When comparing libGDX vs Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator, the Slant community recommends Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator is ranked 5th while libGDX is ranked 12th. The most important reason people chose Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator is:
25% of iPhone games are made using Cocos2d-x. This means you will not be alone in development, and will have access to a large community. You'll know you are developing for an engine that works.
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Pro Lots of resources to learn from
Lots of references, tutorials and open source code to learn from.
Pro Great performance across devices
While it may not always have the best performance for a particular device or system, it's one of the few engines which consistently performs very well across different platforms.
Pro Allows you to migrate from 2D to 3D within same framework
LibGDX supports both 2D and 3D game development. Allowing developers to migrate from 2D to 3D with ease without having to switch the engine they are using or having to learn a new API.
Pro Doesn't force a specific design
Unlike some engines, which only allow you to make your game in a few specific ways, libGDX allows you to design any type of game you wish as it is extremely customisable.
Pro Active and helpful community
The libGDX community, in the official libGDX forum is extremely helpful and approachable for any kind of question regardless of the its quality or difficulty.
The forums themselves are a very helpful resource for any issue or guide simply by searching past posts in there.
In addition to the forums, there's also the official #libgdx IRC channel on Freenode.
Pro Uses Box2D
A Java port of the Box2D physics engine is included in libGDX.
Pro Interfacing with platform specific code
Sometimes it is necessary to access platform specific APIs, e.g., adding advertisement services or leaderboard functionality provided by frameworks.
Pro Can use any JVM language
Since it's built with Java and runs on the JVM, any language that compiles to Java bytecode can be used to develop games with libGDX.
Pro Free, open source & permissive license
libGDX uses the Apache License 2.0.
Not only is libGDX free and open source but also it's license gives you a lot of power over the engine. As long as you provide a copy of the license, give credit, do not hold devs liable and do not use libGDX logo in any engine forks you can do pretty much anything you want.
Pro Very easy to customize
Pro Support for 3rd party tools
libGDX has built in support for many 3rd party tools, including (but not limited to) Bullet Physics, Box2DLights and the well-praised Tiled Map Editor.
Pro Constantly improved
LibGDX itself is pretty mature, and get updates not quite frequently, but various libraries for it are actively updated.
Pro Across platform support
You can write once and run anywhere (Android, IOS, Desktop, Browser) also lately came with lib to deal with VR.
Pro Lots of tutorials to get you going
Even though the official documentation might be lacking, there are many tutorials on YouTube for libGDX.
Pro Excellent font rendering support
Very good tools for rendering fonts.
Pro Similar to the Microsoft XNA framework
Old XNA users may like libGDX since it's API is actually very similar to XNA's.
Pro Focusing on object pool patterns, to control memory without pointers
Unlike Unity or other engine, it allows to optimize a language that uses garbage collector when using patterns of objects you can control the use of memory without needing a language like C / C ++, getting the same speed in a more productive language.
Pro Kotlin support
It is written in Java so you can easily make games using Kotlin and Ktx project will help you get all advantages of this language.
Pro A proven engine for mobile development
25% of iPhone games are made using Cocos2d-x.
This means you will not be alone in development, and will have access to a large community. You'll know you are developing for an engine that works.
Pro Supports 3D models with skeleton animation
A new feature since Cocos2d-x v3.1 is support for 3D models (in your 2D game), not only this but support for skeleton animations is included too! This awesome feature allows for impressive characters in your game along with easier, more fluid and realistic animations.
Pro Great script language support
Especially with Cocos2d-JS you can develop games cross web and native, and the native solution have great performance with JS Bindings, much better than hybrid solution.
Pro No external dependencies
Because it is based on Pyglet.
Pro Highly active community for questions and support
Cocos2d-x forums are active.
Pro OpenGL hardware acceleration
Pro Easy integration of 3rd party plugins
For example, if you want to add a rating plugin, you use
sdkbox::PluginReview::init(); and if you want to add the Vundle Ad Network SDK, you use the one packaged in SDKBox
Cocos2d-x is not only open source but also supported by Chukong Technologies of China and USA.
Regularly updated and adding support for the latest technologies. 2014 has already seen the release of Version 3, a new Cocos Studio development toolkit (optional) and support for new technologies like skeleton animation systems Spine and Adobe DragonBone.
Pro Greater performance than high level APIs
Cocos2d-x is C++ based engine and it has CPU advantages for most platforms because of that. It uses polygonal mesh methods for sprite rendering for using GPU advantages. (You also use quad methods for benefit CPU).
Pro Allows for easy debugging
It has a built-in Python interpreter that allows for easy debugging.
Pro One code for all platforms
On top of supporting pretty much all existing platforms (except consoles), Cocos Creator (Cocos's IDE) allows you to write 1 code that runs on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and HTML5 (not Linux though).
Pro Very good IDE
Cocos Creator (Cocos' IDE) comes with scene editing, UI editor, animations & particle editors and whatnot. It's also easy to use and pretty intuitive if you read the official documentation & tutorials. Way way better than the old CocoStudio.
Pro Great video tutorials
Hundreds of video tutorials available.
Con Not starter friendly
Even default applications fail to load in Android. It doesn't have any documentation on errors either.
Con The project slowed down in development
The number of active developers has decreased, many open issues and pull requests.
Con Build system is clunky
LibGDX uses Gradle, which is very demanding of memory and makes IDEs freeze on anything if your computer is not powerful enough.
Con Does not create compiled code
LibGDX runs entirely on Java and does not create executable binaries.
Con A bit difficult to use
This engine is not well put together. Is made from various free modules each with their own peculiarities. At times it feels you need to learn a couple of libraries rather than just one. Is not an engine for beginners as it requires coding. Lots of coding. You need to be intermediate to advanced in Java to develop in LibGDX.
Con Poor support and non-existent community
Up until 2013, this was one of the best engines around. However, since then it was bought by a Chinese company and began stagnating - it's virtually in a slow death. Most developers abandoned Cocos in favor of more modern solutions leaving the community weak and the forums with little or no traffic. Although the Cocos2d-x Forum seems to have a decent community going.
Con Modest functionality
Almost all free alternatives are more convenient, faster, and more functional.