In this article, we are going to explain the top 20 mobile game development platforms, engines, and software with game development tools pricing too. Based on requirements, you can choose any engine and create the best android and iOS 2D / 3D games with excellent mobile gaming graphics as well.
The widespread adaptation of Android and iOS devices have changed the gaming industry.
It has seen that more than 62% of smartphone users tend to install a game within the first week of purchasing their device.
With the rise in the sale of tablets and mobiles, game app download has increased immensely, and with the introduction of cloud gaming and real money games, the mobile gaming industry has taken a take-off, and the future of mobile gaming looks very bright indeed. The mobile gaming market has grown so much that it is now ahead of computer gaming. By looking at the popularity of mobile gaming, we can say that it is a promising market to generate revenue, and this reason has inspired many to develop mobile games.
Therefore, you must be wondering about how to develop games for mobile devices.
20 Best Free and Paid Mobile Game Engines, Development Platforms, and Tools 2021
These tools are the most recommended and suitable platforms for beginners and expert game developers.
With 45% of Global Game Engine market share, Unity 3D engine is used by 47% Game developers as the primary development tool.
Unity is a cross-platform tool launched by Unity Technologies. It is an all-in-one platform for mobile games. Also, it is famous due to its quirky features, supportive pricing, and robust capabilities. As it is a cross-platform tool, it saves much time for the developers who would have been otherwise spent on developing games for individual platforms. It comes packed with unique 2D & 3D features, and thus games developed on this platform are visual treats.
Unity 3D Game Examples
- Temple run trilogy
- Subway Surfer
Unity Platform Advantages
- Ultra-fast game engine ever
- Unity game engines are highly used as it provides support to almost 27 platforms.
- The app developed can be easily shared between PC, web, and mobile platforms.
- High-quality audio and visual effects ease the game development and help in delivering a quality gaming experience.
- Easy to understand documentation is available for an explanation of every small topic.
- Also, Debugging and tweaking are very easy.
Unity Software Pricing
- Free for Students and Beginner Startups
- $40 / Month for Unity Plus Edition
- $150 / Month for Unity Pro Edition
- $200 / Month for Unity Enterprise Addition
Thanks to its user-friendly features, the Unreal engine can be used by beginners too as no programming skills are needed to develop games on Unreal Engine. As a result, users can make necessary changes using the Unreal engine and modify the game without coding or changing codes. Also, the interface is straightforward to work with, and the most significant advantage is that the user can run game testing in the platform itself. Unreal Engine can also be used to design stunning 3D graphics, and thus the developer can use it to deliver games that will hook the gamers.
Unreal Engine Game Examples
- Injustice 2
- Mortal Kombat
Unreal Engine Advantages
- The best part of the Unreal Engine is that it is free and open-source software.
- Developers can make the use of pre-made assets to achieve photo-realistic rendering images for the game.
- The engine is a cross-platform game engine.
- Unreal has more tools and functionalities for a wide variety of situations.
- It is the best tool for the optimization of the game.
Unreal Engine Pricing
- Free for Beginners and startups
- Pay 5% royalty, if gross revenue would be $1,000,000 or more.
3. Cry Engine
CRYENGINE has received recognition because of the fantastic graphics output. If you want to develop a game with superior visuals, then CRYENGINE is the ideal game engines for you. The inclusion of tools like Flowgraph helps in making the game ambience powerful and attractive. Various classes of handy tools are available for beginners to understand the engine and its features.
CRYENGINE Game Examples
- Farcry(which is a viral open-world game)
- Arena of Fate
- You can develop a great game environment by using CRYENGINE’s artist-level programming.
- It also blessed with the most powerful audio tool, Fmod.
- Offers the finest coding
- It handles open-world, vegetation rich environments well.
- It is easy to learn and provides extensive support to the developers.
- Free for Small Projects
- Pay 5% Royalty, if annual revenue $5000 or more.
4. Corona SDK
Corona SDK is a 2D game software that uses the Lua scripting language. This language is comparatively easy to learn. Corona SDK is used for 2D game development as its 2D features make the 2D game relatively easy. Corona marketplace offers various plug-ins. Moreover, the detailed documentation and active and supportive community make Corona SDK a popular choice. The real-time simulation helps the developers to see how the app will look after the changes are done.
Corona SDK Game Examples
- Designer City
Corona SDK Advantages
- It is single code-based software, and thus you do not have to develop different codes for different platforms, and thus it is time-saving.
- Corona has features to include interactivity and graphic content in the game and therefore, while working on it, you will feel like a designer and not a developer.
- It makes monetization easy as it provides integrated support for banner ads.
- When compared to other SDKs, Corona much faster frame per second (FPS), making your games performance smooth and consistent gaming experience where there is no place for game slacking.
Corona SDK Pricing
- 100% Free to Use
- Some Premium Plugins are chargeable
As the name suggests, Amazon Lumberyard is a game developing engine launched by Amazon. It is free to use platform which you can use to develop all types of mobile games. As it is also a cross-platform game engine, the game created can be released on different platforms quickly. Thanks to the Twitch integration, developers can create visually engaging content that can easily entertain the users.
Amazon Lumberyard Game Examples
- The grand tour game
- Star Citizen
Amazon Lumberyard Advantages
- The extensive library of tools that Amazon Lumberyard provides is impressive enough to develop AAA quality games.
- Some of the best features include full C++source code, networking, Audiokinetic’s feature-rich sound engine, seamless integration with AWS cloud, and finally the Twitch API.
- Another advantage is pricing as there are no royalties or licensing fees, the only cost that you have to pay is for the usage of AWS cloud for online multiplayer games, but that comes with the advantage of faster deployment and development, and thus that is also an advantage.
Amazon Lumberyard Pricing
- 100% free to use, including source also.
SpritKit is a framework launched by Apple to develop 2D games. The framework supports Objective-C as well as Swift language. The developers can create high-performance 2D games using a wide range of features that the framework offers. If you want to develop games for iOS devices, this is probably the right framework for you.
As the framework is powered by Apple, this means that the developers don’t have to download extra libraries or external sources and you can be sure that the developed game will correctly run on all Apple’s existing and new products.
SpritKit Game Examples
- 10*10 Blocks
- Sumo pop
SpritKit Mobile Advantages
- As Apple develops the framework , everything is logical and works as you would expect them to. Exact methods and properties work just perfectly for iOS app development.
- The built-in tools help you to get rid of third party software to make your texture, atlases, assets, or fonts, as you can just drop in your images and Xcode will do everything for you.
- Built-in physics game engines make the work much easier for the developer.
- Completely Free
Cocos2D-x is a package of 2D game development tools, owned by Facebook. As it is a product of Facebook, everything is available in detail about the product. It comes with detailed documentation and has a large support community, and thus anyone can easily read the content, and they can learn the tool. It is script development, entity-component, and data-driven development tool that is focused on creating content. Developers can develop high-performance games using its powerful suite. It includes an all-in-one extensible editor that simplifies resource management, game debugging, previewing, and multi-platform publishing.
Cocos2D-x Game Examples
- Hill climb racing
- Don’t tap the white tile.
- The most significant benefit is that you don’t have to pay any royalties as Cocos2D-x is an open-source engine.
- It can develop cross-platform games.
- Third-party libraries can be integrated with Cocos2D-x to enhance the functionality of games.
- The best feature is that you can create games as small as 1.5 MB using this engine.
- 100% Free to use.
BuildBox can be used to develop games very easily and in short time. The process of developing games on BuildBox is just selecting the images, importing them, assigning the roles, and your game is ready to be played. There is no need of coding for developing your gaming app. Changes in the game can be made, and the effect can be checked in real-time using the BuildBox engine. It is a friendly platform for people who are not tech experts.
BuildBox Game Examples:
- Colour switch
- Ball jump
- BuildBox offers over 20,000 game assets, sound effects, and animations.
- The latest version of BuildBox can be used to develop 3D games without any coding.
- Drag and drop functionality makes the development process easy.
- Using BuildBox, you can implement ads by just a few clicks.
- Game templates are also available to make the development process as easy as possible.
BuildBox Game Builder Pricing:
- Free for Initial small test projects
- $19.99 / Month for BuildBox Plus Verison
- $49.99 / Month BuildBox Pro Version
Titanium Framework Game Examples
- Prototype 1 & 2
- Crash Trilogy
Titanium Framework Advantages
- You can develop codes in a few lines and in a flexible way, and thus it accelerates the application development process.
- Appcelerator has built up a community of 200,000+ developers, and thus you get generous support.
- It has launched an open-marketplace for buying, selling, and sharing modules, and therefore developers can also take the help from here.
Titanium Mobile Development Platform Pricing
- Free for Titanium Indie Version (For Small Projects)
- $199 / Month for Titanium Pro Version
- Custom Pricing for Titanium Enterprise Version (Require to contact sales)
10. Construct 3
Construct 3 Game Examples
- Beast Attack
- Lunar mission
Construct 3 Advantages
- Construct 3 is excellent for developing 2D games.
- It requires no programming knowledge to develop amazing games.
- It uses as a pure prototyping tool.
- Also, Construct 3 is affordable software.
- It is a very flexible software.
- It is stable, and well looked after by Scirra.
Construct 3 Game Making Software Pricing
- Free License Available for Limited Functionality
- $5.19 / Month for Personal Single License
- $5.19 / Month for Education License, minimum 3 licenses require to purchase
- $61.99 / Year for Startup Single License
- $406.79 / Year for standard business Single License
- Custom Pricing for Gambling Business License
GameMaker Studio 2 is a 2D game development engine launched by Yoyo Games. The language is really easy to learn, and the drag and drop feature lets you develop your game in a short time. GameMaker Studio 2 tool is budget-friendly, and thus you don’t have to spend a large amount of money on the engine. The user can personalize the experience, as the platform allows the users to set a development environment or organizing workspace.
GameMaker Studio 2 Software Game Examples
- Police Stories
GameMaker Studio 2 Software Advantages
- You can develop games of all styles and genres on GameMaker Studio 2; therefore, this tool will suit all your needs.
- Gamemaker Studio 2 is a go-to game engine for beginners, and its speed is unmatched.
- It is a very simple tool, and using the plug and play system; you can develop games almost with no programming.
- Gamemaker Studio 2 makes exporting to multiple platforms simple.
GameMaker Studio 2 Software Pricing
- 30 days of free trial available
- $39 / 12 Months License for Mac
- $39 / 12 Months License for Windows
- $99 for Permanent License for Mac, Windows & Ubuntu
- $149 for Permanent License for HTML 5
- $199 for Permanent License for Universal Windows Platform, including Xbox One Creators Program also
- $199 for Permanent License for Android, Fire & iOS Platforms
- $799 / 12 Month License for PS4 or Xbox One or Nintendo Switch
- $1500 / 12 Month License for All Platforms
MonoGame is a multi-platform game development framework. Its course engineering is similar to the XNA 4 API. It works with C and Net languages, therefore if you already know both the languages, working on MonoGame won’t be hard for you. However, the official website offers various learning tutorials that can help you in developing your game. As the framework uses shaders written in different languages, MonoGame has developed its language for creating shaders – MGFX.
MonoGame Game Examples
- Infinite Fight
- This framework has the same structure as Microsoft FX files, text format for easy editing.
- MonoGame is a flexible, versatile, and highly customizable game development engines.
- MonoGame is great for 2D games.
- Cross-platform development is comfortable with MonoGame.
- It is an open-source framework.
- Free to Use
Haxe is an open-source, high level, cross-platform game development engine. Also, it includes a set of standard functions like numeric data types, texts, binary, and more, that are supported across all platforms. Haxe, as a programming language, resembles C++, PHP, or AS3 languages. Haxe comes with a library that contains a variety of frameworks, functions, and procedures. You can choose any, and you can start developing your awesome game.
Haxe Game Examples
- Dead Cells
- The Haxe compiler is lightning fast, and thus you can quickly develop your game.
- Haxe offers very tight type checking and thus helps in rapid game development.
- Also, Haxe adds missing language features to target platforms.
Haxe Platform Pricing
- Entirely Free for Use Haxe Platform
- $6,500 / 6.000€1 per Year for Paid Supported Professional Plan
- $26,000 / 24.000€ per Year for Paid Supported Enterprise Plan
- $98,000 / 89.000€ per year for Paid Supported Elite Plan
Gideros is an open-sourced and free platform. Without any additional charges, you can develop amazing games, and you can launch them on different platforms because of the cross-platform functionality. Gideros used the same scripting language as Corona: Lua. Testing your game on the real devices in real-time is possible using Gideros.
Gideros Game Examples
- Swift Soccer
- Gideros is free to use technology.
- You can instantly test the game, and thus this saves time.
- You can easily extend the core with plugins.
- Using Gideros basic systems, you can write clean and reusable code for any of your future games.
Gideros Platform Pricing
- Gideros Mobile is Completely Free to Use.
Godot engine is using for developing 2D and 3D games. It is a cross-platform and an open-source engine. Also, it has been released under the MIT license. Even, you can run Godot on various operating systems including Windows, Linus, and macOS. You can use Godot to develop games from scratch without using any other tool besides some tools for content creation (art assets, music, and more). Scripts, Graphic assets, and all other game resources are saved in the computer file system rather than being held as a database.
Godot Game Examples
- Spooky Ghosts Dot Com
- The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizzaboy®
- Godot supports multiple languages and language binding.
- Godot’s node system makes it an intuitive and extendible design tool.
- It is free to use, and you will be the owner of everything you create using the game engines.
- It has its IDE, and it is very lightweight.
Godot Platform Pricing
- Godot platform is entirely free to use.
Marmalade is a cross-platform game engine that you can use to develop 2D and 3D games. It uses the C++ code for creating games. It allows you to build native apps for desktop and mobiles, and thus it is quite a popular choice among developers. Its central concept is “write once, run anywhere”. You can use libraries and code examples that are included in Marmalade, and thus this makes the development process more comfortable. You can test and deploy applications on different platforms.
Marmalade Game Examples
- cut the rope
- plants vs zombies
- If you use Marmalade for your game development, you have a single source for your application, regardless of the platform.
- Also, you can integrate third-party libraries.
- Compile game directly with native CPU instructions to give maximum speed.
- Able to develop games without virtual machines or language crossing programming.
- Unfortunately, Marmalade discontinued in 2017.
If you want to create an event-based game, then Clickteam fusion 2.5 is the perfect choice for you. It provides all of the necessary features that you need to develop an event-based game. As Clickteam fusion 2.5 doesn’t require programming language knowledge, hence it is easy to work with the same. You can use conditions and options to save time and to finish your game development quickly.
Clicktream Fusion 2.5 Game Examples
- Five Nights at Freddy’s series
Clickteam Fusion 2.5 Advantages
- Tutorials help you in developing your game.
- It is an all visual programming engine.
- A strong development community will help you at any step of the development.
- It is quick and easy for prototyping.
Clickteam Fusion Software Pricing
- Clickteam Fusion Free Edition available with Limited Functionality
- $99.99 for Clickteam Fusion 2.5
- $131.18 for Clickteam Fusion 2.5 Standard+
- $399.98 for Clickteam Fusion 2.5 with Developer Upgrade
- Other paid add-ons also available.
AppGameKit is a fit for all game developers. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, AppGamekit offers the perfect solutions for all. It is a user-friendly platform that uses a C++ similar coding language. Also, AppGamekit is the ideal solution for multiplatform game development. It is a cross-platform engine, and thus the game developed using AppGamekit will be available for all platforms.
AppGameKit Game Examples
- Driving Theory Test 2018
- Echoes III and more
- Developers can develop games without learning the engine much as it uses a similar language to C++.
- AppGamekit magic helps in increasing productivity, complies with the game, and launches it on a device for a test run.
- Go native lets you build games with C++ using IDE which you have already worked with the same.
- $49.99 for AppGameKit Classic
- $95.96 for AppGameKit Classic with Unlimited Bundle
- $149.78 for AppGameKit Twin Pack (Studio + Classic)
- $99.99 for AppGameKit Classic Bumper Pack
- Other Paid Addons available
Powered by Lua Language which is known for its versatility, speed, and ease of use, Defold is a 3D game development engine that helps in developing amazing 2D games. As the engine offers both 2D and 3D development, it holds tremendous potential for the creativity of the developers. It is a cross-platform development engine. Moreover, It is an all in one pack game development engine as it has all the things required to develop a game in one place. The custom configuration feature makes it much more powerful.
