Big List of Mac and iOS Game Engines

iDevGames Jan 11, 2013

Below you will find a list of the biggest and most popular game engines/SDKs/libraries/toolkits for creating games for either Mac OS X or iOS. Many also create games for other platforms as well.


Without question, Unity is the most popular full-featured 3d game engine among indie developers for OS X and iOS. Not only does it create Mac and iOS games (and every other platform), but the full suite of tools are available on the Mac as well.

  • Full 3d and 2d support
  • Fully integrated editors
  • Advanced rendering
  • Built-in terrain, materials, AI, networking, effects, animation
  • Builds for: Mac OS X, iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Web
  • Much much more. — Free with Pro versions

Unreal Development Kit

Among AAA game studios, Unreal Engine is the most widely licensed game engine and is certainly a contender for the best game engine available. What’s amazing is that any indie game developer can get nearly the full power of the Unreal Engine for free. Yes, free. The only caveat for Mac and iOS developers is that tools are all Windows-only, but it does build games for all Apple platforms.

  • Nearly the full feature set of Unreal Engine 3 without C++. (All coding must be done in UnrealScript.)
  • Has every feature you could possibly imagine.
  • Half of all AAA games you’ve heard of were probably made with it.
  • Builds for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android

Unreal Development Kit — Free with Licensing


Torque3D from GarageGames is a free and open source 3d game engine. It’s multi-platform (Windows, and Linux), but currently does not have full OS X support due to its tortured history of being split into multiple products and reassembled. Due to its partial compatibility and recent open sourcing, it may yet again be fully compatible.

  • OpenGL and Direct3D
  • Integrated editors
  • Real-time networking architecture

Torque3D — Free and Open Source


Unlike it’s bigger brother, Torque2D runs full-featured on OS X. At the time of this writing, Torque2D is also going fully free and open source, however it’s also going through a major overhaul adding great new features like Box2D physics, easy integrated real-time networking, and the merging of iTorque which adds iOS deployment capabilities.

  • Built-in editors for free-form object placement, sprite animation, tile maps, assets, particle effects and more.
  • Supports C++ and TorqueScript coding.
  • Custom behaviors

Torque2D — Free and Open Source


Cocos2d (technically called cocos2d-iphone though not it’s not technically for the iPhone only), is an Objective-C framework for 2D games. Due to it’s relative easy of use and features, it’s become the most popular 2d game development framework for the iPhone and iPad. Cocos2d-iphone can also be used to create games for OS X. The fact that it’s so popular and has a bunch of online tutorials and books available make it a good choice for 2D games.

  • 2d game dev framework
  • Uses OpenGL ES underneath
  • Tile maps (ortho, hexagonal, and isometric)
  • Free-form scene capabilities
  • Integration with Box2D or Chipmunk physics
  • Transitions, ripple effects etc
  • Particle effect system
  • Third party tools for editing particle effects
  • Big community

Cocos2d — Free and Open Source


Kobold2D takes Cocos2d to the next level, by adding OpenAL for audio, Lua scripting, and many other extensions on top of the existing cocos2d codebase. This means you can apply everything you’ve already learned and done with cocos2d directly to Kobold.

  • Adds on to Cocos2d
  • Lua scripting
  • OpenAL
  • Obj-C ARC-ready
  • Numerous template projects

Kobold2D — Free with Premium Content


Claimed to be the best solution for cross-platform mobile apps, CoronaSDK is designed for more than just games. The standard version of CoronaSDK allows development only using Lua scripting with the Corona API, while Corona Enterprise allows you to call any Objective-C or Java library from within Corona.

  • 2d games
  • OpenGL graphics
  • OpenAL audio
  • Box2D physics
  • Lua scripting
  • Builds for iOS, AndroidKindle, and Nook

CoronaSDK — $199 per platform


GameSalad is a multiplatform “game creator.” Unlike game engines or frameworks, as a game creator, GameSalad requires no programming to create games, which makes a good first tool for creative kids interested in computers, and for artists who can’t write a line of code to save their lives.

  • 2D games only
  • Builds for Mac, iOS, Android, Windows, Nook, Kindle, and the Web
  • No programming required
  • All-visual drag and drop based editing

GameSalad — Free with Pro version

GameMaker Studio

GameMaker has been a game creator tool servicing game developers since 1999. By using the GameMaker Language (GML) together with the integrated editors for handling fonts, images, sounds, and music, GameMaker claims time savings of up to 80% when compared to using native languages for game development.

  • Creates 2d games
  • Integrated editors
  • GML Scripting Language
  • SCM Integration
  • Builds for OS X, iOS, Android, Windows,
  • IDE is currently on Windows only

GameMaker — Free and Paid Versions

uDevGames 2011

Convergence — Best Gameplay
Kung Fu Killforce — Best Overall Game, Best Audio, Best Presentation
Flying Sweeden — Best Graphics, Most Original
Time Goat — Best Story