.flow's Title Screen
February 15, 2009
.flow is one of the most well-known fangames of the original Yume Nikki, made by lol (pixiv, DeviantArt, and Twitter accounts). It's one of the darker spin-offs infamous for its eerie atmosphere and copious amounts of body horror and hospital imagery, centering around a girl named Sabitsuki (さびつき) as she enters her PC dreamworld to explore her mind and collect effects.
The psychological term, combined with the element of technology, could have possibly been the origin of the title, though this suggests that what Sabitsuki (さびつき) and, indeed, the player experience is not a dreamlike state at all, but rather an immersive reality.
The main plot of the game is similar to the original Yume Nikki's, in that it's a sand-box game with very few exploration restrictions. You must collect the twenty-five effects to unlock two of the three endings and three boxes to achieve the third.
.Flow is one of the more traditional fangames that stays true to the gameplay elements of the original. Effects are collected in a gloomy, sublime dreamscape and the user is left to interpret the events and lack of explicit storyline. The only differences that seem to set this game apart from Yume Nikki is the more concrete subject matter -- the deeper aspects of the landscape seem to have a more pristine resemblance to human body parts, where as Nikki's environment requires more interpretive thinking to analyze -- and the inclusion of three endings instead of one.
You play as a girl named Sabitsuki (さびつき) who doesn't want to or is unable to leave her room. She has short white hair and a grayish blue top, a white skirt, and red shoes.
Sabitsuki's bedroom is painted gray, with a TV and game console (through which you can play the mini-game Shinsouku Neko), a bookshelf, a bright orange rug, and, most notably, her bed and computer. Unlike most Yume Nikki fangames, you get in bed to save and access most of the gameplay by interacting with the computer.
An interesting gameplay element is that there is a number of restricted areas that can only be accessed once all the effects have been collected and "dropped off" in Sabitsuki's PC. With effects stored there, the protagonist assumes her alter-ego, Rust, a seemingly more malevolent version of herself with a more pallid color scheme. If you choose to look closer, her eyes are, almost impossible to tell, a deep red. Rust cannot use any of the effects, but can surpass the barriers that blocked her original form and acquire three boxes in order to unlock a final and more substantial ending to the game, viewed often as the "true ending."
In addition to these differences, Sabitsuki is pursued throughout the game by Kaibutsu, which, upon capture, transport her to an inescapable area in a manner similar to Toriningen, but upon becoming Rust, the chasers are replaced by Red Demons, a weaker but faster and much more abundant enemy. Rust can take several hits from these demons, and with each one her body begins to decay until finally, on one strike too many, she falls apart and is transported back to the real world. It is highly likely that these Red Demons have a metaphorical meaning.
In .flow, effects are used with the SHIFT key, and after collecting all effects, you can drop them in the nexus; be careful, though, once all effects have been dropped, they cannot be regained (unlike Yume Nikki). You can get one of the games three endings from here, or continue the game as Rust.
For more information on effects and effect locations, please see the effect list page on the.flow wiki.
There is also a video walkthrough of where to find the effects.
There any many NPCs in .flow, none will actually speak, but are often tied together with theories, and are possibly part of Sabitsuki's past.
|Sabitsuki (さびつき)||The main character of the game.|
|Smile and Sister||Two people with cross/plus tattoos/markings over their eyes. Certain effects trigger the Smile event with Smile.|
|Oreko||A girl who lives underwater and builds strange machines in her house. She gives Sabitsuki the Diving Helmet Effect. Oreko also reappears in other parts of the game.|
|Gas Mask Maid||Seen at The Sugar Hole and in other parts of the game. Interacting with one causes her to bow to you.|
|Active Kaibutsu||The chasers in the game. They laugh and usually have a distorted face.|
|Gabe||A lone Kaibutsu at the bar in The Sugar Hole, strikes back if you attempt to hit him with the Iron Pipe.|
|Red Demons||The Chasers in the after game. They appear only in one location before the events that lead to one of the endings are triggered.|