A brief guide to Unity alternatives, from Unreal to Godot and beyond


Many mobile game developers are looking into alternative engines right now after Unity announced its wildly controversial Runtime Fee policy.

And while Unity looks likely to back down in the next few days, that won’t stop many mobile game developers switching over anyway.

Homa’s Zvi Mehlman has been researching this topic for several years, and also previously worked in senior roles at Unity’s Supersonic label and Playtika. Here, he offers his thoughts on the pros and cons of each Unity alternative.

“When choosing an alternative to Unity, consider your project’s scope, your team’s expertise, and your desired platforms,” Mehlman told us. “Each engine has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to match your specific needs and preferences to the engine’s capabilities.”

Unreal Engine

– High-quality graphics and photorealistic rendering capabilities
– Powerful visual scripting system called Blueprints
– Strong community and extensive documentation
– Free to use with royalties applied to commercial projects only
– Excellent for AAA game development and immersive experiences

– Steeper learning curve compared to some other engines
– Requires a more powerful computer for development
– Royalty fees for commercial projects can be substantial if your game is highly successful

Godot Engine

– Open-source and free to use with no royalties
– Easy-to-learn GDScript language (similar to Python)
– Visual scene editor with a node-based system
– Great for 2D and 3D game development
– Lightweight and suitable for small to medium-sized projects

– Smaller community compared to Unity or Unreal
– Limited third-party asset store compared to Unity
– May lack some advanced graphical features found in Unity or Unreal


– Advanced graphics and rendering capabilities
– High-quality visuals and realistic environments
– Strong support for VR and AR development
– Suitable for both 2D and 3D games

– Requires a more powerful computer for development
– Smaller community compared to Unity and Unreal
– Royalty fees can be significant for commercial projects


– Integrates seamlessly with AWS cloud services
– Supports multiplayer and online features out of the box
– Free to use with no royalties
– Strong for creating multiplayer online games

– Limited documentation and a smaller community
– May not be as user-friendly as Unity or Godot
– AWS integration may be overwhelming for beginners

GameMaker Studio

– User-friendly drag-and-drop interface
– Suitable for 2D game development, especially for beginners
– Offers both a free version and affordable paid versions

– Limited for complex 3D game development
– Limited support for large-scale projects
– Less flexibility compared to more advanced engines


– Open-source HTML5 game framework for web and mobile
– Ideal for 2D game development, especially in the browser
– Strong community and extensive online resources

– Primarily focused on 2D web-based games
– Not as suitable for 3D game development
– Requires knowledge of JavaScript


– Open-source framework for 2D game development
– Supports multiple scripting languages (C++, Lua, JavaScript)
– Popular for mobile game development, especially in Asia

– Learning curve for beginners, particularly with C++
– May not offer as many built-in features as Unity


– Open-source 3D game engine and framework
– Supports Python scripting, making it accessible to developers
– Ideal for 3D and 2D game development

– Smaller community compared to some other engines
– Limited visual scripting compared to engines like Unreal

Torque 3D

– Open-source 3D game engine
– Uses TorqueScript, which is easier to learn than some other languages
– Suitable for both 3D and 2D game development

– Smaller community and less documentation
– May not be as feature-rich as Unity or Unreal

Blender Game Engine

– Integrated with the Blender 3D modelling and animation software
– Uses Python scripting, which is beginner-friendly
– Suitable for smaller projects and prototyping

– Discontinued since Blender 2.8; no longer actively developed
– Not suitable for larger or more complex games
– Limited to 3D game development within Blender


For anyone that has somehow missed it: Unity caused uproar last week with its plans to introduce a pay-per-install policy effective January 2024.

We later learned that behind the scenes Unity account managers have been offering developers a waiver on the Runtime Fee if they switched to Unity’s own LevelPlay ad products. Developers we spoke to suggested Unity simply wants to “kill Applovin” by leveraging its game engine in this way.

On Friday, a group of developers kicked off a Unity boycott in which they switched off all Unity ad products in protest. The group hoped to force Unity into retracting the Runtime Fee proposals.

Rival AppLovin even joined the debate with CEO Adam Foroughi writing a public letter saying that Unity should “retract” the Runtime Fee “and shift to transparent price increases”.

“Don’t make this about advertising,” said Foroughi. “Don’t make this an attack on indies. Go back and rethink the choices you’ve made.”

Unity appeared to relent on Sunday, with a statement on Twitter that apologised for the “confusion and angst” caused by the Runtime Fee announcement. It said it would be offering an update on its policies in the next few days.

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