The Best 12 iMessage Games of 2018

Games that you can play on iOS 10, 11, or 12

Four children sitting on a couch looking at their smartphones

Peter Cade/Getty Images

Apple added a new dimension to text messaging when it introduced iMessage games for iOS 10. Now, there are so many games you can play in iMessage it's hard to determine which ones are worth your time. That's why we've put together this list of the best iMessage games of 2018.

All iMessage games are turned based so you and your friends can play at your leisure. Some of the games below are iMessage exclusives, while others can also be played outside of the app. Before diving into the list, let's learn how to play games on iMessage.

How to Get iMessage Games

The interface for the new iOS 12 is slightly different than its predecessors, but the instructions below are basically the same for iOS 10 and up. Older versions of iOS cannot support iMessage games.

To open the App Store within iMessage:

  1. Create a new conversation.
  2. Tap the Apps icon located next to the iMessage text box.
  3. From the Apps menu, tap the Grid icon in the bottom-left of the screen.
  4. Tap the Store icon. It should be the first option.
  5. You should see a selection of apps, games, and stickers compatible with iMessage. Use the search feature to find the game you're looking for and tap Get to install it.

How to Play iMessage Games

After downloading your game of choice, it'll be added to the end of your apps list. To challenge your friends within iMessage:

  1. Enter a conversation with the person you want to play with.
  2. Tap the Apps icon located next to the iMessage text box.
  3. From the Apps menu, tap the Grid icon in the bottom-left of the screen.
  4. Scroll through your apps to find the game you want to play and tap it.
  5. Tap Create Game.

You can start playing right away. When your turn is finished, your friend will get a message letting them know it's their turn.

Screenshot of the Game Pigeon app for iMessage

Game Pigeon packs over a dozen classic games into one app. Challenge your friends to a friendly bout of Checkers, Poker, Gomoku, or Battleship via iMessage. Game Pigeon runs on iOS 10 and up. Best of all, it's free to download.

What We Like:

  • The fullscreen mode allows you to adjust the sound and music settings to your liking.

What We Don't Like:

  • There are better versions of the individual games available as separate apps.
Screenshot of the Wordie app for iMessage

Wordie is a free word-trivia game similar to Pictionary. Players are presented with a jumble of letters and four pictures that serve as hints for the mystery word. Create groups of up to 40 players and sync your game across all of your other Apple devices.

What We Like:

  • The app comes with 600 built-in challenges
  • You can also create custom levels by adding your own images.

What We Don't Like:

  • The social media features are a little excessive, but you don't have to use them.
Screenshot of Cobi Hoops for iMessage

If you feel like shooting hoops with your bros, Cobi Hoops lets you play some serious b-ball without breaking a sweat. In this free game, players compete to see how many baskets they can make in 30-second rounds. Take advantage of trick shots to raise your score and unlock new challenge modes.

What We Like:

  • Thanks to outstanding pixel art, every character looks unique.
  • The newer Cobi Hoops 2 is even more impressive.

What We Don't Like:

  • The game doesn't quite feel competitive since there's no way to block your opponent's shots.
Screenshot of the Let's Puck It! app for iMessage

Let’s Puck It! puts an interesting spin on an old American pastime by encouraging players to wager bets. You can choose from a list of options like "loser buys dinner," or you can make up your own stakes. Be careful what you wager because the pace of the puck increases with every volley.

What We Like:

  • Let’s Puck It! provides a more exciting way to settle disputes than just flipping a coin.
  • It's also free, so it's also cheaper than flipping a coin.

What We Don't Like:

  • As with Cobi Hoops, players compete against the AI separately rather than facing each other directly, so it's not really a 1-on-1 competition.
Screenshot of the Boggle With Friends app for iMessage

If you've never played Boggle, it's a board game that gives players two minutes to spell as many words as possible from a collection of random letters. It's basically a fast-paced version of Scrabble. Download the Boggle With Friends app to practice on your own, then challenge your friends in iMessage.

What We Like:

  • Multiple gameplay modes and live tournaments make Boggle fun to play alone or with others.

What We Don't Like:

  • Boggle is free to play in iMessage, but you'll have to pay to participate in tournaments.
Screenshot of the Mr. Putt app for iMessage

Made by a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Mr. Putt has become the most popular mini-golf app you can play on iMessage. Although the game definitely puts up a challenge, sleek graphics and fluid controls keep things from getting too frustrating. Mr. Putt is free to play and exclusively for iMessage.

What We Like:

  • Each course has a unique graphical theme that keeps gameplay interesting.

What We Don't Like:

  • While the courses look great, there are only four of them, so you'll play through them all pretty fast.
Screenshot of the Truth Truth Lie app for iMessage

Two Truths and a Lie is a game people play in groups to get to know each other better. Each player makes three statements about themselves, and everyone else has to guess which statement is false. The Truth Truth Lie app brings this classic icebreaker to iMessage so you can learn more about people from all over the world. 

What We Like:

  • There's a text-only mode if you don't feel like recording videos.

What We Don't Like:

  • You don't really need an app to play Two Truths and a Lie, so you can skip this free app if you're tight on data storage. 
Screenshot of Simple Trivia for iMessage

Simple Trivia will test your knowledge of history, science, and pop culture. In this free game, players take turns answering multiple-choice questions from six different categories to see who is most well informed. You only have ten seconds to answer, so Siri and Alexa won't be of much help. 

What We Like:

  • New questions are constantly being added.
  • The latest update contains 600 sports-related questions.

What We Don't Like:

  • There are a lot of sports questions, which puts non-sports fans at a disadvantage.
Screenshot of Unicorn Jump for iMessage

Unicorn Jump is an unabashed rip-off of Flappy Bird, but it's much more whimsical because you play as a floating unicorn. A pegasus would make more sense considering they have wings, but that's part of the game's charm. Find out who is better at bouncing their way through hurdles of sewage pipes. 

What We Like:

  • The free iMessage version of Unicorn Jump adds a competitive element to a classic game. 

What We Don't Like:

  • If you don't like Flappy Bird, this game definitely isn't for you.
Screenshot of Checkmate! for iMessage

Although Game Pigeon features a version of Chess, Checkmate! offers a far superior experience. For just $0.99, you can chat as you play and even carry on multiple games at once. There's no timer between turns, so you can take as long as you need to think about your next move.

What We Like:

  • You can sync your game across multiple devices so you can switch between playing on your iPhone or iPad.

What We Don't Like:

  • The graphical interface is pretty bare bones, but it's Chess, so there's no need for flashy graphics.
Screenshot of the WIT Puzzles app for iMessage

WIT Puzzles turns your photos into slide puzzles for your friends to unscramble. The app keeps track of how many moves players take to put all the pieces in the right place. In addition to iMessage, WIT Puzzles is also available for WhatsApp and Facebook.

What We Like:

  • This app makes sending and receiving photos via iMessage much more exciting. 

What We Don't Like:

  • WIT Puzzles isn't really a game but rather an app that lets you create your own challenges. Still, it can be a lot of fun to experiment with.
Screenshot of Bubble Bop for iMessage

Bubble Bop may look like just another knock-off of the arcade hit Bust-a-Move, but that's because it is. Nonetheless, anyone who has played Candy Crush or anything similar will immediately know what to do: Match up balloons of the same color to pop them before they fill up the screen. 

What We Like:

  • Obstacles and power-ups add an extra element of strategy to gameplay.
  • Bubble Bop is both fun and free, so it's worth a download.

What We Don't Like:

  • Like many games on this list, Bubble Bop is unapologetically unoriginal.