Special controllers are a thing that developers have tried every once in awhile for quite some time. Back in the days of the PS2, they really pushed this idea with Guitar Hero and Rock Band with using all the instrument controllers, while Guitar Hero also had traditional controller schemes for those that couldn’t afford them. There’s also the various light gun accessories as old as the NES, itself, and the steering wheel and pedal peripherals for racing games.
Nintendo has tried it once again not only with a controller, but with a Pokeball controller. Looking as sleek as a normal Pokeball and allegedly having all the buttons necessary to play the newest Kanto adventure, here is my review of the Pokeball Plus controller!
The controller design is remarkably simple. It looks like a round Pokeball with a hand strap attached to it. The inputs are built into the design with the B button a soft button on the top of the ball and the “button” of the Pokeball being the analog stick that can be moved around and clicked for A button inputs. The other face buttons and menu options are triggered with shaking gestures with the controller’s gyro/motion controls.
Outside of that are the motion controls for catching Pokemon in-game. This is a little different from the Joy-Con controls. Instead of just flicking the controller in one direction to throw a ball, you actually have to aim and do a full throwing motion to throw a Pokeball. It’s got a bit more motion than the Joy-Cons do, but I have gotten a lot more accurate throws with the Plus.
The final features are LED and Speaker features. Whenever an attack hits in battle or you throw a Pokeball, LED lights come up around the controller’s button and you hear sound effects through Plus along with the speakers. This heavily reminds me of the speaker and lights from the PS4’s controller.
Of course, the features of this controller aren’t the big grabbing factor of the Plus, it’s Mew. Pokemon #151 is exclusively available from within the Pokeball Plus. Going with this idea, you can also put other Pokemon into the Plus and take them with you when you leave the house.
But before going on, let’s make something very clear. The Pokeball Plus has ONE Mew inside. Once you take them out, the Plus becomes empty. If you sync the Plus up with another Switch or another profile, there will no longer be a Mew to transfer over to your game. So, if you ever decide you want to reset your save file, put Mew back into the Plus or you’ll lose them forever until you buy another Pokeball Plus or find a very generous player to trade theirs to you.
Once something is in the Plus, it will then count your steps as you are away from your Switch and reward you in-game with experience points and candies based on how far you walked. The Plus also doubles as a Pokemon Go Plus accessory to link up with your phone, letting you catch Pokemon and spin Poke Stops in Go without having to mess with your phone.
Now let’s talk about the controller’s performance. Holding the controller works pretty well, but is a bit difficult for anyone with larger hands. The ball is a bit on the small side, which is a clear sign that it was designed for small children as opposed to adults. When I hold it, I often will have my thumb cramp up when I try to click the analog stick down, opting to push it down with the side of my thumb rather than the tip.
The motion controls in the Plus work nicely, though. Instead of flicking motions for wild encounters, the Plus has you do an actual full throwing gesture to throw a Pokeball in-game. To add onto this, you can ‘aim’ the controller to the left and right and it is much more consistent than the Joy-Con side throws are.
Another thing that is a big appeal for this controller is its Battery Life. Despite all the LED lights and speaker use, this controller will last you a good 20 hours on a full charge. I was pretty impressed at this range.
In conclusion, the Pokeball Plus is a sleek-looking controller disguised as a Pokeball. Although it is clearly designed for those with smaller hands and it is painfully easy to lose the exclusive Mew in the case of save file resets, this is a cute controller with incredible Battery Life for anyone who wants to be the very best, like no one ever was.
Final Score: 7/10