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This Red Little Devil of a USB Stick Allows Any Controller on Nintendo Switch and Makes Pokémon Sword and Shield Ten Times Easier

Illustration for article titled This Red Little Devil of a USB Stick Allows Any Controller on Nintendo Switch and Makes iPokémon Sword/i iand Shield /iTen Times Easier
Photo: Quentyn Kennemer

Collective Minds Switch-Up Adapter | $25 | Amazon

With thousands of dollars worth of tech colonizing my desk and entertainment center, you’d never guess that a simple little USB stick might be my favorite purchase of 2020. Doing a bangup job masquerading as my old homework dump, bid sweet greetings to the Collective Minds Switch-Up Adapter.

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At just $25, I’d have been satisfied with this thing’s underlying purpose as a controller adapter, which allows you to use both wired and wireless controllers for Xbox One (Bluetooth models don’t require wireless dongle), Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii, and more as pro controllers for your Nintendo Switch, rumble action and all.

Illustration for article titled This Red Little Devil of a USB Stick Allows Any Controller on Nintendo Switch and Makes iPokémon Sword/i iand Shield /iTen Times Easier
Photo: Quentyn Kennemer

It couldn’t be any easier to set up: Plug it into an available USB port on your Nintendo Switch.

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If you’re mobile, hook it up directly to the handheld with the included USB OTG cable. Sadly, you do lose kickstand and charging functionality with this setup.

Now take your controller. If you’re wired, you can plug it directly into the USB-A female passthrough port and you’ll be moving around menus immediately (assuming you’ve turned on the Pro Controller option in your settings menu first).

Bluetooth users are in for a more wonky pairing process that requires holding buttons down until they do their magic wireless handshake, which can take some time, but multi-colored LED lights make it easy to follow the action once you’ve mastered operation, and once you’re locked in, the connection doesn’t easily fade.

Illustration for article titled This Red Little Devil of a USB Stick Allows Any Controller on Nintendo Switch and Makes iPokémon Sword/i iand Shield /iTen Times Easier
Photo: Quentyn Kennemer

Now, we could stop on that lonesome merit and some of you might already be inclined to throw one into the cart, but the Switch-Up -possesses game-changing sorcery that makes it a must-have if you own Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, and a handful of other games.

You see, this thing is a glorified macro machine that has automatic button sequencing to carry out your most common and tedious actions in some of your favorite games, allowing you to step away and get shit done in the real world while your virtual self is securing the bag.

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I mainly bought the Switch-Up for Pokémon macros, and that’s mostly what I’ve tested it for to date. Here’s everything the little red helper can take the reins on without needing any input on my behalf:

  • Single Release Pokémon
  • Box Release Pokémon
  • Shiny Egg Chning
  • Easy Cycling
  • Watt Generator
  • Max Raid Watt Generator
  • Rare Den Farming
  • Master Ball Farming
  • Box Surprise Trade
  • Egg Farming
  • Box Egg Hatching
  • Apricorn Farming
  • Auto Confirm
  • Auto Spin

That’s a mind boggling list of utility actions that I’m more than happy to queue up while I’m working, watching Netflix, or playing another game.

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This might not appeal to you if your run through a Pokémon game usually ends at the rolling credits, but for those of us deeply entrenched in ‘mon warfare, these are essential tools. Breeding is extremely time intensive, and it’s great going no-hands to release or wonder trade a batch of rejects or automatically cycling through egg hatches for shiny hunting.

In fact, my best friend just reported to me that he left the thing going overnight and woke up to nine boxes full of eggs. Another four hours later, he hatched boxes full of perfect and near-perfect Chanseys, and one of them happened to be shiny. The guy doesn’t even have the shiny charm! (I haven’t been quite as lucky.)

Illustration for article titled This Red Little Devil of a USB Stick Allows Any Controller on Nintendo Switch and Makes iPokémon Sword/i iand Shield /iTen Times Easier
Photo: Quentyn Kennemer
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Here’s the thing, though: the Switch-Up is slow. It’s not a time-saver in that it’ll do these actions quickly. Instead, think of it like your own personal Pokémon butler that keeps things tidy while you’re away, so your time savings are a result of working smarter, not harder. Likewise, let the Switch-Up release your obscene amount of Golducks (seriously?) while you’re playing other games or tending to things around the house.

I can perform all of the actions it automates twice as fast by hand, owed in part to how well I know the menus and breeding processes in Pokémon. (Hate menus? You will love this!) The device probably could, too, if Collective Minds wanted it to, but I suspect the speed limit is a deliberate design choice to accommodate for certain hiccups you may encounter while using it.

For instance, I have the updated Nintendo Switch with its slightly faster processor and better battery life. On top of that, I am family sharing with another Nintendo Switch in the household, and for certain functions that require resetting the game—like raid den checks—the authentication message that shows when starting up Pokémon Shield throws the timing off.

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Thankfully, Collective Minds brought their collective minds together and implemented a timer offset function to help. It’s not perfect, and it’ll take some trial and error to get right, but it does help smooth things out in these outlier circumstances.

The functionality doesn’t stretch that far for every game. For example, there’s a mod that makes fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizon a bit easier, and that’s about it. It’s important to know what you’re after and how exactly you want to use this thing before going in, so give the manual a read if you think it can add value to your gaming life. But if you’re a hardcore Pokémon player, stop thinking about it, stop fawning over it, and just buy one already.

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Associate Editor. I'm trying to be the very best like no one ever was. To play every game in the world is my real test. Finding the time to is my cause.

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