Niantic is trying to retune Pokémon Go for a world in which we're all staying inside to limit the spread of coronavirus. That may actually make the game more enjoyable for returning players. If you want to get serious about your Pokémon adventure, you might even consider buying the Poké Ball Plus, which is essentially a better version of the original Pokémon Go Plus. It's not cheap at $50, but it does do a lot of potentially useful things.

What is it?

The Poké Ball Plus is essentially a small Bluetooth controller that connects to your phone for Pokémon Go. Unlike the Pokémon Go Plus, this device also works with the Nintendo Switch Pokémon games. With the Poké Ball Plus, you can extend your Pokémon experience beyond the game itself, catching mons even if Pokémon Go isn't open.

There's a button on the top and a joystick on the front, which have different functions for different games. When paired with your phone, the Poké Ball Plus lets you throw Poké Balls simply by pressing the top button. The ball vibrates when there's a Pokémon in range, but you can also have the game open to track Pokémon more accurately. The LED flashes red if a Pokémon escapes and multicolor if it's caught. Keep in mind, this device only uses the standard red Poké Balls you've collected in the game. It can also spin Poké Stops in Pokémon Go for you. Bonus: it charges over USB Type-C.

Should you buy it?

The Poké Ball Plus costs around $50, which is a lot to pay for a controller for a free-to-play mobile game. However, it does come with a neat bonus—the legendary Pokémon Mew. You can transfer Mew to a Switch game, but be careful where you send it as you only have one. Most players seem to be loading their Mews into Pokémon Sword and Shield on the Switch. If you send it to the Let's Go games, it's stuck there.

Most of the controller's value is in Pokémon Go, but there is some useful functionality in Sword and Shield. You can transfer a Pokémon to the ball and take it with you as you go about your day. The ball will occasionally vibrate or make noise, which is an opportunity for you to interact with the Pokémon inside by spinning the thumbstick. The Pokémon will pick up rewards like Rare Candy and Ultra Balls over time, which you can use in Sword and Shield.

The Poké Ball Plus is worth the price if two things are true: You play a lot of Pokémon Go, and you want a Mew in Sword and Shield. If you don't mind opening Pokémon Go to play it, you won't gain much from the Poké Ball Plus. If you don't care about Mew, the Pokémon Go Plus is a bit cheaper, easier to carry, and does almost as much in Go as the Poké Ball Plus.

Where to buy

If you're serious about your Pokémon adventure, you can get the Poké Ball Plus at Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, and other retailers. The game is in the Play Store and on APK Mirror.

Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO
Developer: Niantic, Inc.
Price: Free+