It made perfect sense for Mojang to bring a Minecraft game to smartphones, but fans probably weren’t expecting the likes of Minecraft Earth. It’s the company’s first attempt at a mobile game in the Minecraft universe, but with an emphasis on AR (Augmented Reality), and walking around just like Pokémon GO. In it, you’re encouraged to get up and go outside, with the goal of collecting items in order to build.
You won’t be doing as much building as you would in the original Minecraft, instead focusing on exploration and resource management. You’ll find that Minecraft Earth shares much of its DNA with the original, but offers enough of a change of pace to differentiate it and keep things fresh.
Following in the footsteps of giants
Minecraft Earth is being developed by Mojang — the same company in charge of
Plus, it’s completely playable without the need to spend a single dollar. Microtransactions are available, however, and allow players to speed up the crafting process and purchase certain upgrades.
If you’re completely new to the world of augmented reality, be sure to check out our guide on the topic. In short, AR uses your phone’s camera to superimpose virtual objects into the real world. For Minecraft Earth, that means when you look at your screen, you’ll see the real world in front of you along with virtual mobs, enemies, and hundreds of blocks.
Turning a popular IP into a mobile AR game isn’t a new concept. We’ve seen this before with both Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Minecraft Earth borrows heavily from these titles — players are encouraged to wander their surroundings, collect items, go on quests, and level up in the process. However, since
Tappables are the heart of the experience
Just like PokéStops in Pokémon Go, Tappables are the driving force behind Minecraft Earth. As players explore the real world, they will stumble upon objects called Tappables. These come in the form of treasure chests, trees, mobs, or a variety of other
Minecraft Earth takes advantage of AR technology
Although the “mining” portion of Minecraft Earth typically requires players to journey out into their surroundings, the “crafting” portion is a decidedly home-base affair. As players level up, they can purchase objects called “Build Plates.” These are items that must be placed in a fixed position in the real world before players can start creating their own masterpiece. While there is nothing stopping players from setting these down in a crowded city park, a quiet living room is much more conducive to the building process.
Even in its early access state, the AR implementation works incredibly well. Once a build plate is set, you’ll be able to move around it in 360 degrees to make adjustments as you see fit. It’s an impressive mechanic and one that truly shows off the capabilities of augmented reality.
Build plates can be used in two different modes: One that allows for placement on tabletops and another that turns your creation into a life-size environment. The tabletop mode is great for creating, as the action plays out like a Lego set. Once you’re done, you can then expand the build plate and explore your creation — so long as you can find an open space big enough to place it!
Another great AR feature in Minecraft Earth is Adventures. This is a game mode that allows you to explore a random slice of the virtual world without having to leave the comfort of your home. Adventures are placed in a fashion similar to Build Plates, but instead of crafting you’re tasked with discovering new minerals, mobs, and blocks. It’s arguably the portion of
Outside of the unique AR features, players can engage with a bunch of content. You can craft new objects from the materials you’ve discovered in the real world, create your own avatar, level up your character, and join your friends in local multiplayer to craft a collaborative masterpiece. For an early access game, Minecraft Earth gives players a lot to sink their teeth into. By the time it is officially released, we expect a staggering amount of content to be added.
Whether or not Minecraft Earth will survive in the long run is another story. Although
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