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There are various types of Poké Balls beside the standard red-and-white one, many of which have improved catch rates overall, have improved catch rates in certain circumstances such as time of day, or provide an effect such as healing the caught Pokémon. The standard Poké Ball is used as a symbol for the Pokémon franchise, and various in-universe Trainer services.
Item balls have a similar appearance to Poké Balls, and sometimes contain them, but often grant other items instead.
A Poké Ball is used by throwing it at the desired wild Pokémon. Catches are not guaranteed (except with the Master Ball, which is typically a one-of-a-kind item). However, lowering the Pokémon's health in battle will increase the catch rate: the rate of success of catching the Pokémon. Pokémon may struggle to escape the attempted capture, or physically deflect the thrown Poké Ball altogether.
Pokémon sent out from or recalled to a Poké Ball are converted into a form of energy, although some continuities such as manga show the caught Pokémon miniaturized within. Though their interior is not shown, Poké Balls are stated to contain an area specially designed for Pokémon comfort.
Poké Balls can be resized between their full size, roughly that of a baseball, which aids in throwing the Poké Ball; and a smaller size, roughly that of a ping-pong ball, that makes the Poké Ball easier to store.
Before the invention of Poké Balls, various other objects were used to capture and control Pokémon. Poké Balls are also seemingly not used in certain Ultra Space dimensions, as demonstrated by Ultra Forest Kartenvoys. Despite this, the symbol for Pokémon ownership is consistently a Poké Ball.
Super Smash Bros. series
In the Super Smash Bros. series, the Poké Ball is an item that releases a Pokémon, randomly chosen from those in the game. The Pokémon performs a unique special skill, and then leaves.