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Video Game / Pokémon: Magikarp Jump

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The most useless Pokémon receives their very own game.

Pokémon: Magikarp Jump (はねろ!コイキング, Jump! Koiking in Japan) is a spin-off Pokémon game for mobile devices developed by Select Button and released in May 2017.

It is a virtual pet game revolving around the lowly fish Magikarp, which must be bred and trained generation after generation to jump as high as possible.

Tropes featured in this game include:

  • Achievement System: This game has it. It consists of various objectives whose goal will be stretched every time you complete them. Completing them will reward you with various items or currency.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: The Player Character's bag strap and hair clips can be either on their left or right shoulder depending on which way they're facing.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Magikarp trainers, both your Player Character and opponent trainers in the league, since the latter is a recolor of your character. Their character design can invoke either gender, especially combined with the fact that most of their face is covered up.note  Man of Mystery even lampshades this by not being sure of whether to refer your character as a boy or a girl in the English translationnote .
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: Some story events, once cleared, will reward you with pond decorations and themes. However, to obtain the rest of the decorations, you have to buy them from the Diamond Shop. Keep in mind that decorations aren't just there as a, well, plain decoration. They provide bonuses that can help you raise your Magikarp easier and quicker.
  • Assist Character: Support characters have a small chance of cheering Magikarp on and granting a certain boost to their jump power.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Spending real money will let you unlock things faster, if you're so inclined.
  • Butt-Monkey: On top of the usual mockery those weak orange fishes get, the idea of losing them or letting them be killed is Played for Laughs due to how easily replaceable they are.
  • Cap:
    • Each Magikarp has a level cap. When it hits, you're forced to enter the fish on the current tournament and take it as far as its stats can go. The Magikarp will then retire and be replaced by a new one with a higher level cap relative to your trainer rank.
    • In general, as of version 1.0.x, the max trainer rank was 51, the max jump height was 130.11 meters, and the max Motivation Bonus was 600%. After the final content update, these were all significantly raised.
    • In the final version, you cannot raise Magikarp past 12.9T power (as 129 is Magikarp's National Pokédex number). For reference, the final opponent has around 24.4G power, or 0.19% of the cap.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: You can train your Magikarp to jump extremely high In a Single Bound.
  • Chest Monster: Event "Is It Treasure?" has the possibility of you running into this. If you decide to try to open a Poké Ball in this event, it is possible to encounter Voltorb instead, which immediately uses Explosion to KO your current Magikarp.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If you fully raised your Magikarp after the Expert League before the Elite Four update, you can bring it with you and literally sweep through three-fourths of the Elite Four League without any issues whatsoever.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: A cute version of the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl appears in one of the events.
  • A Day in the Limelight: An entire game built around Magikarp, which the franchise gleefully informs you is useless at any given opportunity.
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Forced Retirement" can involve your Magikarp getting carried away by a hungry Pidgeotto; the poor fish's fate is ambiguous at best, but you never see it again either way. In fact, the only way to "force" a retirement other than dying is evolving.
  • Double Unlock: Some in-game events can only be encountered if you've either completed a later league (which may require finishing its preceding leagues to gain access to that later league, hence the Double Unlock), gotten a certain support Pokémon (which requires diamonds to unlock), or both.
  • Excuse Plot: There's hardly a plot. You simply train Magikarp and set them on tournaments that judge their jumping ability. There are next to no characters other than Mayor Karp and all rivals are recolors of the generic protagonist.
  • Experience Booster: Food and training items can be upgraded to help train Magikarp faster, and there's also adding decorations.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • When your Magikarp is at its max level, you have no choice but to enter the league and complete as many battles as you can. Only by losing a battle can you allow your maxed-out Magikarp to retire. However, if a maxed-out Magikarp wins the current league, they will retire immediately.
    • Some random events can only be gotten if you lose one or more league battles.
    • In general, if you want to complete your Event Dex 100%, aside from the above, you also have to be willing to lose your Magikarp, as certain events automatically trigger a forced retirement. A few events only work once per game, though.
  • Feathered Fiend: You'll learn to dread every wild Pidgeotto you come across. It's this game's constant aerial threat, with three events dedicated to it.
