YMMV: .flow

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Ripe for all kinds of interpretations here, like Yume Nikki and Yume 2kki. Even so, the general consensus is that Sabitsuki is a girl with a fatal disease of some kind.
    • Rust: Is she a malevolent alter-ego of Sabitsuki created by a disease to take over Sabitsuki's body? Or is she really an alter-ego created by Sabitsuki to defend herself against the virus and other things that could possibly threaten Sabitsuki? Is she a protective split-personality turned malevolent and trying to kill Sabitsuki?
    • Smile: Sabitsuki's brother, former boyfriend, or former platonic friend? A popular boy in school that Sabitsuki looked up to and/or felt overshadowed by? Did he intentionally hurt Sabitsuki at one point (corrupted school event), and was it either out of malice or self-defense? Is he an author avatar of lol or simply just another character?
    • Sister: Just Smile's shy little sibling, or an innocent-looking girl with a secret dark side? The latter interpretation seems to be fueled by lol's artwork of a Sister-like girl.
    • The Cleaners: Are they simply maids that work at a bar, or is there something more shady behind them? Are they connected to the asylum the Sugar Hole is located next to, or the seedy psychedelic town, or both?
    • Oreko: Sabitsuki's imaginary friend, or a real friend she once had, who may or may not be now dead? The existence of a child version of her, found in the asylum, may support the childhood friend interpretation.
  • Awesome Music: Like Yume Nikki, .flow has several amazing and memorable tracks found inside. Overall, the music generally does a good job of creating the game's atmosphere and adding to the horror/surrealism.
    • "olg", the peaceful yet beautiful track that plays when Sabitsuki sleeps in her bed.
    • "bgm49", the track that plays on the white hand hill, is two and a half minutes of an absolutely beautiful, calming and solemn melody. It really contrasts the heavy slow disco beat of the areas before it, and fits the lovely minimalistic pixel art of the area it plays in.
  • Demonic Spiders: The Kaibutsu, which are pale white-haired figures resembling schoolchildren with bleeding faces. Usually they simply wander around, minding their own business, but then if you smack them with the iron pipe, they become enraged and chase you. Touching them teleports you to inescapable areas. Some of them don't need to be smacked to be enraged, since they already are. Luckily, you can avoid them by using the ghost effect's invisibility cloak, but touching them still teleports you away.
  • Crack Ship: Sabitsuki is sometimes shipped with the Kaibutsu.
  • Creepy Awesome: Smile has some pretty creepy moments, but he's one of the most popular and iconic characters in the fandom.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: One complaint commonly lodged against the game is that it tries too hard with all the blood and gore everywhere.
  • Ear Worm: Many of the songs, scary or not, but especially Shinsoku Neko's music.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Sister notably gets a rather disproportionate amount of attention in the fandom, for an NPC that only has a minor appearance in one place, where she is overshadowed by her brother Smile. lol drawing lots of art of a Sister-like girl probably helps; that and her apparent status as beta protagonist before Sabitsuki.
  • Even Better Sequel: Some view .flow as the superior game to either or both of Yume Nikki and Yume 2kki, usually due to .flow have a more tightly-packed and coherent theme and world compared to the more random nature of the other two games, and having some semblance of a plot.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Sabitsuki and Smile. The pairing is often referred to as the ".flowtp".
  • Goddamn Bats: The red demons. Though they only appear in one part of the game — specifically, the deeper areas of the womb level with floating mouths in the background — they nastily disable your effects upon contact and add a little to the corruption meter, not to mention there are a lot in said areas. In the endgame, though, they become even worse. They're just about everywhere at this point in the game, they slowly wear Rust down, move erratically, and have an annoying habit of speeding up when they have a clear path to Rust. On the other hand, they make certain spots that normally had Kaibutsu easier as they replace a lot of them, meaning Rust can just tank the damage and move on. Except that if you touch too many, you explode in a bloody mess!
  • Iron Woobie: Sabitsuki is obviously a very damaged person and most likely mentally disturbed in some way, but she still manages to shoulder a lot of suffering, past and present. She is also commonly interpreted as a stoic woobie.
  • It Was His Sled: The ending twists of Cleaners apparently existing in real life, Sabitsuki getting her legs cut off and probably dying as well, and Sabitsuki apparently becoming a Kaibutsu.
  • Les Yay
    • Some of Oreko's interactions with Sabitsuki, as well as the existence of the friendship meter, are interpreted as this.
    • Happens whenever Sabitsuki is shipped with the female Kaibutsu. Sometimes she's also shipped with her alter-ego Rust, which may or may not also be selfcest.
    • The Sugar Hole-related event in the apartment briefly shows a vision of Sabitsuki dining at a table with a black-haired girl. Some have come to interpret this vision as a date, and the NPC as a past girlfriend of Sabitsuki (as this event and the white hand hill implies that the two became distant). Notably, this NPC wears a dress like one that Sabitsuki herself can find in the underwater village and wear.
  • Memetic Mutation: Smile and potassium.Explanation 
  • Nausea Fuel: All over the place. The deeper levels of the body area, the viscera effect, the dying girls and bloody room events are a few of the most prominent examples.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Although not as abundant as the nightmare or nausea fuel, the game certainly has its paranoia-inspiring moments; for example, the shady town and its resident randomized event, and the nightmare event.
  • Squick
    • Some theories speculate that the Sugar Hole's cake is made out of human flesh.
    • The fact that the Sugar Hole is located in the sewers, of all places.
  • Tear Jerker
    • The orange menu is obtained from a ghostly Oreko in an area where melancholic music plays, implying that Oreko died at some point, but still wants to help in anyway she can.
    • In the Parade ward of the hospital, you can find a younger version of Sabitsuki. She's bedridden and attached to an IV. If you level up the erosion counter, her condition deteriorates and more wounds appear on her body until she looks inhuman.
    • Sabitsuki's situation in general. She's a girl with some kind of horrible, possibly fatal disease that's deteriorating her both mentally and physically, shut up in her room with no contact to the outside world; she's obviously faced a lot of suffering in her life, and it's heavily implied that Oreko, who is possibly her only friend, is dead. See also this analysis on Sabitsuki's self-identity.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: While still a lot more coherent than Yume Nikki or the likes of Yume 2kki, .flow still has many areas and/or events that don't make sense. And then there are the endings, which many will agree are one of the most confusing and incomprehensible parts of the game.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Mostly thanks to the small sprites the game has, which don't allow for much detail.
    • Oreko and Sabitsuki are sometimes mistaken as male; Sabitsuki mostly due to her short bedhead hair, and Oreko due to being obscured by her diving helmet in all but one of her appearances.
    • The Kaibutsu (mostly the short-haired models) are a constant source of confusion, being interpreted as either male or female; this is not helped by false rumors of lol confirming their genders.