Minecraft Earth, an augmented reality mobile game based on the hugely popular series, is coming to a closed beta later this summer. To tide you over, Mojang released a short video yesterday on 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 blew my mind when I saw it at E3, but there’s more 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 Pokémon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, according to the video. On that map you’ll find “tappables,” 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 tabletop or other flat surface before placing the plate elsewhere. Then, whatever you built becomes life-size. The build plates actually correspond to the different biomes that are available in regular Minecraft. In the video, I saw jungle, arctic, and desert biomes, and the narration said that there will be more biomes 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 full-size game. If you sign up for the closed beta, which will begin later this winter, you’ll also get an exclusive skin. Part of me would rather just be Minecraft Steve, though, just for the sake of nostalgia.