Identity V takes the 1 v 4 Hunter game genre and adapts it for mobile. It wears clear influences of Dead by Daylight and introduces its own unique take on some aspects. It adds a level of camp and charm to the game by playing down the more violent aspects of the game to give the game a more broad appeal and playability. While the game sands down the more violent edges, it keeps a lot of the creepy and manages to strike a unique balance.
One of the more unique aspects that Identity V brings to the table is a small overworld storyline when you start the game up. You play as a detective coming to an old mansion where a series of disappearances have occurred. This leads into a tutorial set of missions as you slowly wander through this mansion to find clues as to what happened. As clever as this introduction to the game is I also found it very slow and plodding. This continues into the general menus for the game, requiring you to walk around to different stations in a large room to join multiplayer matches, check the shop, and customize your character. More confusing is that you can customize the look of the detective character that wanders around in this room, but since this isn’t a big aspect of the actual game itself it makes little sense why you would. I appreciate the desire to add a bit more to the game, but often I wish I could just open the game and drop right into a match with far less time spent wandering around a mostly barren room.
Once you drop into a match you are presented with the option of playing hunter or survivor. The game seems to try to balance this out, but I have run into warnings where too many people were playing the survivors, so it told me to choose the other faction (hunter). Either way, the characters play very simply and the implementation of the touch controls on mobile is handled pretty well. The game uses a floating joystick on the left side for movement and the same on the right for camera control. This works well, but the main problem is a lot of the right side of the screen is taken up by buttons meant for changing your movement speed or stance as well as items or abilities of your character. This puts the safe area for looking around further away than I would have liked for this control setup.
The game follows the hunter game style formula and doesn’t deviate from its inspiration much at all. Four survivors find themselves in a closed off arena filled with pallets to knock in front of the hunter, chests containing some items to help escape, and machines to stand near and work on to activate. The machines are typewriters where you must decode ciphers to gain a password that you can use at the final gates to open them and escape. If you’ve played something like Dead By Daylight you’ve played this exact game already. Working on these typewriters and healing teammates will pop up random timing based skill checks, failure will alert the hunter to your location so keeping an eye out for these is key to success. Winning or losing matches as either a hunter or survivor will award you Persona Points that you can use to unlock stat and skill boosts in a large talent web. Identity V is a solid Dead by Daylight-alike on mobile, I just had hoped it would take the formula in a new or unique direction at the same time.
The one thing I appreciate most about this game is the in-game art style. The game has a very Coraline-esque feel to the character art. Survivors have button eyes and look like life-sized dolls. The hunters are big, overbearing, and twitch in a creepy and menacing way. The hunter-style is unique, and each one has unique abilities to compliment unique play styles. My personal favorite is the deer-headed Hunter that has a grappling chain to pull in survivors from a distance. Outside of the character design, the game hasn’t done much to spruce up the level design. Overall it feels like the unique potions of this game are where the charm and character shine through.
It feels like the game changed just enough to differentiate itself from a game like Dead By Daylight while still maintaining most other parts. Instead of putting downed survivors on hooks you put them in rocket chairs that will launch them back to the manor. Instead of a large bladed weapon, the hunters walk around with large fish clubs. Instead of slinging a downed survivor over your shoulder you tie balloons to them and float them around to your destination. The hunter also has a third-person perspective just like the survivors. This is a small change that seems to push game balance more towards the hunter since it means you can more easily see and track down survivors even when they are trying to hide behind cover. It can become frustrating to be crouching around cover for so long, only to realize the hunter has been able to tilt their camera and see you the whole time.
There are also some balance issues in Identity V that hopefully will be addressed soon. Particularly flashlights are almost entirely useless at the outset. When they are shining it on the hunter there is a small meter that starts to fill. If the meter fills all the way the hunter will become stunned and blinded. In use, however, the meter fills far too slowly for the proximity you need to be to the hunter. As a hunter I have had a survivor tried to use it multiple times on me, always resulting in them being a sitting duck for me to hit them, which stops the meter.
Overall Identity V is a solid clone of Dead By Daylight on mobile that adds a convoluted and annoying layer on top. The game could stand to use some improvement to controls and menus, but the gameplay within is solid and fun. I would highly recommend picking this up if you’re looking to take the hunter style games on the go.