When comparing Corona SDK vs GameFlow + Unity, the Slant community recommends Corona SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best game engines for beginners and non-programmers?” Corona SDK is ranked 12th while GameFlow + Unity is ranked 21st.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very simple to use
Corona SDK is completely free as of March 2, 2015. That includes pro-tier plugins.
Pro Lua syntax
Uses the great and easy-to-learn Lua programming language.
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 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 Good documentation and lots of tutorials
Pro Cross-platform desktop and mobile
Corona works on OS X, Windows and Android (including Kindle Fire & Nook).
Pro Great community
Pro Ability to call any native (C/C++/Obj-C/Java) library
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 Content scaling
It's easy to create a game that looks good on many different sized mobile devices.
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 Well supported
Pro Adds an abstraction layer that helps create the game logic
It is almost like talking with Unity naturally. Actions in Unity can be coded using regular English more-so than with other game engines, which makes it much easier for beginners.
Pro None of boxes and arrows, perfectly integrated into the workflow of Unity
Almost all visual scripting solutions for Unity are based on nodes, boxes and arrows, GameFlow changes this way of working incorporating actions blocks and actions using drag and drop.
Pro Integrated in the Unity inspector
No windows apart, work with GameFlow from the own Unity inspector
Pro Excellent product
The developer supports the users quickly and with detailed responses. He is knowledgeable on the Unity API as well as developing videogames.
Pro Can achieve in minutes what would take hours with classical scripting
Due to its innovative block system and without follow tutorials or look documentation will be able to create actions within five minutes in Unity.
Pro An effective advanced prototyping and scripting tool
GameFlow allows to complete a videogame in half an hour.
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 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 conventional plugins as a reference to AdMob for example, cost $300 per year!
Con The documentation is not very extensive
The documentation for GameFlow could use some work. It's not very extensive and it hardly covers everything needed to know to build a game.
Con Performance could be better for 2D
Performance can be a real issue with 2D games. Unity 3D is actually a 3D game engine, and drags a lot of overhead with it.
For mobile, one could never achieve the performance of more specialized 2D engines with Unity3D.