.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 front of the computer; 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.
|Headphones (ヘッドフォン)||Sabitsuki wears orange headphones. Pressing SHIFT causes them to play a couple of tunes and two music notes to pop out of them.|
|Iron Pipe (てつパイプ)||Sabitsuki's weapon which she uses for attacking NPCs. When SHIFT is pressed Sabitsuki puts the pipe on her shoulder.|
|Ghost (ゆうれい)||Sabitsuki turns into a ghost with a traditional triangle kerchief. When SHIFT is pressed Sabitsuki becomes transparent and invisible to NPCs, but not invulnerable.|
|Mono Eye (モノアイ)||Sabitsuki has a big red cyclopes eye. Pressing SHIFT causes the eye to blink twice.|
|Diving Helmet (せんすいふく)||Sabitsuki wears Oreko's helmet. Pressing SHIFT causes bubbles to silently float out of it.|
|Cat (ねこ)||Sabitsuki has white cat ears and tail. Pressing SHIFT makes her turn into a small white cat and meow. In this form she can go though smaller/lower doorways and access new areas.|
|Broom (ほうき)||Sabitsuki wears a blue witch dress, has her hair tied up in a ponytail with a red ribbon and rides a broom. Sabitsuki will go twice as fast while riding it. You can get off the broom and walk normally by pressing SHIFT.|
|Watering Can (じょうろ)||Sabitsuki holds a watering can. Pressing SHIFT will cause it to rain. Pressing it again and again will gradually change the amount of rain or make it stop.|
|Whistle (ホイッスル)||Sabitsuki has an orange whistle. Pressing SHIFT to blow it, and any NPCs will move two steps to the direction Sabitsuki is heading to. The whistle makes no sound when it is used.|
|Gas Mask (ガスマスク)||Sabitsuki wears a gas mask. Pressing SHIFT causes her to slightly raise it so half of her face can be seen underneath it.|
|Machine (きかい)||Sabitsuki's arms and legs turns into robot parts.|
|Tumbling Doll (だるま)||Sabitsuki has no arms and legs. Pressing SHIFT will cause her fall over and crawl slowly. Once she falls, she cannot pick herself back up.|
|Slime (スライム)||Sabitsuki becomes a green slime. Pressing SHIFT causes her to become melt then regain her previous form.|
|Arm (うで)||Sabitsuki has five arms and has her hair tied up in pigtails. Pressing SHIFT will cross all her arms, sends her back to the Nexus. Inspired by Monoko from Yume Nikki.|
|Viscera (ないぞう)||Sabitsuki's intestines pour out of her stomach. Pressing SHIFT will cause Sabitsuki to try to put them back in.|
|Psychedelic (サイケデリック)||Sabitsuki has different colors. Pressing SHIFT makes her change colors (there are 8 different color sets in total).|
|Handgun (けんじゅう)||Sabitsuki holds a handgun which scares NPCs away when fired, but cannot harm them. Pressing SHIFT makes her close her eyes and fire the gun up to the air. After shooting 5 bullets, pressing SHIFT makes her reload the handgun.|
|Corpse (したい)||Sabitsuki turns into a purple corpse.|
|Black Hoodie (くろフード)||Sabitsuki wears a black hoodie. Pressing SHIFT causes Sabitsuki to lower her hood or raise it up.|
|Uniform (せいふく)||Sabitsuki wears a school uniform like that of the Kaibutsu.|
|Television (テレビ)||Sabitsuki's head turns into a TV. Pressing SHIFT causes her to turn the TV on then off. Each time it is pressed the TV shows a random image or face expression.|
|Plant (しょくぶつ)||Sabitsuki has plants growing around her. Pressing SHIFT makes the plants grow thicker around her. The plants will not return to their previous form after that unless the effect is unequipped.|
|Tattoo (いれずみ)||Sabitsuki has red plus tattoos on her eyes, resembling Smile.|
|Dress (ドレス)||Sabitsuki wears a gothic outfit. Pressing SHIFT causes her to do a curtsey.|
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.|
|Bar Kaibutsu||A lone Kaibutsu at the bar in The Sugar Hole, strikes back if you attempt to hit him with the Iron Pipe. Nicknamed "Gabe" by fans.|
|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.|
Gameplay Video (Version 0.09)
(Translated by Haruku)
(Note: The RPG_RT.exe file has been lost, please copy this file from any games run on Japanese RPG Maker 2000 to start the game)