When Unity announced its pricing changes, it shook up the entire game development community.
Even though they later acknowledged dev feedback and announced changes, many devs are exploring the best mobile game engines as Unity alternatives.
There are plenty of game engines out there, each with its own unique set of features and capabilities.
Of course, making the switch is a challenge of its own.
For this reason, it’s critical to do thorough research. To help you with this, we’re bringing you an overview of the best mobile game engines, complete with their key functionalities, pros, and cons.
You’re more of a visual type? To paint a better picture, we’ve also included some of the most renowned mobile games created using each engine.
In the midst of the Unity drama, Godot Engine emerged as the most talked-about alternative. Developers are intensively discussing it on Reddit and other forums, exchanging knowledge and experiences.
Here are the main things you should know about it.
Godot is a community-driven open-source game engine, known for its user-friendly interface and versatility.
It supports both 2D and 3D game development, offers a robust visual scripting system, and allows for collaborative game development. Godot is free to use and has an active community that provides valuable resources and support.
All of this makes it the go-to choice for indie developers and anyone seeking a powerful yet completely cost-free Unity alternative.
Best for: Indie developers, small studios, developers focused on 2D and 2.5D games
Pros: Easy to learn, suitable for beginners, open-source, visual scripting system, active community, affordability
Cons: Smaller asset store, limited 3D capabilities, less smooth C# support
Programming language: GDScript, C#, Visual Scripting, Custom Scripting
Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, HTML5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox
Unreal Engine, developed by industry giant Epic Games, is the gold standard for visually stunning 3D games.
It offers an array of tools, including a unique visual scripting system (Blueprints), and robust support for virtual reality (VR).
While it comes with royalty fees for successful projects, its power and flexibility make it a top contender among Unity alternatives for game developers.
Best for: Bigger studios, AAA devs, 3D game development
Pros: Impressive 3D graphics, realistic rendering, powerful visual scripting, programming skills not necessary, strong community, large asset and plugin marketplace
Cons: Steep learning curve, requires powerful hardware
Programming languages: Blueprint visual scripting, C++, Phyton
Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, HTML5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, VR/AR platforms
Cost: Freemium (5% royalty fee once the game grosses $1 million)
Not very confident in your coding skills? Consider Builbox, one of the most popular no-code game engines on the market.
Designed specifically for creating mobile games, this engine features a simple drag-and-drop interface anyone can get a hold of.
However, while it shines at rapid development, it might not be the best option for those looking to create deep, complex gameplay experiences.
Best for: Beginners, small indie developers, creating simple 2D games
Pros: No coding required, intuitive drag-and-drop UI, provides rapid prototyping, rich asset and template library
Cons: Not suitable for building complex games, relatively high pricing for advanced plans
Programming languages: Visual scripting
Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, HTML5
Cost: Free version, $57.99/year (Plus), $137.99/year (Pro), $447.99/year (Ultimate Bundle)
Formerly known as Corona SDK, Solar 2D is a dynamic framework for building 2D games.
Solard 2D is one of the best mobile game engines for indie developers and small studios because it’s fast, free, and open-source.
Fuelled by the Lua scripting language, it offers a wide range of plugins and extensions, unlocking creative possibilities in game design.
Best for: Indie developers, small to medium studios, 2D game development
Pros: Easy to learn, allows rapid development, real-time-testing capabilities, built-in graphics and audio tools, extensive documentation and tutorials
Cons: Doesn’t support 3D and complex game development
Programming languages: Lua scripting
Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Kindle, Apple TV, Android TV, macOS, Windows, Linux, HTML5
GameMaker Studio 2
We’re closing our list of best mobile game engines with GameMaker Studio 2. GameMaker is a versatile game engine primarily focused on 2D game creation that can be used both by beginners and experienced developers.
While rookies usually rely on its drag-and-drop design interface, seasoned developers enjoy its powerful scripting capabilities with GameMaker Language.
All of this makes GameMaker Studio 2 a popular choice for all kinds of games, from puzzles to RPGs.
Best for: Anyone looking to create 2D games
Pros: User-friendly UI, solid asset marketplace, many supported platforms, quick prototyping, built-in physics engine, game genre flexibility
Cons: Longer learning curve for advanced features, performance constraints for very complex games, relatively high pricing
Programming languages: Developers can choose between visual scripting and GML (GameMaker Language) scripting language
Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, HTML5, Ubuntu
Cost: Free version, $49.99/year (Creator), $99.99/year (Indie), $799.99/year (Enterprise)
Best Mobile Game Engines: Which One is Your Favorite?
Hopefully, this list of best mobile game engines as Unity alternatives has helped you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their strengths and weaknesses.
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