There aren't many games that try their hand at space combat. Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet aims to offer a nice blend of story along with exciting battles amongst the stars.
The space race
Based on a book and multimedia story series, Tales of Honor takes place in space where you've been promoted to captain of a starship. Your mission is to seek out "the secret fleet' which has been terrorizing the galaxy.
Most of Tales of Honor is divided into three parts: navigating the star map/refilling supplies, upgrading and repairing the inside of your ship, and space combat. Fans of strategy will enjoy the space combat which is all based on the timing of your attacks and counter-attacks. Your ship comes up against a variety of ships ranging from small to massive, and each with a varying mix of weapons and defenses.
Combat is the most enjoyable part of the game. The controls are incredibly simple but the strategy is complex. Your ship has access to a wide variety of missiles to fire at your opponent. There's some that knock out their defensive lasers while others knock their weapons offline. They key comes knowing when to use your weapons and defenses. For example, if you fire a powerful nuclear missile early in the match, it will probably get destroyed by your opponents defenses. However, if you first fire weapons that disable their defenses, you'll have a better shot of blowing up their ship.
Aside from the unlimited standard missile which just does damage, the other missiles along with other upgrades can be purchased at space stations located across the galaxy maps.
Tales of Honor also has an odd mini game. If you lose a battle or your ship is badly damaged, fires break out all over your ship. You must out the fires by tapping and holding the tile that they're burning on. Failing to put out a fire causes damage that takes time and money to repair. It's not an unwelcome addition to the game, but it definitely feels odd and a bit out of place given the high-quality gameplay in the rest of Tales of Honor.
In-app purchases are available, but unlike so many other games that practically make purchases compulsory to advance, they make Tales of Honor easier but aren't necessary nor are they advertised particularly frequently.
Take control of your ship
Tales of Honor doesn't get bogged down in complicated controls and instead focuses on strategy; space combat is all about timing. Your weapons and defenses are laid out on the bottom of the screen in a button/map hybrid. Your weapons are on the right side of the screen and your defenses on the left. Both the missiles and counter-attacks can be used by tapping on the corresponding button. After firing, a timer (for your opponent too) counts down, letting you know much time you have before you can use them again.
There's also a small map at the bottom of the screen which displays your ship on the left side and your opponent's on the right. After weapons are fired, you can track the projectiles across the bottom of the screen. As the missiles fly closer to your ship, you'll be prompted to use your defenses for a limited amount of time.
There's also a defensive roll which generates a shield that makes your ship temporarily invincible, but you can't fire weapons and timing the roll wrong could leave your ship exposed.
The game provides a mixed bag in terms of graphics. Space battles look sharp and the individual models for each ship are well-designed. On the other hand, the interior of the ship looks incredibly dated and your crew members putting out fires can look a bit silly. The story, which is told through a comic style of dialog, also works in the Tales of Honor's favor.
The sound for Tales of Honor is high quality. Lasers make an appropriate "pew" sound, sirens blare when there are fires, and explosions rumble. The music for the game is decent, but somewhat forgettable. The lack of an epic musical score doesn't take away from the game and it's actually preferable as it's not a distraction.
It's out of this world
Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet is an excellent tactical space game that may not be perfect now, but lays down a solid foundation from which to build upon.