Pokémon's new game for iPhone and Android is out, and it's unlike anything it's done before

The Pokémon Company has never shied away from making unusual games. Ever since the original Red and Blue versions came out in 1996, it’s released many traditional, turn-based sequels. But it’s also dabbled in pinball games, photography games, puzzle games, RPGs, fighting games, and even one based on feudal Japan

And now, in perhaps its boldest move yet, Pokémon has released a mobile game centered entirely around what is widely considered its weakest, most useless creature: Magikarp.

The goal of “Magikarp Jump” is to make the titular Pokémon, Magikarp, well, jump. Your protagonist is introduced to Mayor Karp, who is in charge of Hoppy Town, where “everybody loves Magikarp.” The mayor explains that despite its reputation as a Pokémon that doesn’t know any good moves for battle, the people of Hoppy Town love competing with Magikarp in other ways. 

Gameplay is simple: feed and train your Magikarp to increase its Jump Power (JP), and then enter it into jumping competitions. There’s no skill involved, and the game isn’t difficult, but it’s endearing and I found myself becoming attached to the Magikarp I’d spent all of 20 minutes with. Unfortunately, once your Magikarp reaches level 20, it will retire from the jumping competitions and you have to start over with a new one. 

While “Magikarp Jump” doesn’t have the replay value of a traditional Pokémon game, or even a mobile game like “Pokémon Go,” it’s a worthy ode to one of The Pokémon Company’s most infamous creations. 

“Magikarp Jump” is available for free (with in-app purchases) on iOS and Android devices. 

Check out the trailer below: 

 

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