When Japanese game company Nintendo decided to take the plunge in mobile gaming last year, they certainly made an epic splash. Leading their mobile revolution was the phenomenal “Pokémon Go”, a spinoff of the portable gaming juggernaut franchise that is still going strong to this day.

And from that spinoff was spun multiple other “Pokémon” themed mobile apps of every imaginable stripe. The latest of these is “Magikarp Jump”, a “life simulation” game where players raise the infamous “useless” basic Pokémon to compete in hilarious “jumping” competitions with other players.

It sounds all fun and all until you hear that your Magikarp, unlike Pokémon in most other games, can actually die.

Players aghast

Normally in Nintendo’s “Pokémon” franchise, death isn’t quite integral to the gameplay. When a Pokémon is beaten in battle, it “faints”. Granted, death does get mentioned in the backstory and world-building. The original games have the Cubone Pokémon that wears its dead mother’s skull and a tower/graveyard for Pokémon in Lavender Town that is haunted by Ghost-types.

In more recent titles, the Pokédex even describes which Pokémon are one another’s favorite food. In “Magikarp Jump” however, death is a near constant companion to the experience, with how many ways your in-game pet Magikarp could randomly get killed in the environment.

Players of “Magikarp Jump” were certainly taken by surprise at the hidden morbidity of Nintendo’s latest mobile app. They could be busy feeding, training, and competing with their Magikarp when certain random events trigger that has the possibility of killing their Pokémon.

Having one’s Magikarp examine a shiny thing in the pond could either catch a diamond item – or get them hooked by a fisherman. Having you Magikarp jump to catch a fruit item in a tree has the chance of your poor Pokémon being caught by a passing Pigeot for food. There are many ways to die in the game, something gamers haven’t been used to before where Pokémon is concerned.

Mild backlash

By now the news of this mechanic for Nintendo’s “Magikarp Jump” mobile game has made the rounds of social media. It’s apparently already viral on Twitter, where lots of shell-shocked gamers are grieving, griping, and posting screenshots of their Pokémon’s untimely fates.

About the only thing keeping the players from going into rage mode is that once their Magikarp has gotten unlucky, the game makes them immediately fish for a replacement…that they have to raise and train from scratch all over again.

And even if a gamer is lucky to keep their Magikarp to their maximum potential, the game mechanic makes the player automatically “retire” their aging Pokémon by returning them to the water, then fishing for a replacement all the same. Oh well.