REVIEW: Magikarp Jump

A common issue with mobile games from gaming franchises is that they end up basically being stripped down versions of their regular cousins. Think Sonic Dash or every mobile EA Sports game ever.
Magikarp Jump has such charm that for a while it seems that it might defy that stereotype. Ultimately, however, it remains exactly that: a throw-away mobile version of a proper game – all surface and no substance.


Much like every other Pokemon game Magikarp Jump involves levelling up your Pokemon and battling against others. It’s Magikarp only around here and the battles are to see how high each can jump – hence the name of the game. You fish for a new Magikarp, train it, feed it and then take it into battle. Eventually that one will retire and you’ll fish out another and go through the same process again.

So far so good. The training, battling and the ‘random encounters’ that pop up after each of these things are all light-hearted and goofy. The graphics are bright and simple. What the game does particularly well is not have any natural stopping points – there are always more battles or training sessions or even just food to eat, so it can be quite addictive.


Eventually though, the novelty wears off and the charm runs out and you realise that fairly early on the game has run out of ideas. Classic mobile game problem! Magikarp Jump’s issue is that it shows it’s hand too early. Just when the game should be going up to another level it becomes a grind of continually repeating screen presses. It moves from being a game you play to being something you tend to, like you would a plant on your window sill.

Whether it’s that Magikarp Jump shows you everything it has to offer straight away or whether it is simply that it doesn’t have enough to offer in the first place, it’s an experience that simply doesn’t last long enough to justify the level of enjoyment it brings. ‘Briefly amusing’ is not what good games are made of.



Hot Wheels Race Off

The Boy has really discovered playing games on his iPad in the last 12 months or so. Where before any time he spent on it was passive time watching cartoons he now splits his iPad time evenly between playing games and watching videos – mostly of other people playing those games so that he can pick up tips!

One of his other main past times is playing with Hot Wheels cars and tracks so imagine how perfect it was for him early this year when this game arrived:



Hot Wheels Race Off is available on iOS and Android. The controls are simply accelerate and brake so it’s easy for a child to initially pick up.



However, that’s where the simplicity ends. It’s turned out to be a reasonably deep and difficult game requiring skill and also a great memory to remember what any particular race course has for you next. In addition all the cars in the game are also available as actual toys so The Boy can match up the in-game vehicles with his real-life ones.


There’s a first time for everything

When he first started playing it The Boy would often ask for my help with different levels but as he has now completed every track (and has set his sights on the fastest time on each) I can no longer help.


This is the first game in his life that he has been very literally and demonstrably better at that me. I guess it’s all downhill for me from here! Soon I’ll be asking him for tips on the latest Mario or Halo games.


REVIEW: Plants vs Zombies

  • Released: 2009
  • Played on: iOS
  • Also available on: Android

Plants vs Zombies Gameplay.png
By Source, Fair use, Link

Short Review: The first mobile game to match other video games for depth and replayability. I have completed it countless times. The different plants and different zombies and all the combinations left you always searching for the perfect strategy without ever leaving you with no options as you slowly lost.