Last month, smartphone game developer, NHN Playart Corp., and Niconico management company, DWANGO Co., Ltd., unleashed their new mobile game #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. [COMbat Providence AnalysiS System] (#コンパス 【戦闘摂理解析システム】) for iOS and Android devices to critical acclaim! The game is billed as a genre-busting, high-intensity action game with elements of strategy games, card battle games, and even social networking all rolled into one app! Furthermore, of particular interest to VOCALOID fans is the involvement of numerous high-profile VOCALOID producers in the game’s development!
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. Teaser Trailer
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. Gameplay Trailer
What is #C.O.M.P.A.S.S.?
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. is a brand-new, genre-defying mobile gaming experience which the development team is coining as “Battle SNS.” While it’s primarily an action game, it also includes elements of strategy gaming and card battling. Players compete in 3-on-3, three-minute long real-time battles where the goal is to capture as many points on the map as possible. Before each battle, players choose not only a “Hero” character to play as, but even arm them with a 4-card deck that can greatly alter status and battle strategies, creating endless possibilities for gameplay variety and making no two bouts ever the same! The more battles you compete in and win, the more cards you can unlock, and the closer you’ll get to reaching the anointed S-rank! Not only that, but also in the world of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. there are “Follow” and “Timeline” functions which you can use to network with other players!
The vision behind #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. was for NHN Playart to work with DWANGO to create an easy-to-play, hard-to-put-down game with the Niconico Smartphone SDK, one that would utilize the strengths of both companies. The game would have strong Niconico integration built into its framework, and would invite influential members of the Niconico online community to get directly involved in the game’s development. Such influential figures include Let’s Players, illustrators, and, of course, VOCALOID producers!
All of the game’s playable characters were designed by not only NHN Playarts’ artists, but also by Pixiv artists! Furthermore – and also the main reason why we’re reporting on this game – collaboration with famed VOCALOID producers such as 164, buzzG, 40mP, Police Piccadilly, and more was one of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S.‘s biggest selling points since its inception! Each of the game’s ten characters has their own theme song that was composed by one of these producers, some of which even have PVs that feature said character in them! Finally, throughout the game’s development, numerous influential Let’s Players were called upon to play test the game, with their reactions and feedback even getting broadcasted live on Niconico!
Suffice to say, NHN Playart’s vision of a game that has direct lines of communication between the dev team, Niconico creators, and fans alike has been brought to life through #C.O.M.P.A.S.S., a game that breaks ground on so many levels! Let’s take a look at what makes it so special!
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. has ten original “Hero” characters available for players to choose from and play as in the game. They each have their own back stories, personalities, combat styles, gameplay roles, and even VOCALOID theme songs that play as background music when you enter battle with them!
All images come courtesy of the Famitsu App website.
Voice Actress: Sakura Tange
Illustrator: ちゃもーい (@chamooi)
Profile: An A.I. robot who manages the world of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S., inspecting and analyzing battles conducted by human participants.
“I am programmed with the utmost invaluable A.I. technology, so please handle me with care.”
In Gameplay: Voidoll is a sprinter Hero who is capable of zipping all around the battlefield at high velocities, making her an effective portal key-snagger.
Theme Song: “Dance Robot Dance” by Nayutalien
Voice Actor: Yasuhiro Mamiya
Illustrator: Dev team member
Profile: Captain of the galactic union army and legendary hero. He never once let a comrade fall in battle.
“Now you shall get a taste of my unmatched battle prowess!”
In Gameplay: Justice is a tank Hero with both high defensive and offensive capabilities, great at protecting allies.
Theme Song: “Call of Justice” by devilishP
Voice Actress: Sora Amamiya
Illustrator: こみね (@k_omine)
Profile: Bearer of a war banner who plants fear into the hearts of foes who would impede in the healing of her injured allies.
“That which I must protect is your smile!”
In Gameplay: Jeanne is a tank Hero with the best stamina in the game and the ability to heal her allies.
Theme Song: “Machigai Sagashi” by Mafumafu
Voice Actor: Hiro Shimono
Illustrator: たま (@tamak0)
Profile: A super NEET who grew up overseas, and is only known to others by his online username “MARCOS’55.”
“I’m sure a NEET as cool as myself will be just fine…”
In Gameplay: MARCOS is a sprinter Hero whose Hero Skill raises him to Level 3, and who gets more powerful as the battle rages on; a late-bloomer type, if you will.
Theme Song: “High Spec NEET” by 40mP
Voice Actress: Shiki Aoki
Illustrator: Dev team member
Profile: Star of the series “Magical Girls Lilika and Luluka,” though Luluka is the more popular of the two.
“If only I knew a magic spell to bring me to your side.”
