Candywriter came up with quite the hit in BitLife, as this life simulation game has become a huge hit among mobile gamers. The company has basically redefined life simulators for mobile devices with this game, and that’s because of all the different choices you’ll have to make while controlling your virtual characters, or “Bitizens,” as the game calls them. But it’s more than just making the right (or wrong) choices here, as you’ll also have to deal with the game’s randomness in terms of your characters’ attributes – will they grow up to become smart or stupid, good-looking or ugly, or will their childhoods be happy or traumatic? Those random factors will certainly come into play, but at the end of the day, the choices are all yours.
While version 1.20 of BitLife was sort of a general update that added new features across the board, Candywriter has focused on one thing for version 1.21, and that’s prison life. As is often the case, you may want to get adventurous and turn your Bitizen into a career criminal, especially if you’re gunning for a specific ribbon such as Rowdy, Thief, Jailbird, or Deadly. However, the options were kind of limited when it came to hard time, which is why Candywriter has added a plethora of prison-centric features with the new update. Join us as we take a look at all the new features that’s included in the BitLife prison update, such as prison jobs, prison riot mini-game, bribing guards, joining gangs, interacting with other inmates plus many more. In addition, we will also list all the new features geared toward Bitizens who’d rather make an honest living in the game’s virtual world.
BitLife Prison Update: An Overview
Prior to the version 1.21 update, BitLife’s prison interactions were limited to the options of starting a riot (with no guarantee that it will work), escaping from jail (and hoping against hope that the escape mini-game would actually be winnable), and appealing your sentence for at least a few hundred dollars. If you consider the fact that riots oftentimes fail (and if they work, could often lengthen your sentence), most escape scenarios are impossible, and most appeal attempts don’t work out like they should, you’re essentially doomed once you end up in jail. But more importantly, the pre-update version of jail in BitLife missed out on a lot of facets of real-world prison life.
With the new “prison life” update, the game will now allow you to do a much wider variety of things while in the slammer. These include interacting with other inmates, joining gangs for protection, offering bribes to guards, arranging conjugal visits with or sending letters to your loved ones, getting prison jobs, working out in the prison yard, and a lot more. In addition, Candywriter has introduced a new mini-game that takes away a great deal of the randomness of prison riots, new puzzles for the prison escape min-game, and now allows criminals to be sentenced to death for particularly heinous crimes. (Characters who turn into serial killers, for one, are almost sure to get a death sentence once finally captured.)
For this strategy guide, we shall be going through all the new prison features added to the game, as well as the other in-game changes of note that have been added with version 1.21. And as a bonus tip, Candywriter also released a version 1.21.1 a few days ago that squashes some of the bugs that were reported when 1.21 rolled out, so make sure to update the game to this newer version, even if you already installed version 1.21 upon its release!
Getting A Job Behind Bars
Prior to the arrival of version 1.21, imprisoned Bitizens had no choice but to get fired from their jobs and spend the rest of their jail sentence making zero income and watching their wealth dwindle as their sentence progresses.
But one of the main changes introduced in the new update allows you to apply for a job while incarcerated, thus allowing you to earn some money while hopefully staying away from trouble. You can work as a library assistant, laundry attendant, sanitation worker, craft worker, call center agent, or more – you may be doing time for whatever crime your character may have committed, but you don’t have to keep tapping on the big green button to move one year forward if you’re trying to keep your nose clean and not interested in any funny business!
Just to set your expectations, your income from prison jobs will be considerably less than even the most menial part-time jobs available on the outside – all of the jobs we’ve seen so far pay only $2 or $3 per hour. But the good thing here is that you can take home the money you’ve earned once your sentence is up – it won’t be much, but at least it’s better than nothing.
To Bribe Or Not To Bribe?
Bribing is one of the many new jail-related features available in BitLife’s latest update, and the premise here is that you’ll be paying the guards several thousand dollars (in most cases) in exchange for a few years of protection. That means you can unsuccessfully attempt to escape from jail or successfully start a riot but not get any extra years added to your sentence – this doesn’t necessarily ensure 100 percent success in the escape mini-game or guarantee successful riots, however! It’s merely a risk you need to take in order to get away with more shenanigans while behind bars, but not a get-out-of-jail card, in other words.
