Minecraft Earth, Microsoft's take on Pokemon Go, looks... actually amazing

That Minecraft AR teaser we got earlier this month has just been revealed in full as Minecraft Earth, a free-to-play augmented reality game for your phone that's like a blockier version of Pokemon Go. Not only will you see Minecraft collectibles and creatures out in the real world - you'll be able to build structures in the app and view them in life-size scale. You can get a sense for the surreal Minecraft adventures in the full reveal trailer above.

When you first view the world through the Minecraft Earth app on iOS and Android, you'll start small, aiming to collect resources through clusters of blocks, or mobs called Tappables, that dot the landscape. As you explore, you'll also run into Adventures, which act like mini-encounters with a group of hostile creatures or a breakable bit of environment. But the real draw of Minecraft Earth is the creative element, which is made possible through Build Plates. Using a Build Plate, you can construct a blocky scene that's then projected onto something as small as a table or as giant as a life-size castle construction outdoors.

As with Pokemon Go, Minecraft Earth is made to be a social multiplayer game, with easy-to-join sessions for any nearby players. You'll also be able to view other players' Block Plates while venturing out into the world, as they can be permanently placed in your neighborhood. For those who want to get out there and vanquish enemies in the pursuit of experience points, you'll be glad to know that Minecraft Earth features plenty of familiar enemy types and a few, yet-to-be-revealed new mobs.

Minecraft Earth will be free-to-play, and will surely involve microtransactions - but the Minecraft Earth FAQ firmly states that there aren't any loot boxes. Microsoft and Mojang are powering this AR adventure using fancy-pants tech like Azure Spatial Anchors and the PlayFab integration they unveiled with Xbox Live on mobile platforms back in March. Anyone who's eager to see Minecraft elements in their everyday life should sign up to take part in the Minecraft Earth closed beta slated for summer, which unlocks a limited-time skin in Minecraft Earth and the existing Bedrock versions as an added bonus. Until then, all we can do is eagerly await more news on how Minecraft Earth will work, which will surely be a huge part of this year's Minecon event in September.

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Lucas Sullivan

Lucas Sullivan is the former US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. Lucas spent seven years working for GR, starting as an Associate Editor in 2012 before climbing the ranks. He left us in 2019 to pursue a career path on the other side of the fence, joining 2K Games as a Global Content Manager. Lucas doesn't get to write about games like Borderlands and Mafia anymore, but he does get to help make and market them.