémon GO represents. You need neither feet nor skill to play this game, and the silly premise only serves to enhance the game’s sarcastic and likable humor.
Much of the player’s experience is spent poking pieces of fish food that grant your Magikarp more JP (Jump Points). And when they level up too high, rather than evolve into a giant sea beast, they just get gently “retired” at sunset in a bizarrely macabre scene. Heck, as Kotaku notes, your beloved Magikarp can straight-up die, and the game treats the loss with a shrug. It’s fantastic.
Magikarp Jump won’t scratch that competitive itch that so many Pokémon fans have, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still good clean fun.
Check out the launch trailer here: