How to Do Android Game Testing

Mobile Game Testing Techniques

Seventy-four cents of every dollar in the app stores come from games. There are around 2.5 billion gamers in the world, and 45% of them are android gamers. If maintaining high standards of product quality sounds too abstract, think of quality as an effective way to improve user acquisition and monetization.

Android game testing is a bit different from app testing in general. With applications, it is enough to verify they are easy to use and supported by various devices. Games are more challenging to check, as they encourage users to act unpredictably and often offer more user scenarios.

What to Test?

Let’s start with the android game testing checklist. It features the essential parts of game functionality that might not be a priority for other types of android mobile apps.

1. Gameplay & logic

By playing a game like regular users, QA engineers can determine gaps in logic, find non-useful features, check different levels and their difficulty, etc. Sometimes there are walls and floors located in the wrong places, incorrect maps, other collisions you need to fix, characters not able to walk, jump or use weapons, etc.

2. Graphics

Graphic bugs include irregular texture, distorted images, and other glitches. Sometimes graphical bugs are frustrating or misleading, but they can also make a game impossible to play.

3. Functionality

It is essential to check different playing modes, character statuses, and features. A saving glitch is one of the widespread and problematic issues. The save option might not work or be absent at all, so players just lose progress.

4. Sound

Music creates the effect of user presence, and that makes games different from the majority of other apps. A mismatch of sound and picture ruins the atmosphere. Misplaced voice commands are confusing. And if a default device language doesn’t match the one set within game settings, it’s just some abracadabra you hear.

5. Texts

Captions are sometimes misplaced or don’t appear on the screen at all. The lack of directions doesn’t let a player move forward. When texts appear in a language a user doesn’t understand, the effect is pretty much the same.

6. Multiplayer Mode

Many of the popular games are multiplayer (Mario Kart Tour, NBA Jam, Fortnite, Minecraft, etc.). The multiplayer mode became valued even more during the lockdown when gaming became one of the few forms of socialization allowed. This trend will stick, at least for a while, so it’s better to let users compete online without problems.

7. Social Media Integrations

Hyper-casual games often go viral thanks to in-app social media buttons and the invite feature. People who don’t consider themselves gamers can spend hours playing Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja. Sharing every record on Facebook is a way to showcase the achievements and attract new players as well. Properly working social media integrations are a win-win.

Android Game Testing Techniques

  • Integrate manual and automated testing. While automation testing services cover a large part of core functionalities, a manual QA engineer can focus on more creative tasks.
  • Decision table based testing. Use this technique for functions that respond to a different combination of inputs. For example, a character can open a door that leads to the next level only after collecting all items or gaining a minimally required score.
  • Ad hoc testing. It is unplanned testing of random features without test cases or documents. Ad hoc testing relies on error guessing. QA engineers apply their previous experience to predict where bugs can appear.
  • Risk-based testing. To find critical errors at the initial stage and reduce fixing costs, a QA team prioritizes functionalities according to the level to which they are error-prone.
  • Functionality testing. It is a black-box testing technique meant to identify any kind of bugs and errors that affect user experience by mimicking a user flow.
  • Playtesting. It is a kind of beta test for android games that focuses more on emotional factors than facts. Playtesting is a way to estimate non-functional aspects, like difficulty level, fun, etc. It isn’t a priority but still a useful approach.

Android Game Testing Tools

Every QA company uses a different set of tools to automate android game testing. Some of the most popular and frequently used ones are:

  • Appium is a free cross-platform tool for Android
  • Selendroid is a framework for UI testing on Android apps (native and hybrid) and mobile web.
  • Calabash is a collection of libraries for test-code and app interaction.
  • Ranorex Studio — an all-in-one solution for android app testing.
  • Kobiton — tests across all platforms without script modification.
  • UI Automator — an open-source framework for Android.

Real Devices, Emulators, Simulators

Compatibility testing implies using a wide range of smartphone models. It is not necessary to have a physical device to inspect the game app behavior. Android game testing companies often use emulators and simulators — an effective alternative that may come with some downsides.

Real devices are actual phone models used for testing. They provide highly accurate results, but a rather high cost is a disadvantage. You can test push notifications, geolocation, and sensors only on real devices.

Emulators mimic the software and hardware of a particular device. Many of them are open-source tools. However, emulators are slow and incompatible with some OS or app elements. They cannot reproduce features, like camera specifications and graphics, correctly.

Simulators mimic only software behavior. Thus, they don’t consider CPU and battery usage, cellular interrupts, etc. and provide incomplete data that may be difficult to analyze.

Virtual devices are helpful during the initial stages of development. They can’t replicate real user conditions but are great for debugging. Real smartphones are faster and provide accurate results, but they aren’t always cost-efficient. For effective game testing, a QA team should find the right combination of real and virtual devices.

The Difference in Testing iOS and Android Games

There are some differences between iOS and Android game testing caused by the specific features of each platform. Testing types, techniques, and checklist for both OS remain common, but those differences influence the scope of work and capacity planning. Here are the core points to keep in mind:

  • There are fewer iOS versions, so it takes less time to test an app. New smartphones don’t always come with a new OS version, unlike Apple devices.
  • Apple creates software for its specific hardware. Android manufacturers can customize OS versions for their shells.
  • Android devices come in more screen sizes, resolutions, and layouts. As a result, they come with more potential bugs.
  • Apple guarantees simultaneous and rather frequent updates. Android updates take more time, which differs depending on a smartphone manufacturer.
  • apps are available only at the official Apple Store. Android apps are available at the Google Play Store and other websites. Both undergo a review from official distribution platforms, but Apple takes it more seriously.

Bottom Line

Android Mobile game testing is essential and different from app testing in general. Tech companies that don’t have an opportunity to assemble an in-house android mobile QA team and leave testing tasks for developers risk to end up with some serious gaps in quality. The efficacy of testing depends on the experience and a list of devices available. If the company lacks either, it is better to use QA outsource than rely on limited resources.