Thank you so much for the review! About the flight controls, originally I had implemented only one method (default), but after receiving player feedback on Touch Arcade forums, I added an update that has an alternate flight mode. This mode addresses your main critique by adding a main engine thrust on/off toggle as separate from the directional controls. The ship is then able to rotate on the spot, allowing for more accurate flight (like on the PC). You can enable this alt control in the title screen (lower right icon).
And yes, there's a learning curve involved, but the more you play the deeper it gets. As you get better ships/modules & rank up skills, you will be able to dog-fight toe-to-toe or yourself vs hordes of enemies. As more squad mates are recruited, their perks offer tactical choices, and they unlock story & missions.
In combat early on, focus on weakened ships where shields are down (the tutorial mentions the blue bars being shields), allowing your weapons and missiles to hit their hull and potentially get the killing blow rewards.