In Gameplay: Lilika is a gunner Hero who excels at supporting her allies on offense from a distance, but is the weakest in terms of stamina.
Theme Song: “Alkali Rettousei” by Kairiki Bear
Voice Actor: Tetsuya Kakihara
Illustrator: りゅうせー (@ryuuseee)
Profile: Often called a born leader, though one must never inquire about his origins.
“I shall devote my entire being to achieving my ideal!”
In Gameplay: Tadaomi is an attacker Hero who possesses many powerful knock-back abilities, saves allies from binds, and crushes enemy Heroes.
Theme Song: “Zankyou” by 164
Voice Actor: Yoshitaka Yamaya
Illustrator: Dev team member
Profile: A gamer who’s proud of his speed gaming skills. He plays games 24 hours a day.
“See? Aren’t retro games the bomb?”
In Gameplay: Atari is a sprinter Hero who has average status all across the board, making him an ideal Hero for beginners to play as.
Theme Song: “Retro Mania Rhapsody” by PolyphonicBranch
Voice Actress: Marina Inoue
Illustrator: 鈴ノ助 (@suzu3939)
Profile: An apprentice fireworks craftswoman who wields a cannon. She trains hard in her craft every day in hopes of someday surpassing her late master.
“Alright, alright, ALRIGHT! Let’s get this festival started!”
In Gameplay: Matoi is a gunner Hero who can not only attack from a distance, but also even disperse her enemies with devastating knock-back shots.
Theme Song: “Ayakashi” by buzzG
Voice Actress: Reina Kondo
Illustrator: Dev team member
Profile: Nicknamed “Noho-tan.” Her pride and joy is her hand-crafted, double-bladed chainsaw.
“KILLING IS THE BEST…”
In Gameplay: Noho is an attacker Hero who boasts the highest attack power, and causes a massive explosion if she gets killed.
Theme Song: “Kire Carry On” by Police Piccadilly
Voice Actor: Rikiya Koyama
Illustrator: 秋赤音 (@_akiakane)
Profile: Carries the memories of his long-lost wife in his heart. An independent contract killer who makes a living out of people’s deaths.
“Let us revel in this momentary tryst.”
In Gameplay: Luciano is a gunner Hero who can casually fire off repeated shots while taking back steps away from his targets, keeping at a safe distance all the while.
Theme Song: “Dokuhaku” by MARETU
Each hero has their own role in battle, which is categorized as so:
Attacker (fist icon)
These Heroes specialize in dishing out damage in close-quarters combat. However, they cannot take much damage themselves, and are likely to fall if faced with groups of enemies while fighting alone. They need to trust in their allies and fight as a team.
Gunner (gun icon)
These Heroes specialize in dealing sustained damage by shooting at their enemies from a long distance, and covering their allies from attack. However, they are the weakest in terms of stamina, and would fall in the blink of an eye if confronted at close range.
Tank (shield icon)
These Heroes have high stamina and specialize in taking and absorbing large amounts of damage from enemy attacks. They hold the responsibilities of protecting allies, healing those who are injured, and defending their portal keys to their last breath.
Sprinter (foot icon)
These Heroes are capable of dashing around at high speeds, and are in charge of using that speed to secure portal keys. However, they’re likely to fall if they charge ahead into battle on their own, so they need to remember their and their teammates’ combat roles.
Action Game Aspects
In #C.O.M.P.A.S.S., you choose your Hero character and compete as 3-man teams in capture-the-base skirmishes. Each Hero has their own normal attacks, special attacks (called “Hero Actions”), and finishing moves (called “Hero Skills”). All it takes is just one stroke of the finger to control everything from your Hero’s attack initiations to their movements on the battlefield! The game also comes equipped with an auto-battle feature, so that in the unlikely case that you loose connection in the middle of a match, the game’s A.I. can still continue battling for you!
Card Game Aspects
On top of the above-mentioned abilities, you can also “deck out” (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) your chosen Hero with any four cards of your choosing that can grant them extra attacks, healing abilities, boosted defense, teleportation, traps and weapons to utilize, and more! And the beauty is that, just like in a card battle game, your opponents don’t know what cards you have in your hand until your Hero activates them on their poor, unsuspecting heads! These cards add an extra layer of depth to character customization and individualized play style, and lets you unleash your favorite Hero’s latent abilities!
Strategy Game Aspects
Scattered all over each battlefield are “portal keys” that players can capture and secure for their team. Victory in a #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. match is not determined by how many enemies you defeat, but by how many portal keys your team can secure before time runs out. Whichever team has more portal keys held when the 3-minute match time is up will win the match, regardless of how many players on each team are actually left standing by the end of the fight. This means that even teams who aren’t particularly strong in battle can still win with teamwork and the right strategy. Smart tactics and knowing the roles of each of your chosen Heroes are paramount to victory.