Defold Engine Game Examples
- Family Island
- Rafts War Multiplayer
Defold Engine Advantages
- All the assets of Defold specially design to develop the 2D game first, although you can create 3D games too using Defold, it is a great engine to build 2D games.
- With its fantastic performance, developers do not have to waste time around waiting, so they can use their full time to create the game.
- Defold has spine support for animations.
- In Defold, it is effortless to compose scenes for the game.
- It’s a fast and efficient game development engine.
Defold Game Engine Pricing
- It is a 100% free Game development engine.
Starling is a free and open-source cross-platform game development framework, and it builds on Adobe’s AIR™ technology. Also, the Starling framework allows the developers to develop accelerated hardware games in ActionScript 3. It borrows the classic display tree architecture of Adobe AIR/Flash, although it provides much better performance. The Architecture of the game is developed in such a way that it works well with the GPU. The standard game tasks are built right into the core of this framework. Furthermore, It is a great framework to develop 2D games for mobile and desktop platforms.
Starling Game Development Framework Examples
- Drive Off
- Tiny Swipers
Starling Game Development Framework Advantages
- It is a lightweight and easy to use game development framework.
- As an open-source project, the source codes are easy to read, understand, and extend.
- It is an open-source framework; therefore, developers can contribute to expend the framework’s limit.
- Also, It is a multi-screen friendly game development framework.
Starling Game Development Framework Pricing
- It is a 100% free Game development engine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Having questions regarding mobile game engine? Here, we have answered here of most frequent asked questions. Let us know in comment if we missed out any.
1. What is mobile game development?
Mobile game development is one process that takes a game idea and builds it for a mobile platform. The process involves various stages like idea generation, production, testing, and launch. Many factors like the game’s advanced features, the engaging storyline, and the attractive graphics contribute to the game’s success. With regular updates and new features, the game can provide an exciting and exciting experience.
2. Which game engine best to use for game development?
Every game engine has their own advantages & disadvanages. You can choose based on your requirmenets. Below, we have suggested some of the best game engine based on your game requirements.
- Developing HTML Games: Construct 3
- Developing 2D Games: Cocos2d-X
- Creating 3D Games: Unity Game Engine / Unreal Game Engine
- Developing AAA Games: Unreal Game Engine / Cry Engine
- Creating Real money Games: Unity Game Engine
3. What is the cost of mobile game development?
Mobile game development would cost around $5k – $500M. Development cost depends on your game requirments. Please check our detailed pricing background article here: Calculate the cost of mobile game development.
4. How to develop a mobile game?
Here are the steps one must follow in order to develop an effective mobile game:
- Come up with an awesome idea
- Create a game story
- Concept Development
- Create Game Design
- Quality assurance and game testing
- Deciding Monetization Strategy
- Support and Maintenance.
Following these 8 steps, you can launch your own game app and you can start earning from it, however, these steps are not as simple and they look and a perfect game requires a lot of work and expertise and therefore it is advisable to seek the help of mobile app development company as the niche experts can definitely develop an awesome and effective gaming app for you.
The first step of mobile game development starts with selecting the development platform. Whether you are a game developer or you are getting your game developed by a mobile game development company, the first thing you have to decide is the development platform. As a customer too, you should know the basics of mobile app development languages as they all have different advantages and features and if you know the basics, it can help you in selecting a language that can help the developer in developing an effective app and can help in reducing the development cost.
As a business owner, you might think about why you should know about the mobile game development platforms and frameworks, but this knowledge will help you in expressing your needs to the developer more clearly. Having the basic knowledge will enable you to have a decent conversation about what you want and all your requirements, otherwise, you would only end up saying – “Do whatever you think is right for us”.’
For detailed game development process breakdown, check our detailed article.
In conclusion, there are different benefits to all languages. Hence no language is better than the other, for instance. It is just about your use case, your budget, the platform you want to launch the app on, and some other things. Moreover, If you’re going to use the most appropriate language according to your requirement and have the best app developed, make sure that you choose an expert and skilled mobile app development company.