Back in May, after some initial teasing, Mojang and Microsoft formally announced Minecraft Earth, a new augmented reality-based version of Minecraft built for smartphones. The following month at Apple’s WWDC keynote we got a full stage demo of just what Minecraft Earth was all about and the scope of what you’d be able to do in the game, and I for one thought it was incredibly impressive. In July sign-ups opened for a closed beta test that was initially for iOS devices only, but the following month was expanded to Android devices too. And then at the end of last month we learned that Minecraft Earth would begin officially rolling out to various countries in “Early Access" with the plan being that new regions would be added each week and that the game would be available for everyone worldwide by the end of the year. Well today marks the day that Minecraft Earth has officially rolled out to the App Store in New Zealand and Iceland, with word that an arrival in the US will be happening “soon."
This official Early Access version of Minecraft Earth brings some major new features to players that weren’t even available to those who took part in the closed beta a few months ago. One is called simply Adventures, and is described as “small slices of procedurally generated, limited-time Minecraft worlds that you play in augmented reality in life size and are just one of the experiences that are optimized for social multiplayer." The other new features are new mob variants, smelting and crafting, which Mojang details as “like the *adorable* Muddy Pig, Moobloom, Jumbo Rabbit and Cluckshroom, we’ll have new friendly and hostile mobs for you to meet. Through smelting, you’ll be able to work ores into ingots and with crafting you’ll get to create items you need (if you have the right materials of course), instead of having to collect the items outright." If you’re in one of the countries where Minecraft Earth has launched in Early Access, you can grab the game with the links below.