Let's be honest, the AppStore has spoiled us all. Long gone are the time when you had to pay 50 bucks for one game, now you can even get them for .99. Yes, I know the quality is different, but the community has gotten used to this lower quality lower price games, that feel at home specially at the iDevice.
Then comes along games that call themselves "premium" which dare to break this dog eats dog situation by placing their games in a margin higher than anyone else. Most bash these kinds of games, calling them "too expensive" forgetting about older times. I myself cannot vouch for the other premium games, as I haven't played them. But all of those that ditch this game because of the price, they're missing a lot here.
How to explain Chaos Rings? Well, as you'd expect, it feels a LOT like a FF game, same mechanics and all, but, well, being like FF doesnt make a game bad (far from it) and this one sticks out enough to be worthy of its own name.
The story is simple: You don't know anything of where you are, just that you're stuck somewhere with people, everyone paired, and you need to fight til death for immortality because failing to do so (as well as losing) gets you killed. Simple, no? Still, from the time I've played it I feel this game has enough twists to keep you interested (something that, coming from an iTouch game, means a lot, since I haven't seen the 1st game before this one to have a decent storyline).
The game itself is separate by scenarios, levels in which you have an objective, and to get to it, you need to defeat several bosses and go through a lot of puzzles. Yes, puzzles, because not everything in this game is about fighting, you'll have to do a pretty good deal of thinking (nothing too hard, don't worry) to get through the game. I consider that to be truly awesome as it helps break the simple running/fighting sequence we're all used to.
But wait, do you think this is the same as all of the others FFs out there? It may, but it has enough tweaks to keep you really hooked into it. For instance, you may choose the level range of the enemies that are to be found in the scenario, so you yourself decide how much you want to be challenged (makes it playable by everyone + adds a lot to the replay value). And what about you? Tired of the same old random encounters that seem to pop out every 3 steps? They have something for you too. In the 1st dungeon you find a skill that allows you to simply turn random encounters off (be in mind that you still have to face mandatory bosses, so don't go thinking this is gonna be a walk through the park).
Also new is a new tweak in the battle system. As you can imagine, being paired is not for free, so, in battle, you can choose to fight as one, dealing bigger damage; or 2 dealing different types of attacks and skills. And talking about skills (because we can't about a SE game without talking about magic) the games gives you skills through something called "genes" each time you kill an enemy, you have a chance of getting their genes, granting you an ability of their species to be equipped and be used in battle.
So yeah, pretty much SE managed to give everyone a bit of what they wanted/needed and delivering a top notch title, and all of this on the platform everyone though it was doomed for cheap and low quality .99 games.
Is it worth the asking price? I must admit I'm a bit stingy myself regarding the AppStore, but I can tell you, as a RPG fan myself, these are the BEST $12.99 you can invest in a game on the AppStore. Where you thinking about getting 13 other games? Don't! Get this one, and you won't regret it.