When comparing LÖVE vs Defold, the Slant community recommends LÖVE for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” LÖVE is ranked 3rd while Defold is ranked 31st. The most important reason people chose LÖVE is:
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]. : https://www.love2d.org/forums/ : http://webchat.oftc.net/?channels=love
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Cute name
so much love
Pro C++ and Lua one of the best languages for gamedev
Because all professionals in gamedev use C++, and Lua the fastest scripting lang.
Pro Easy to learn
Defold uses Lua, which is regarded as an easy to learn language by most.
Pro Completely free of charge
Software and online dashboard are free of charge.
Pro Good combination of visual editing + code (Lua)
You can do a lot with drag and drop, but you're not limited -- the code (Lua, which is easy to learn) allows you more power than just visual editing usually gives you.
Pro Fast results
Going from idea to result is very important for the creative process.
Pro Easy and fast export for various platforms
Pro Visual editor
Pro Very performant
Being crossplatform it is important to work on low end devices.
You can invite friends from the dashboard and create games together.
Pro Great community
A very active and friendly community in forums.
Pro Hot reload
It allows you to change scripts in a game while it is running live. Common use-cases is to tweak gameplay parameters or to perform debugging on a running game.
Con Not very powerful
The engine has very few modules and only the really required one, you'll have to do almost everything from scratch.
Con The community seems juvenile
For example, some of the library include names such as HUMP, LUBE, AnAL.
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.
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 Google account needed
You need a Google account to develop with Defold.