Charging a buck for each "premium" character in Final Fantasy All the Bravest might have been slightly less offensive if the character you got wasn't random even if you restored purchases. The game was silly fun either way. I spent a few weeks playing Pictlogica last year, which seemed to be on the right path. "Premium" characters still came via the cash bought in-game-currency, but events allowed access to some of the cooler characters. Final Fantasy Record Keeper unlocks these named characters via simply playing the game. Cash money buys Gems which allow Stamina refills, continuing or rolls of rare equipment. Stuff that is nice to have but not what gets the players all tingly. Having Cloud, Kain, Wakka and Rydia team up with Deshi, the main character of Record Keeper, to fight Reno and collect enough Gysahl Greens to have the Fat Chocobo revive Aerith (4000 greens) scratches a level of Final Fantasy fandom that I didn't realize bubbled within me.
(All right. Technically the Fat Chocobo is just letting Aerith join your party but pretending it is raising her from the dead is just so much more satisfying.)
It also helps that the battle system is ATB with no MP. Instead characters can equip two skills - what depends on who they are, no magic for Cloud, for example. The skills, like equipment, powered up by Puzzle and Draongs like fusion. This allows for more uses per battle. And that is it. Each character has a limit break type move they can use when a bar fills up. Each area is a multi-part "dungeon" where after completing a few grunt-filled areas (usually rewarding the player with some items, gold and filling up the limit break bars). After a bit of playing I have been able to Auto-Battle my way through these. Which I am okay with as the boss battles have been great. Using one's knowledge of these fights from the original games can lead to extra bonuses upon winning, plus making the fights "easier".
I have failed a few times against bosses, but it has been my fault and not the game's difficultly ramping up too much. I'm still fairly early, as I can take on the "Easy" versions of the daily bonus dungeons while I am far to weak to take on the "Normal" stages. I'm sure I'll soon see the pay-wall-difficulty hit as happens with these games, but the memory trips plus fun boss fights have made this worth my time so far.
Now I just have to beat Reno about 180 more times so I can unlock Aeirth.