  • Filler Arc: The "Expert Leagues" are bonus levels that are generally easier to pace through as opposed to the regular league levels, but they are explicitly just there until the app gets updated to add more leagues. They do not exist in the final update of the game.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the "Macho Karp" event, Dr. Splash offers to train the player character’s Magikarp to make it stronger. If successful, Magikarp's Level Cap will increase by one. If it fails, Magikarp evolves into a Gyarados, which is definitely much stronger than a Magikarp... but then is unable to compete in the Magikarp jumping competition.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: In this game, the Magikarp have several kinds of color patterns.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the random events can't be triggered easily if you play casually without paying attention to guides. Some are given hints, but even then most of the time it's entirely luck-based whether you'll see a particular event or not. Note that some other events can only be encountered late-game (as in later leagues). See Double Unlock above for this issue.
  • Haunted Technology: If you click the TV seven times, it starts to flicker. If you click it another seven times, it stops. If you go to training after this, a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl will appear.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Certain phrases/words like "Oh, Deerling" and "Wingullible" show up throughout the game.
  • Impact Silhouette: In league battles, Magikarp always make a Magikarp-shaped hole on the ground when they land.
  • In a Single Bound: As weak as they may be, Magikarp sure can jump good.
  • Joke Character: Mimiyku in the final update. It does the same exact thing as Pikachu, with even the candy amounts for the upgrade being the same, until its final level, where it requires 78 Support Candies to upgrade. The JP payout is higher than Pikachu's, but it's not Worth It, as Greninja and Litten both reward higher JP at their max levels. Once you've got both maxed out, though, Mimikyu becomes a decent addition and a way to get rid of the rest of your support candy once everything is maxed out.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Want to beat a league quicker instead of leveling up your Magikarp? Well, after Great League, the "Macho Karp" event will allow you to give the Magikarp to a scientist. If it's successful, the max level cap increases by 1, meaning that you can potentially sweep through matches that you wouldn't have had access to if you waited. What happens if it fails? Your Magikarp evolves into a Gyarados, forcing you to get a new one.
  • Microtransactions: This game's business model. In fact, this is the only way to obtain tickets, and thus, the Diamond Miner (the only item that can be purchased with only said currency).
  • Magikarp Power: Averted. Evolving your Magikarp into a Gyarados, while preferable in any other Pokémon game, is frowned upon in this game, as Gyarados can no longer enter competitions.
  • Mood Whiplash: It can be surprisingly shocking to discover that you can lose Pokémon for good in this seemingly simple and comical game. Your character goes home alone with their head low in shame and the Mayor lightly scolds them before the game continues as usual with a new Magikarp.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The "Magikarp Jump" battle involves your Magikarp and the opponent's Magikarp jumping as high as they can reach before crashing down to the ground with enough force to leave Magikarp-shaped holes.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Aside from the "jump" command (which can be interpreted as Splash/Hop), other commands issued to your Magikarp during training include "tackle" and "flail", both being moves that Magikarp can learn legitimately in the main games.
    • One of the training items is a jump counter, a device similar to the one in Pokémon Stadium's "Magikarp's Splash" mini-game.
    • The non-Expert leagues (Friend, Quick, Heavy, Great, Fast, Luxury, Heal, Ultra) are named after Poké Balls.
    • The Random Event "Tag Battle?" plays out like a normal Pokémon battle, complete with your Magikarp's Splash having no effect, and Pikachu's Thunder Shock being super effective on the attacking Pidgeotto.
    • Just like in a few other games, there's a strange appearance at one point: one event has a Cute Ghost Girl appear and tell your character and Magikarp to be gone; although you're forced to hightail it out of there, the experience makes Magikarp more courageous and raises its max level by one.
    • If you lose a battle, your trainer will pull their hat down, another reference to Stadium.
    • One event has you receiving mail from someone who calls themselves "Dragon & Cape Fan", an allusion to the dragon trainer Lance, who has a Gyarados in several Pokémon canons.
    • The icon for the Jump Counter training item shows the counter at 129, which is Magikarp's Pokédex number.
  • Non-Player Companion: You can unlock other Pokémon to cheer on your Magikarp.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up:
    • While your Magikarp can grow in size relative to a certain percentage of its max possible JP, you have to invoke this by keeping an Everstone in your inventory as long as possible in order to keep it from evolving into Gyarados, which automatically puts it into retirement. If you have no Everstone because you broke it (easy to do if you're careless in tapping or navigating the home screen), your Magikarp will begin to have a random chance of evolving at every level up (starting at level 20, just like in the main games). Fortunately, your Everstone will be replenished by the next generation, but only after the evolution event occurred (which, another fortunate thing, is one of the one-time events).
    • One random event even has a chance of your Magikarp evolving if you accept the request, regardless of whether you have Everstone or not. If you don't want to risk it (you'll get a lower JP reward instead though), it's better to decline at all times... unless you want your Magikarp to retire early.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Like in the main games, there's a rare possibility of you reeling in a Shiny Magikarp (called Gold pattern in this game). Evolving this Magikarp results in a red Gyarados.
