Took Minecraft Earth for a spin around the block. Most of the demos I’d seen showed either the build-on-a-plate mode or the AR adventure mode, so I wasn’t sure how the map mode was going to work.
You see a MC-ified version of your local map, with buildings raised 1 block so you can see where they are, but you don’t have to worry about location mismatches between real walls & doors and virtual ones. Clusters of resources appear on the map: trees, boulders…
…mounds of dirt, etc. along with sheep, cows & other mobs wandering around. You can tap on them repeatedly like you’re mining in the original game, and after a few seconds you get the mob, or the logs, stone blocks, dirt, flowers, etc.
You can use these resources to craft items w/familiar recipes, but each item takes *time* instead of a shape. So it might take 30 seconds to turn a log into planks, or 3 minutes to make a sword.
There are 3 slots for the crafting table & 3 for the furnace, with one each unlocked at the beginning of gameplay. I’m guessing you unlock the others in exchange for the rubies that you collect along with resources.
Resources seem to regenerate quickly – I saw them pop into existence a couple of times on my walk around the block, and there was already a new tree when I got back where I started.
You can also see a circle on the map showing what’s close enough…
…to interact with, and whenever something crosses that circle, the phone will vibrate briefly to let you know.
A nice touch: If you’re moving faster than walking speed (or if it thinks you are due to GPS drift), it shows you in a minecart!
Adventures are a bit weird: At certain spots, you can jump into an augmented-reality instance (the one I tried was roughly a 5×5 block column) with items you’ve crafted & fight zombies, find treasure chests, etc.
It’s cool, but because you can’t physically move up or down, just around, it’s sort of like walking around a hole in the ground and trying to mine/fight/etc. stuff way below you.
Anyway, I’ve spent longer writing about it than playing so far. I’ll have to take some time to really explore it and get a better sense of the gameplay.
But it’s definitely a different experience than Pokemon Go, and not just a rehash with a different theme!
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