When comparing Corona SDK vs GameSalad, the Slant community recommends Corona SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Corona SDK is ranked 27th while GameSalad is ranked 55th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very simple to use
Corona SDK is completely free. That includes pro-tier plugins.
Pro Corona Simulator
Corona SDK ships with Corona Simulator, which runs your game/app directly on your PC/Mac and updates every time you make changes.
It provides immediate feedback to your actions, you can see your changes right on the screen, without necessity to make build to device. Getting instant feedback really boosts tenfold prototyping and development speed.
Pro Lua syntax
Uses the great and easy-to-learn Lua programming language.
Pro Good documentation and lots of tutorials
Pro Very comprehensive API
It's very quick to get things up and running with Corona SDK. The API is extensive and while it's not 100% feature-complete with the iOS API, it's close enough that you could create tons of games and never run into a roadblock.
The API docs can be found here.
Pro Amazing learning curve
Corona does not throw photoshop-like madness full of buttons editor. You can go as fast as you want, learning and building game from ground up. Eventually, you'll learn how much corona is doing for you. But to start you don't have to master complex editor software. It's a great tool to learn to start game development if you want to learn how to program and make games. Your experience will be 100% transferable to any other Pro game engine.
Pro Cross-platform desktop and mobile
Corona works on OS X, Windows and Android (including Kindle Fire & Nook).
Pro Live builds - update builds running on a device automatically
With the live build feature, once you have created a build and installed on a device, you get lightning fast turnaround times because any change on the code or data is updated to the devices running the game (within the local WiFi) immediately. So changes can be tested on the real hardware within a very few seconds.
What's even more impressive, this even works flawless with multiple devices running the game. You have to use it to learn how good of a feature this is while development and even more, while doing QA. Imagine fixing bugs and everyone of your QA team/friends/whoever helps to get your game done, has all changes on his device without doing anything but waiting 5 seconds - outstanding.
Pro Content scaling
It's easy to create a game that looks good on many different sized mobile devices.
Pro Marketplace for 3rd party plug-ins
Pro Great community
Pro Ability to call any native (C/C++/Obj-C/Java) library
Pro Well supported
Pro No-code editor
Pro Has a Windows(.exe) version on par with Mac
The Windows version is now upto date with all the features of its Mac sibling.
Pro Multiple publishing platforms
Can create and publish games for iOS, Macintosh desktop and laptop computers, Android, Kindle, Amazon FireTV and FireTV Stick, Windows 8 and Tizen devices.
Pro Gamepad support
Gamepad support is available as of 0.13.3.
Pro Free standalone viewer app allows instant, live mobile device testing
The GameSalad Viewer is a free app available for iOS, Android and Kindle. Once installed on your mobile devices, you can deploy and test your GameSalad games live on any mobile device running the Viewer that is on the same local network as your dev computer.
This even allows Windows users to test their games on iOS devices without a Mac device and without any complicated code signing or provisioning profiles.
And, you can even take your games with you -- once loaded onto your mobile device, a history option caches recent games on your device without any connection to the dev computer.
Pro Allows you to focus on the logic rather than code
Since the user mainly uses menu options there is very little code needed to be keyed in. This makes the code very easy to read and understand.
Hence there are many help videos on youtube
Pro Extensive community of seasoned professionals for support
Extensive community of seasoned professionals in all disciplines (graphics, game design, animation, physics, music, video production, marketing, etc.) producing tutorials, videos, publishing tips, free templates and who are willing to answer forum questions and help newcomers.
Pro Powerful expression editor and functions
Allows you to create expressions on par with LUA (it's back end-language).
Pro Custom collision shapes with JSON support
Allows you to import JSON data for custom collision shapes to use with Gamesalad's implementation of Box2d physics.
Pro Easy to publish
Software prepares your app so you can just send it to Apple. All my games are reviewed with no problems.
Pro Drag and drop editor
The drag and drop editor makes GameSalad very easy to use, no programming experience needed.
Pro Great engine
Very quick to learn and great for making games. Community is very open and helpful.
Con Closed source
Since you don't have access to the code, you can't make changes to the SDK. You even have to implement workarounds on issues that have long been reported, but never fixed.
Con Free, but not completely
Such important plugins like AdMob cost $300 per year!
Con Making a device build requires internet connection
To build your app for the device (iOS/Android/AppleTV) Corona requires to fetch resources from online. This would include base application template and plugins. This allows not to perform local build or use Xcode or Android Studio to do a build. Even Large games/apps would build very fast with good internet connection.
Your code never leaves computed. Corona SDK would transfer some information to determine which plugins and pieces has to be transferred in order to make a final steps in build.
As a bonus - you get basically one button press to get from your Corona Simulator game to game on a device.
Con Poor editor performance
Especially when you're working on a big project.
Con No scripting language or SDK
If a needed behavior is not supplied by GameSalad, there's no way to add it.
Con Product is suffering - Lacking company leadership and no voice from corporate
Some customers are currently in a holding pattern from the lack of support and messaging from GS corporate. GS is currently unstable and developers are waiting for another update that has been going on from 2015.
No word or message from GS corporate about timeframes or deliverables.
You can read the ongoing discussion here.
Con Product is in Limbo - company is lacking developers
Con Expensive compare with others
There is no free version any more and it is very expensive compared with other engines.
Con Doesn't support Windows platform (*.exe)
Doesn't support Windows platform (*.exe)
Con Bad editor
There is no scene zoom, search boxes, or snap to grid. There is also no ability to focus view on the actor or use folders for file structure.