Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet is a space combat strategy game that's based on David Weber's Honor Harrington novels. Newbies to the world shouldn't fret, as this app is thoroughly easy to pick up and play.

Players take on the role as the newly appointed captain of the HMS Havoc. After an ambush leads to tragedy, it's your job to guide your crew through the universe and take out enemy spaceships along the way. Although the gameplay pits your craft against another vessel, this seemingly simple showdown contains a ton of nuance.

Before you engage your opponent, you will manage all parts of your ship to make sure you're battle ready. Although firing at another craft requires a tap on a weapons icon, you must choose which missile will suit you best. Are you going to simply nuke your adversary or would you rather use firepower that will damage the ship's hull? During the game's beginning stages, both missiles will be at your disposal, and you'll have to make important, tactical decisions from the get go.

Evergreen Studios

The key to Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet is also figuring out when to upgrade your respective officers or items in your craft. Whether it's having the sturdiest ship in space or loading up your craft with a varied array of firepower, the customization abilities of Tales of Honor are refreshingly varied.

By the end of each successful engagement, you will receive a randomized set of rewards. Metal bars and plasma serve as currency that can be used for upgrading various machines in your ship, and the metal is also used to purchase other items at various marketplaces. Certain items are used to strengthen your craft's bridge area, while others are employed to strengthen your laser systems or bring more efficiency to your engineering station.

Since I’m all about firepower, I’ve spent most of my currency purchasing missiles and ensuring my weaponry is in tip top condition. Other gamers may want a stronger ship to take as much damage as possible. Neither strategy, from my experience, is the superior way to go. Still, getting the chance to make all of those decisions even before you face your enemy is one of Tales of Honor’s strongest assets.

After certain battles, any damage you sustain will be noted in red. When my craft, the HMS Galahad, took a beating in the bridge and engineering sections, I simply pressed my finger to each location to put out the fires. It’s easy to manage and execute hazards when they do spring up.

Evergreen Studios

This app also receives high marks for its free to play model, as I played a ton of missions without spending a single penny. If your craft is outmatched by its current opponent, you can warp speed to earlier missions and beat up on weaker ships, collect currency and more items and continue to enjoy the game.

Upgrading your items and officers does actually take more than a few minutes, and it also takes several minutes to re-energize your warp speed abilities if you've used up your fill. The time element isn't such a hassle, however, as you're blessed with a lot of gameplay before the real waiting game begins.

Even if you spend your currency upgrading your ship and may want to rest before the next battle, you can still enjoy the app. If you want to burn off a few minutes without actually playing the Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet, there's also a replay function available to re-watch your just finished battle.

Evergreen Studios

If you're into strategy based titles filled with upgrade and customization choices, Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet is a highly recommended download. There are new items that I'm discovering even as I get deeper into the game, and having a ton of material at your disposal dramatically ups the app's playability factor. I still haven't checked out any Honor Harrington tales, but when you're having so much fun in outer space, who has time to read?

This review is based on a review code provided by the publisher for Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet for iOS.

App Store Link: Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet for iPhone & iPad | By Evergreen Studios | Price: Free | Version: 1.1 | 80.1 MB | Rating 9+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating