The Pokemon Company announces that a new mobile game starring lovable loser Magikarp will make its debut on Japanese smart phones and devices this spring.
Magikarp has long been one of the most memorable Pokemon around, thanks to the contrast between its useless initial form and the enormous power it wields once it’s evolved into Gyarados. Now, the pocket monster is set to star in its own mobile game, Hanero! Koiking — which translates to Splash! Magikarp.
Earlier today, The Pokemon Company revealed that Splash! Magikarp was in development for mobile devices, and is expected to release this spring in Japan. There’s currently no word on whether or not the game will be released further afield.
The developer was similarly reticent to discuss what kind of gameplay will be on offer. All the information we have to go on is a fake newspaper article on the game’s teaser site, which describes two Magikarp-shaped holes that were found by a 27-year-old fisherman in the middle of a town, according to a report from Kotaku.
Given the scarcity of information at this point in time, it’s difficult to speculate about the new game’s format with any degree of accuracy. However, longtime Pokemon fans will notice that Splash! Magikarp bears a couple of major similarities to a minigame included in Pokemon Stadium.
The Magikarp-themed minigame in Pokemon Stadium encourage players to use the creature’s Splash technique to leap into the air and make contact with a score counter. The minigame only used one button on the Nintendo 64 controller, so it’s easy to see how it could be tailored to a touch interface.
The name of the minigame is perhaps the best evidence that it inspired the upcoming mobile game. It was called Magikarp Splash, which isn’t too much of a leap from Splash! Magikarp.
Pokemon is already the Nintendo franchise that’s best represented on mobile devices. Pokemon GO was obviously the biggest financial success of the bunch, but a port of Pokemon Shuffle was also released for Android and iOS, and earlier this year Pokemon Duel joined the list of apps based on the property.
Pokemon GO demonstrated that there’s a large audience of Pokemon fans who are eager to experience a different take on the franchise from their mobile device. Splash! Magikarp will no doubt be a very different game to Pokemon GO — but it’s clear that the Pokemon IP is a big part of Nintendo’s strategy to carve out a niche among mobile gamers.
Splash! Magikarp is scheduled to launch for mobile devices in Japan this spring.