Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.
What Is the Poké Ball Plus?
The Poké Ball Plus is a special controller that can be used with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s GO Eevee! It looks like a Poké Ball and can be used to play the game, take a Pokémon for a stroll outside of the game, and can even be connected to the Pokémon Go mobile app.
The Poké Ball Plus controller has a control stick that can be pressed in as a button. There is an LED light that surrounds the control stick. It also has another button on the top. All game functions can be performed with the control stick, top button, and shaking the Poké Ball Plus. When you are not playing Pokémon: Let’s Go, you can carry one of your Pokémon around inside the device to level up and find items. You can also connect it to the Pokémon Go mobile app and use it as a Pokémon Go Plus.
This unique controller can be purchased separately for $49.99 and is also available bundled together with either version of the game. While not necessary to play Pokémon: Let’s Go, the Poké Ball Plus adds an extra element to the game and makes the game more fun and immersive.
Pros of Using the Poké Ball Plus in Game
The Poké Ball Plus makes Pokémon Let’s Go much more fun. Since this game is so much more simplified that the main series Pokémon games, I was worried I would get bored with it quickly. Catching Pokémon with the Poké Ball Plus is super fun, however. It feels more like you are actually throwing a real Poké Ball than if you were to use a Joy-Con controller. This special controller makes the game much more immersive, which is the main advantage of using the Poké Ball Plus.
Cons of Using the Poké Ball Plus in Game
Navigation can be a bit tricky with this controller. For certain controls, you much shake the Poké Ball Plus, but it doesn’t tell you on the screen how to access these features using this device. For example, to open the Options menu, it tells you to press Y, but if you are using the Poké Ball Plus, you have to shake the controller instead. It is a little bit unclear how to do certain things with it until you get used to it. It also takes some time to get used to the controls.
You also need to keep a set of Joy-Cons nearby when playing docked if you want to take screenshots while playing, as there is no screenshot button on the Poké Ball Plus. When you are finished playing, you will need to switch controllers in order to return to your Switch’s home screen, as the Home button is also missing from this controller. This does get a bit tedious.
The Poké Ball Plus comes with Mew. Nintendo says that this is the only way to get the mythical Pokémon, so if you want Mew, you will need to get the device. This may seem like a hefty price tag if you want Mew but aren’t interested in the device itself. Mew is a nice bonus for those who were already planning on purchasing the controller, however.
Poké Ball Plus Tips and Tricks
It can take a little bit of time to get used to using the Poké Ball Plus controller. When you first start, it will likely feel awkward to hold. You may often find yourself holding it facing the wrong angle and moving in the wrong way or unable to select the options you want as a result. Over time, you will get used to it, and it won’t be as much of a problem any more.
I find it easier to use the Poké Ball Plus with my left hand, even though I am right handed. On a regular controller, you use the left control stick to move your character in most games, so this feels more natural to me. When I try to switch to my right hand, I end up walking into walls. So if you are still having trouble controlling your character with your Poké Ball Plus controller, you may wish to try the opposite hand to see if it is any easier.
I also don’t use the plastic ring attached to the wrist strap, as I am afraid it will scratch the device. The plastic ring isn’t necessary, but it is a good idea to use the wrist strap, as you will likely drop the Poké Ball Plus at some point while playing the game. You don’t want to accidentally throw it into your TV screen if you are playing docked.
Taking Your Pokémon for a Stroll
In addition to using the Poké Ball Plus as a controller in-game, you can also put one of your Pokémon inside it to take it for a stroll while you aren’t playing the game. When your Pokémon is in the Poké Ball Plus, it can gain experience while you walk around the real world. You can play with the Pokémon inside by gently shaking the device and pressing the button. This functionality is similar to the Pokéwalker device that came with Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, though it lacks a screen, limiting its functionality in this regard.
Since there is no screen, you can’t really do much with the Pokémon inside the Poké Ball Plus. To interact with your Pokémon, press the stick button down. The Poké Ball with start to vibrate and the LED light will flash. That is about all there is to do with your Pokémon while on a stroll. It isn’t really as fun as the Pokéwalker was, but its still a neat idea.
When your Pokémon returns to your game from its stroll, you will receive rewards from your Pokémon and the Pokémon will gain experience, so there is at least some benefit to using this feature.
Using the Poké Ball Plus as a Pokémon Go Plus
When connected to your smartphone and the Pokémon Go mobile app, the Poké Ball Plus works the same way as the Pokémon Go Plus device. When connected to the app, you can use it to catch Pokémon and collect items from Pokestops, just like you can with the original Pokémon Go Plus. The Poké Ball Plus also tracks your steps to help you hatch eggs and collect candy for your Buddy Pokémon.
This functionality is useful if you play Pokémon Go a lot, but don’t already have a Pokémon Go Plus. I prefer the original Pokémon Go Plus for playing the mobile game, however.
If you want to take a Pokémon from Let’s Go for a stroll, you may prefer to use the Poké Ball Plus just so that you don’t need to carry both devices with you. The ability to connect to the mobile game is a nice feature, though it isn’t totally necessary, in my opinion.
Is the Poké Ball Plus Worth It?
If you are a big fan of Pokémon, you will probably want to get the Poké Ball Plus to play Pokémon Let’s Go. The controller makes the game more immersive and gives you the sense of actually catching Pokémon. Though it is a bit of a gimmick, it is a fun gimmick, and most Pokémon fans will thoroughly enjoy the experience of exploring the Kanto region using the Poké Ball Plus. Though it is a bit pricey, it is worth it if you plan on putting a lot of hours into this game.
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber