(Pocket-lint) - There's a new Pokemon game out on Android and iOS, bringing another little fix of Pokemon fun for you. This one, as the name suggests, is all about magikarp.
Considered to be the weakest and potentially least exciting Pokemon character of them all, the game focuses on bringing a little more excitement to the world of magikarp, so that critter you basically ignored in Pokemon Go, gets the chance to have some love.
Fortunately it's all wrapped in Pokemon charm, with crazy music and plenty to do. Here's everything you need to know about Magikarp Jump.
What's the point of Magikarp Jump?
Like other Pokemon games, Magikarp Jump is about catching, training and competing. Note we don't say battling, because the competition is based around seeing how high you can get your magikarp to jump.
The aim, therefore, is to look after your magikarp: catch a good 'karp, feed it, train it and finally compete with it, until it's time to retire it and start again.
The competition itself is simple and involves very little actual skill, you just press the jump button and your Magikarp jumps, aiming to jump higher than your competitor. If you jump higher you win, you progress up the ladder, gain XP as a trainer and collect bonus coins.
Simple huh? It's not quite as simple as that.
Understanding your magikarp's stats
There are two elements to your magikarp, there's JP – jump power – and there's the character level. The character level defines the size of your Pokemon, growing as you continue to eat.
When you catch a new magikarp it will have a particular level and JP. The level that you can power your magikarp up to will be defined by the XP of your trainer: the more you battle, the higher the maximum level your magikarp can be and the bigger it will grow.
As your magikarp gets bigger, other things happen, like any patterning will become clearer. There aren't just orange Pokemon, there's a wide range of different patterns. You'll be rewarded for this growth with additional diamonds or coins, which you can spend in town to buy other elements in town – for example buying decorations or friendship items which can aid in training or growth.
Jump power (JP) is really what it's all about, because when you go head-to-head with an opponent, you need to make sure you can out-jump them.
Jump power is slowly raised by getting your magikarp to eat the various berries that appear in its pond, through training, as well as through the help of friends. You can, for example, have Pikachu on your team, adding jump bonuses to help you along. But there's a lot to training and growing your JP, which is what the game is really all about.
How to train a winning magikarp and raise JP
Training makes the biggest difference to the jump power of your magikarp so you'll need to put that fish on a good regime to raise the JP at a rapid pace.
You can only train when you have Training Points, which gives the game a time element - you can't just slam a load of training, you'll have to wait for TP to be restored before you can train again, to keep you coming back.
Training exercises are randomly picked and you don't actually have to do anything, you go to the training and get your bonus once it is complete, however, you can improve the performance of your training:
- Coins can be used to upgrade the training effect and increase your JP faster
- Coins can be used to upgrade the food in the pond to raise your JP faster
- As your trainer XP level raises, you get access to more types of training
- Diamonds can be used to buy training or performance aids and power ups
- Retired magikarp in your pond can provide a boost to JP
Time is a big factor in Magikarp Jump. We've mentioned that training is limited by those points, but if you don't win in competitions, you'll find you can't compete either. You can buy LP Restore or Training Soda from Town using diamonds, which helps understand the economics of the game: the more coins and diamonds you have, the more you can boost training effects by upgrading everything.
Is Magikarp Jump free?
The game itself is free, but it uses what's called the freemium model, offering in-app payments to give you benefits that would take you a long time to earn in the game.
You can play Magikarp Jump free without having to part with any real money and this is what you should aim to do. That means playing more, collecting the coins and diamonds you earn along the way and exchanging them for the bonuses in Town.
If you really can't wait, there are in-app purchase options for more coins and diamonds, as well as an exchange system so you can trade one thing for the other. The purchasing options work just as they do in other games: if you want to spend a load of real cash you can, but you really don't need to - just play the game and the rewards will come.
What about random encounters?
This is actually the part of Magikarp Jump that's the most interesting. There are a wide range of random encounters that happen and bring some variety or a little boost. You might lose a jump and someone will come and restore a TP with a little praise, so you can train and get back out there.
In your pond you might find other interlopers that deposit a load of food for you, so you can munch up everything. Other times you'll just be given stuff that you can sell or use to give you boosts in other areas.
It's this random element that brings interest, because it takes some time playing the game before you really get to see what it's all about.
Is Magikarp Jump as good as Pokemon Go?
We'd say no. While both lean heavily on the world of Pokemon, Pokemon Go's magic really lies in the magic of discovery and that real-world exploration and gathering element. Magikarp Jump takes a pretty tame Pokemon character and builds an interesting world around them.
But Magikarp Jump is addictive, because there's so much to collect and so much progress to be made, unlocking things along the way. It's the sort of game you and dip in and out of constantly so it's sure to be a surefire hit with kids. The simplicity also means it's great for younger players.
Once you get to the end and complete a competition, your 'karp then retires to your pond and the process repeats, with your trainer and benefits slowly increasing.