Microsoft’s big gamble in real-world augmented reality gaming, Minecraft Earth, is live now for players in North America, the U.K. and a number of other places. The pocket-size AR game allows you to collect blocks and critters wherever you go, undertake little adventures with friends and, of course, build sweet castles.

You walk around your neighborhood, rendered in this case gorgeously like a Minecraft world, and tap little icons that pop up around your character. These includes blocks which can be used to build, animals you can collect or events like combat encounters that you can do alone or with friends for rewards.

At the end of the day, all this is in service of building stuff, which you do on “build plates” of various sizes. These you place in AR mode on a plain surface, which they lock onto, letting you move around freely to edit and play with them. You can “zoom in” to edit a structure by just moving your phone closer, and multiple people can play with the same blocks and plate simultaneously.

Once you’ve put together something fun, you can take it to an outdoor location and have it displayed at essentially “real” size, so you can walk around the interior of your castle or dungeon. Of course, you won't be climbing steps, but the other features work as expected: you can manipulate doors and other items, breed cave chickens and generally enjoy yourself.

The game is evidently more open-ended than the collection-focused Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Whether that proves to be to its advantage or detriment when it comes to appeal and lasting power remains to be seen — but one thing is for sure: People adore Minecraft and they’re going to want to at least try this out.

And now they can experience it, if they’re in one of the following countries — with others about to be included in the coming holiday season:

United States
United Kingdom
South Korea
New Zealand

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