An early version of the game is online now, and a full one is coming in 2016

Lego has created its own constructive game, Lego Worlds, to take on the game that has become its hugely popular virtual equivalent.

Minecraft has long been described as a kind of virtual Lego, letting players build any structure they like out of small blocks. But the original company has leapt into the fight with Lego Worlds.

The new game lets people build and explore worlds, using either pre-made ones that they can modify or beginning from scratch and putting together Lego blocks. As well as the normal blocks, the game includes figures and vehicles, and many more to be added as the game develops.

At the moment, the game is only in Early Access mode on Steam — where it can be bought for £11.99 — letting players have a go on a slimmed-down and in-progress version. A full version is set to bring with it more blocks and an online mode, a key part of the success of the highly-social Minecraft.

Minecraft has become a kind of unofficial Lego game, bringing the same kind of creativity and possibilities that are offered by the real Lego. The game’s popularity might be partly the result of the lack of an official Lego game, which has now appeared.

The similarities haven’t gone unnoticed, with Lego making officially-branded Minecraft blocks in partnership with the games maker, Mojang.

The game is being made by Traveller’s Tales, the creators of the popular Lego-branded super hero and Star Wars games. But while those were games were unmistakably Lego themed, the new one is the first to bring virtual construction with a virtual version of Lego blocks.