    • Opponent trainers in the league are just a recolored version of your character.
    • There's a rare chance of a Shiny version of Corsola or Luvdisc appearing among the crowd of swimming Pokémon called by Manaphy.
  • Passing the Torch: A retired Magikarp and its successor will have a brief conversation before gameplay resumes. Afterwards, the previous 'Karps will still come by in the background to watch over the current newcomer.
  • Permadeath: Certain events can cause your Magikarp to be lost forever, and forced into retiring early.
    • Hilarity Ensues: Many of these events show the many spectacular ways your fish is gonna die; from being scooped in midair by a Pidgeotto to being blown to bits by a Voltorb.
  • Planet of Steves: Every Magikarp in the Elite Four League is named "Karson", with each fifth Magikarp as "Karpella". Whether if this was intended or not is not known at the moment.
  • Power-Up Food: Berries and confections eaten by Magikarp increase its Jump Power.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Depending on the pattern, the pool of possible bonuses varies. Patterns that require better variants of Old Rod slowly take out weaker bonuses from "Not so much of an individual" pool. Each category of pattern except the last one also has its own rare Pattern (Skelly, Orange & Gold, Orca, Patches, Tiger and Mask), which is guaranteed to select from "quite the individual" or "stunning individual" pools, while Gold is guaranteed to have a coin bonus.
  • Punny Name:
    • Every fifth battle in a league, you'll encounter opponent Magikarp whose names are based on carp-related puns, like Koichiro and Karpen.
    • One of the NPCs is called Roddy Tackle, with the surname both referencing one of Magikarp's moves and the term for a full set of fishing equipment.
    • Another NPC, called Flop Hoppington, is the commentator for the jumping matches. The word "hop" can be another word for jump, and a flop can mean that something is a failure (which goes with the theme of Magikarp being weak and pathetic), can be a term for when something heavy moves or falls in an ungainly way, and when fish are on land, their movements are usually described as "flopping" around.
    • Also the NPC Dr. Splash. Splash is the only move Magikarp knows until level 15, and is the most useless move a Pokémon can use. The events with Dr. Splash have her trying to convince the Player character that her plans will help their Magikarp get stronger. The events can end with Magikarp losing jumping power (Mystery Drink) or training it so hard by herself that it evolves (Macho Karp) and can't be used in the competition anymore.
  • Random Number God: Raising Magikarp in general. Training can either give you a small boost to JP or bigger depending on the training type (randomly) picked and whether the effort is "Good", "Great", or "Amazing" (again, randomly decided). Random events can happen between activities, some good and some bad, with the latter having a possibility of either JP loss ("All That Glitters" event if you're unlucky when investigating the "sparkling item") or you actually losing your current Magikarp forever (infamously, "Out of Nowhere..." if you fail). It's worth noting that Select Button's previous game, Survive! Mola mola! runs on this exact concept even more strongly than Magikarp Jump, with that game's fish of choice (the similarly Memetic Loser ocean sunfish) able to be killed by everything. Be thankful your Magikarp doesn't run the risk of choking on food or going into shock if you change your screen brightness too fast.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Literally. If you lose a Magikarp, you can just get another with little penalty (no motivation bonus), and the game actually rewards you for losing certain amounts of them, but you'll probably feel rather sour when getting a new Magikarp this way.
  • Rule of Seven: One random event's activation method uses this concept applied to the TV on the home screen.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Like the main games as of Gen VI (as it applies to the name input system), a word filter is placed in the game to prevent unfortunate names, even in a different language. However, the same problem with the main games' filter is carried over as well, resulting in seemingly innocent names like Georgie to be blocked. This naming system is worse, too, as there are cases where players can still name their Magikarp with obscenities slipped in yet they can still pass the filter.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: One appears in a one-time event. "Be gone... intruders", she says.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • You won't want Magikarp with coin multiplier bonuses to retire anytime soon.
    • The hidden "Be Gone!" event increases a Magikarp's level cap with no chance of failure, but can only be seen once.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: If you want a free way of getting a new Magikarp (subsequent fishing attempts after getting a Magikarp cost diamonds) when the Magikarp you just fished up isn't to your liking, you can force it to retire. And there are many ways to do this (though some don't seem "cruel", and you can manually retire one if your rank is 15 or higher). In fact, there's no Video Game Cruelty Punishment for this. See Replacement Goldfish above.
  • Virtual Pet: Has many of the hallmarks of one, such as feeding, training, and raising them long enough to grow. Atypically, however, is that keeping a single one alive as long as possible isn't really a main goal — several events lead to "forced retirement" with no penalty other than having to start over.

Alternative Title(s): Magikarp Jump