Taking place long after the events of Alpha-Nighthawk, Beta-Sixdouze is another sci-fi romance, if one with a somewhat different tone through most of its story. This title by Liar-soft and Shiravune still features mecha battles, unusual powers, and some furry characters (Neo-Fennecs), but feels much lighter than its predecessor.
To get it out of the way, Beta-Sixdouze is a standalone visual novel, but I highly recommend playing Alpha-Nighthawk first. It certainly feels intended to be read that way.
Time Moves On
Centuries ago, a giant rose appeared in the sky. The people called it ‘Consuelo’. Each century, it destroys a city by firing a thorn at the Earth, and infects the land nearby with monsters on top of that. But Beta-Sixdouze doesn’t concern itself with the events on Earth much, instead taking place almost entirely on the spaceship created to combat it.
This title primarily follows two sets of characters, with the lead being a mecha pilot named Yosuke Hakone. He’s the grandson of Ichizo and Miriya from the first installment, and comes across as a bit hot-headed at times, but with a good nature. His partner in fighting Consuelo is Hanaco, whose name might ring some bells. She’s a crybaby, but for good reason – she’s essentially at the level of a toddler in an adult body, with no memories of what happened before a certain event.
Yosuke’s mechanic and friend is a seemingly rather laid-back Neo-Fennec called Jean. Despite his casual behavior, there’s more to him than there seems. We often see him with Anne, a rather petite young pilot. She’s the youngest survivor of a plan that led to almost everyone’s deaths and has a strong connection to the past, with her essentially leaping forward in time.
I wasn’t much of a fan of Hanaco. We see her grow up somewhat throughout the story, but she just felt like a child to manage most of the time. I wish we had more time with Jean whose personality always brought humor or Anne who had backstory to reveal instead and interesting moments of trying to adjust to a different time.
On a more positive note, I appreciated the moments of Yosuke and Jean’s friendship, though these did sadly become few and far between later in the story.
More Slice of Life than Mystery
Beta-Sixdouze is quite short, clocking in at about seven hours for me. The first hour started well, with Yosuke meeting Hanaco and becoming a higher-ranked pilot along with some character introductions, but much of the next four hours felt like a slog.
When compared to Alpha-Nighthawk, the earlier title mostly took place in a rather dark world. Neo-Fennecs were used as slaves and openly abused, brothels were easily found, and death was never too far away.
While it introduces some interesting themes such as how the world has moved on from those times and how the Neo-Fennec’s are still facing discrimination despite racism being illegal, Beta-Sixdouze spends more time playing on the beach or with romantic moments than on serious issues.
That’s not to say that there isn’t an interesting story here. It’s just the pacing isn’t great. It feels like the majority of the reveals and excitement are almost all in the final two hours, where the tone became much darker. The bits that come before are just there as a trickle of hints of something disturbing spread throughout often tedious world-building or slice-of-life moments. To add to that, the story of Yosuke/Hanaco and that of Jean/Anne mostly don’t meet up until the end. With the Jean/Anne scenes being fairly infrequent and mostly focused on the plot and callbacks to the previous title’s characters, it felt like the Yosuke/Hanaco moments were even less related to the story, until the final arc.
I will say though that while I do have complaints about how they got there and particularly about one point related to Anne not making much sense, the ending is great, and certainly adds some much-needed background for the events of the first story in the series.
Systems and Issues
There are choices in Beta-Sixdouze, but they don’t matter. It’s only a difference of whether you see the scene from one character’s point of view first or the other. It always takes you right back to the same choice to select the other one anyway.
In terms of options and user interface, the basic visual novel options are available, but nothing beyond that. It does have a glossary though, which is always good for a sci-fi setting.
I did unfortunately come across some technical issues while playing. Quite often Beta-Sixdouze seemed to freeze or become unresponsive. This happened about ten times throughout my playtime, which is quite a lot for such a short visual novel. I had to save often and use skip to get back to where I left off.
You can buy Beta-Sixdouze on Steam or on Johren. A free patch is available to restore sexual content if you purchase it on Steam.
The earlier adult scenes are somewhat vanilla, at least in terms of acts performed, even if it’s often not straightforward romance. Hanaco’s mental age could potentially be an issue for some and there are both Neo-Fennec/Neo-Fennec and Human/Neo-Fennec scenes. Some of the later scenes veer more into fetish territory, with some darker themes. It’s worth noting that the adult scenes are quite short compared to many other visual novels.
All of the adult scenes are censored with mosaics, with one CG even having mosaics over some tight to the point of translucent clothing.
Colors and Sounds
Beta-Sixdouze doesn’t look like a typical anime style and frequently makes use of gradient two-tone hair and bright colors. Some of its 67 CGs are particularly striking, with both characters and mecha shown. That said, while the character designs aren’t bad, they don’t stand out as much as those of its predecessor, feeling much less unique in the design of the clothing particularly. It’s only 720p too.
There are only 10 pieces of music throughout which is quite limited. It all worked nicely as background music though, and some of the more exciting scenes were supported well by the ‘Combat Pilot’ track.
There is only partial voicing, with everyone voiced during important scenes, but only female voices at other times.
I enjoyed the final chapters of Beta-Sixdouze and it certainly added to the lore of the series well, but it felt like a long and tiresome journey to get there at times. It has plenty of good moments sprinkled throughout, but between the technical issues and the moments of tedium, it’s difficult to outright recommend this visual novel. It did feel like somewhat of a letdown, as Alpha-Nighthawk was quite good.
WAIT FOR SALE ON BETA-SIXDOUZE
Many thanks go to the publisher Shiravune for a review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.