Best answer: No, you don't need the Poké Ball Plus to play Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! You can substitute the Poké Ball Plus with a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con.
Amazon: Poké Ball Plus ($50)
All you need is a Joy-Con
The purpose of the Poké Ball Plus is to let you simulate the feel of throwing a Poké Ball to catch your favorite Pokémon. It's shaped just like a real Poké Ball, and when you do catch one you'll feel it vibrate and hear the Pokémon's unique battle cry.
But if you aren't one for novelty or nostalgia, you should know that the Poké Ball Plus is not required to play Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! You can just as well use a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con to perform the very same actions.
The only difference is that you won't be able to hear Pokémon sounds or get visual notification on the Joy-Con, though if you're playing the game you can just as well get all that by viewing and listening to the game on your Nintendo Switch.
What else does the Poké Ball Plus do?
When playing Pokémon: Let's Go, your Poké Ball Plus also essentially acts as a Switch Joy-Con. Aside from the motion controls, the button on the Poké Ball Plus doubles as a navigation joystick, allowing you to move your character, select menu options such as during battle, and more.
For those times you're away from your Switch, you can choose to store a Pokémon inside your Poké Ball Plus and take it with you. You can pet the Poké Ball to make your Pokémon happier, and it will let you know when it feels your touch. You'll hear a growl, feel the Poké Ball Plus vibrate, and see it light up.
One last cool tidbit: you can use the Poké Ball Plus as a Pokémon GO accessory. When walking around, the Poké Ball Plus will vibrate to let you know when a Pokémon is nearby. Press the button to attempt a catch, and if you're successful you'll feel it vibrate, see it light up, and hear the Pokémon inside. Return to your game later to see all the Pokémon you were able to catch.
The perfect companion for your Pokémon: Let's Go adventures.
While not necessary to enjoy Pokémon: Let's Go, the Poké Ball Plus will make your experience more enjoyable. It also makes it easier to play Pokémon GO.
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