When comparing Corona SDK vs Unity 2D, the Slant community recommends Corona SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Corona SDK is ranked 28th while Unity 2D is ranked 30th.
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 Sprite Sheet and Bone based animation supported
Both types of 2D animation for game development are supported in Unity’s system and can be used interchangeably in the timeline.
Pro Built into Unity 4.3+
2D game creation was a major feature request from the Unity community and was added with version 4.3. 2D is provided in both the Pro and Free distribution of Unity.
Pro Integrates with Mecanim
Mecanim brings state machines and blending to 2D bone animation. The state machine editor allows for designers and programmers to visually create a Finite State Machine (FSM) to control when animations should play. Mecanim also allows for blending so an animation can transition smoothly between two states without the need of in between frames made by an animator.
Pro Easily change sprites dynamically
Usually used for character customization, programmers can change any sprite in a bone animation at runtime easily by referencing the bone and loading the new sprite from the resources folder.
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 Lacks critical features
- Vertices can't be animated, so you can't have ANY organic feel (like... lungs breathing).
- Parent bone can't be animated without affecting the children. This is especially impeding for organic feel, again.
- No option to show & unshow assets (or it is hidden), like for switching weapon on your character for exemple.
Con Poor script interface for texture atlases
Accessing individual sprites within an atlas texture is possible at runtime, but requires use of the Resources folder subsystem.