Social Networking Aspects
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. is not just a game, but a whole social networking platform in and of itself! Each player in the world of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. has their own “wall” on which they can post their match results, and through which any other players can discover and “follow” if they are impressed by what they see. Matches can also be broadcasted live for people to watch and type live-streaming comments to show their support for their favorite players! The platform also has its own “timeline” feature that players can use to chat with one another and read each other’s posts! In the future, the dev team plans to update the game with its own “guild” function, which is perhaps something akin to a “friends list.” In short, #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. takes the best parts of mobile gaming and social media, and fuses them together into a one-of-a-kind experience for both gamers and social media junkies alike!
Cho Party Debut
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. was unveiled at Niconico Cho Party 2016 last year, where it made a huge splash! At the podium, the game’s producer explained the backdrop and objectives of the game, and introduced its characters. Afterwards, several famous Let’s Players were brought onstage to try it out live for all attendees to watch, and the game’s cast of celebrity voice talents stepped up to thunderous cheers!
At the end of the presentation, the #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. dev team also revealed several air dates for what they dubbed “karakuchi review kaigi” (辛口レビュー会議, literally “scathing review meetings”), called so because they would have the Let’s Players offer up their criticisms of the game and exchange ideas on how they think it can be improved, sharing them live on Niconico. Such sessions are important to the dev team because it let’s them know what parts of the game are working and what parts aren’t, straight from the mouths of pro gamers themselves. Major kudos to the dev team for holding and publicly airing these review meetings, making for a better game experience for their fans!
One such review session, held on November 12th, 2016, can be watched by clicking on the picture below (Warning: 1 hour 47 minutes long), giving you an idea of what they were like!
Another one, held by Famitsu App, was conducted on December 19, 2016, and can be watched here (Warning: 1 hour 35 minutes long)!
After the presentation was all said and done, some booths were also set up for curious attendees to also try the game out. Those who needed some thirst-quenching after the long day were even given some #C.O.M.P.A.S.S.-branded water bottles!
In the weeks leading up the game’s release, the number of preregistered players for #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. had reached over 100,000 people! And as on January 11th, it was announced on the official Twitter page that the game has surpassed a whopping 500,000 downloads! The occasion prompted the dev team to hold a special 5-day sale of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. in-game capsule toys (with better chances of obtaining powerful cards) and Hero medals to loyal followers!
— 【公式】#コンパス 戦闘摂理解析システム (@cps_niconico) January 11, 2017
This was actually the latest of many similar campaigns held by the dev team to thank their supporters. Prior to launch, one such campaign was held to reward early registrants with special prizes depending on how many people preregistered, including autographs from the character voice talents!
Japanese gaming news site, Gamer, gave #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. a glowing review, praising its simple-to-use controls, diverse and like-able characters, and the sheer level of Niconico integration that helps attract an audience of fans who are already familiar with Niconico and/or love VOCALOID music!
And with all this critical acclaim comes the chance for cross-company collaboration! It was just announced that NHN Playart is working with Arc System Works to bring Sol Badguy and Dizzy of Guilty Gear fame into the world of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. as brand-new playable Heroes!
Needless to say, we can expect many more of such collaborations to take place and see many more Heroes added to the game! Considering how much of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S.‘s music is already being sung by a certain digital diva whom we all know and love, we wouldn’t be surprised to see her and some of her voice synth friends make their debut in the game in some other form one of these days!
#C.O.M.P.A.S.S. is barely a month old, but that isn’t keeping the dev team from dreaming big! They already have plans to hold a “Daienjou #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. Grand Slam” event at the Tokaigi 2017 gaming event next month! The Grand Slam is a competition that pits #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. players against famous Let’s Players! Entrants will receive Tokaigi can badges, as well as exclusive Tokaigi-branded #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. medals. Those who emerge victorious in the Grand Slam can even win up to 50 bitcoins to boot!
The future looks very, very bright for the game that has already attracted the attention of fans of mobile action gaming, fans of card battles and strategy games, fans of social networking, and even VOCALOID fans! This article is but a brief introduction and look into the world of #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. And make no mistake, it is a vast, vast world that grows ever larger with each passing day! One single article simply isn’t enough to cover all that has been going on in this expanding world, but if reading this has piqued your interest, then refer to the links below to download and install the game, and keep up-to-date on all things #C.O.M.P.A.S.S.! You can also be sure that VNN will report any VOCALOID-related updates to the game, so until then, happy battling!
- #C.O.M.P.A.S.S. is free to download and install, with micro transactions of in-game items costing money.
- The game is available for download on any iOS 8 and above device, and Android 4.4 and above. iPhone 5 and later models are the most recommended.
- New players must agree to the game’s licensing agreement.