While not the best Final Fantasy game of all-time (in my reality that's IX), Final Fantasy IV was one of the first role-playing games to feature a deep, character-driven plot and introduced the world to the Active Time Battle system, adding an element of urgency to pressing one button over and over again. That's at least $16 worth of value right there.
Matrix Software's 2007 remake for the Nintendo DS is prettier than ever on the retina screen of the iPhone and iPad (doesn't look too shabby on the mini either). Those pixelated 3D textures take on a certain charm when blown up to size, and the novelty of hearing Cecil and Cain exchanging dialogue with actual voices never fades.
Players get an epic tale of good versus not-so-good wrapped around an endless string of turn-based battles interspersed with exploration and equipment upgrades.
What that will cost them is $15.99, which is definitely on the more expensive end of the iOS game spectrum, but considering the cheapest price I can find for a used copy of the DS version—$14.99, not counting shipping—it's a fair price. And hey, Square Enix finally released a universal Final Fantasy game. That's progress!
If it seems like a bit of a cop out, picking a proven game from an at-the-time proven publisher for today's Gaming App of the Day, then consider this—it's Christmas Eve, and I need to make buffalo chicken dip. Of course it's a cop out, but it's also a damn fine choice.
Final Fantasy IV — $15.99 [iTunes]