Ditching Unity? 5 Best Mobile Game Engines to Try

You're one of many devs currently exploring different game engines? Check out our list of the 5 best mobile game engines besides Unity.

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.

Godot 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

Cost: Free

Popular mobile games made with Godot: Pancake Tower, Golf Peaks, Heart Star

Popular mobile games made with Godot: Pancake Tower, Golf Peaks, Heart Star
Pancake Tower, Golf Peaks, Heart Star

Unreal Engine

best mobile game engines unreal engine

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)

Popular mobile games made with Unreal Engine: PUBG Mobile, Fortnite

Buildbox

buildbox game engine

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)

Popular mobile games made with Buildbox: Color Switch, Slope, Matchy Moods

best mobile game engines buildbox game examples
Color Switch, Matchy Moods, Slope 

Solar 2D

Solar 2D

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

Cost: Free

Popular mobile games made with Solar 2D: Designer City, The Lost City, Zig Zag Zoom Ball

Designer City

GameMaker Studio 2

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)

Popular mobile games made with GameMaker Studio 2: Slayaway Camp, Bendy and the Ink Machine, Downwell

Slayaway Camp made with gamemaker studio 2
Slayaway Camp

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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