Smack In the Face

I’m trying to create an impact effect, For instance when a character gets smacked I want a small yellow star shaped flash of light to appear next to the player. What would be the simplest and quickest way be to implement this using a texture?

I was thinking of creating an instance for the brief moment of impact but that seems like a waste.

Particles are definitely designed to do this. :) Use the Emitters Emit property and maybe its One Shot property in conjunction with the Animator's AutoDestruct property. (Set all those to true). Then set the emitters Min and Max energy to 1 each, so that at any one time, there can only be 1 particle.

Then, when you instantiate this system, it should spawn one particle, which you could then give a material that has the desired texture. When that particle is killed, the system Destroys itself, so essentially, it becomes a "fire and forget" system.

This is also the approach recommended by Unity for creating an explosion when an oildrum is fired on, see under "Destroying GameObjects attached to Particles".

Why don’t you try with a particle system?
Look at this:

You just want a single star, but the effect is the same, isn’t it?