When comparing libGDX vs LÖVE, the Slant community recommends LÖVE for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” LÖVE is ranked 1st while libGDX is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose LÖVE is:
Lua is an embeddable scripting language designed to be lightweight, fast yet powerful. It is used in major titles such as Civilization as well as a lot of indie games. Lua is very popular because it provides "meta language" features. You can implement object-oriented structures, or pure procedural functions, etc. It has a very simple C interface, and gives the engine developer a lot of flexibility in the language itself. Artists tend to love Lua too because it's very approachable, with plain and forgiving syntax. Lua is free open-source software, distributed under a very liberal license (the well-known MIT license).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 Lots of resources to learn from
Lots of references, tutorials and open source code to learn from.
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 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 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 Scene2d support
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 Very easy to customize
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 Uses Box2D
A Java port of the Box2D physics engine is included in libGDX.
Pro Constantly improved
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 Across platform support
You can write one and run anywhere (Android, IOS, Desktop, Browser) also lately came with lib to deal with VR.
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 Lots of tutorials to get you going
Even though the official documentation might be lacking, there are many tutorials on YouTube for libGDX.
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 Excellent font rendering support
Very good tools for rendering fonts.
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 Uses the fantastic Lua for scripting
Lua is an embeddable scripting language designed to be lightweight, fast yet powerful. It is used in major titles such as Civilization as well as a lot of indie games.
Lua is very popular because it provides "meta language" features. You can implement object-oriented structures, or pure procedural functions, etc. It has a very simple C interface, and gives the engine developer a lot of flexibility in the language itself.
Artists tend to love Lua too because it's very approachable, with plain and forgiving syntax.
Lua is free open-source software, distributed under a very liberal license (the well-known MIT license).
Pro Active and very friendly community
The LÖVE forums are extremely helpful. With people checking the forums every day, it won't take long to receive answer to your questions on the Support board, receive feedback on games you post in the Projects board, as well as have a chat about the LÖVE engine while learning tricks to use in the very active General board.
If you need an immediate answer though, or just want to chat, there is a very active and helpful IRC channel.
Pro Can develop within Android
It is possible to develop games directly on a tablet or cellphone with the Android system by using the experimental Android branch.
Supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS.
Pro Open source and free
The LÖVE engine is licensed under The zlib/libpng License (which is very short and human readable) which allows you to use the source code and even modify it as long as you do not claim that the original source code is yours.
You can obtain the code at this bitbucket repository and even help fix bugs and participate in the development of LÖVE.
Pro Very good documentation
The LÖVE wiki provides full documentation of its easy to use Modules, which are conveniently located on the side bar of the wiki. It only takes seconds to find the module for love.keyboard, which provided a list of all functions along with arguments and examples where the function could be used.
Pro Many examples and libraries with source code
There are plenty of open source examples of games or components built by the community that are ready to use or learn from.
Pro Easy to understand and use
Lua2D handles loading the resources, reading input, playing sounds and displaying stuff on the screen. Only the logic is left for the developer to write. It also removes the overhead of having to use and learn a GUI game editor. All you need is a knowledge of Lua and your favourite text editor or IDE.
Pro Great for prototyping
You can learn the basics very quickly and start making simple games in no time, even if you have no previous Lua knowledge. If you're a little experienced with LÖVE, you can prototype a 2D game with it in no time.
Pro Very good for education
That is a great tool for teaching novice programmers. Creating a game on LÖVE, you have to think about developing, not about the syntax of the language.
Pro C++ and Lua one of the best languages for gamedev
Because all professionals in gamedev use C++, and Lua the fastest scripting lang.
Con Not starter friendly
Even default applications fail to load in Android. It doesn't have any documentation on errors either.
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 Old OpenGL bindings
Uses old and slow OpenGL ES2.0 bindings.
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 No binary compilation
No way to compile into a binary under Linux. Source code has to be given away.
Con The community seems juvenile
For example, some of the library include names such as HUMP, LUBE, AnAL.
Con Absolutely no GUI (no graphical interface)
This has no graphical interface at all, you have to know how to read script in order to know what you're looking at. After you've written the script for everything, you compile it to see the result. It's a very poor way to create a game, given how even most professional tools out there give you a GUI to work with and debug on the go. The lack of a GUI slows down the work by ten-fold, and it's just an inefficient use of your time.
Con Documentation is very dry and technical
The site has plenty of tutorials, true, but they all read very technical, and explain very little. This might be too much for beginners, even for coding purposes, because of the fact that the specifics aren't explained well enough to learn effectively. The docs can be found frustrating to understand even the basics, such as tables or the like, because of how poorly they are explained, and how few examples are given before expecting you to be able to use them.