Minecraft Earth is coming to a closed beta later this summer. To tide you over, the Mojang has released a short video that shows off some gameplay. It’s incredibly charming.
So far, all we’ve seen of Minecraft Earth is the admittedly impressive augmented reality and “people occlusion,” where players build structures in real life which they can then walk around, and into. It’s impressive on its own, and certainly blew my mind when I saw it at E3, but there’s more game to this game than just placing and destroying blocks.
When you’re walking around in Minecraft Earth, you’ll see a map of your surroundings similar to the ones in Pokemon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, according to this video, released yesterday on the Minecraft YouTube channel. On that map you’ll find “tappables,” which are objects you can tap that can earn you creatures – called “mobs” in Minecraft parlance – or different kinds of blocks and objects.
What’s more interesting are the build plates. Build plates are the spaces where you’re able to build in Minecraft Earth, which you do in miniature on a table top or other flat surface before placing the plate elsewhere, where whatever you built becomes lifesize. The build plates actually correspond to the different biomes that are available in regular Minecraft. In the video, I saw a jungle, arctic and desert biome, and the narration said that there will be more biomes you’ll be able to collect.
It’s still impressive to me how much of Minecraft they’re cramming into this augmented reality phone game – it turns out you’ll even be able to collect and change skins, just like in the fullsize game. If you sign up for the closed beta, which will begin later this summer, you’ll also get an exclusive skin. Part of me would rather just be Minecraft Steve, though, just for the sake of nostalgia.