What happens if your bribe attempt is unsuccessful? As we’ve noticed, guards are willing to talk about bribes about half of the time (or slightly less) the first time you ask. However, if you change your mind/can’t afford their price, don’t expect them to be open to discuss the topic the next time you get “Machiavellian thoughts,” as the game describes them. Also, the more you try to bribe the guards, the more they are likely to add more years to your sentence as a punishment for trying to pay them off!
To sum things up, only attempt to pay off the guards if you’ve got at least $15,000 in your bank account, and remember that it will be difficult if you decide at the last moment that $10,000 or so for a few years of protection is too much. Also remember what you can and cannot do while being afforded this “protection”!
Interacting With Other Inmates – The Prison Yard
Being imprisoned in BitLife is no longer an experience that doesn’t come with any opportunities to socialize. You can interact with other prisoners by choosing the Prison Yard option and tapping any one of the profiles of the dozen or so inmates you’re locked up with. You’ll be able to view the following information on their profiles – their names/aliases (aliases would be more like it), their crimes, their gangs (if any), and three basic stats, namely Craziness, Size, and Respect. Craziness refers to the likelihood that they may do something violent or unpredictable (either to you or in prison, in general), Size typically determines whether they’d be pushovers in a fight or someone who could literally rip you apart (the bigger, the stronger, we guess), and Respect could encompass several things – how many friends they’ve made, how much fear they’ve sowed, how they rank in the hierarchy of the prison you’re incarcerated in.
Once you’ve tapped on a prisoner’s profile and viewed their stats, you can interact with them in four different ways – you could mess with them, insult them, attack them, or give them a compliment. Mess and Insult are pretty similar actions, as you’re essentially taunting your fellow inmate, though the “Mess” action represents more of an attempt to get them down a notch in the prison hierarchy in terms of respect. If you’ve just been thrown into the slammer or are a member of a particularly weak gang, don’t expect good results if you try to Mess with or Insult any given inmate! Lunge/Rumble/etc. is pretty much guaranteed to end up in a fight between your character and the NPC inmate, which means you’ll only want to consider this option if your Health is particularly high (say, above 75 percent) and the person you’re targeting isn’t too big in terms of Size and has a red or orange Craziness bar.
Compliment is probably the most interesting option, and unlike how it is on the outside, it is NOT guaranteed to help you establish friendships in jail! In fact, some inmates may actually feel insulted by the compliment and react by assaulting your character, especially if you’re a prison newbie.
Fortunately, there’s a way for you to view your own prison-specific stats, and that’s by heading to the Prison menu and tapping on Sentence – your Behavior and Respect stats are visible there, and the bars for each stat will fill up as you keep doing more crazy things in jail, with each stat inversely related to the other – stay well-behaved and the Behavior bar fills up while Respect goes down, get into more fights/try to start more riots/etc. and Behavior will go down while Respect goes up.
All things considered, we recommend treading lightly in terms of Prison Yard interactions unless you happen to be part of a more powerful gang or are dealing with someone who’s red or orange (preferably the former) in terms of Craziness and Size. Now which gangs should you join, and what’s in it for you when you’re part of one?
Which Gang Should You Join?
There are close to a dozen gangs which you can join once you get incarcerated in BitLife, and fortunately, the gang names, in most cases, tell you all there is to know about them, and how well your character could potentially fit in if you decide to join them. Take note that gangs are only found in medium and maximum-security prisons, and the names may vary depending on whether you’re controlling a male or female character.
For starters, the Tattletale Squad/Pussyfoots is the weakest gang in the hierarchy, and would unfortunately be the best gang for you to join if you’re only in for a few years and none of your stats are particularly glowing. This gang is followed by the Wrinkly Sneaks/Golden Girls, which is a gang exclusively for “sufficiently old” criminals. That means you’ll only want to apply to this gang if your character is 65-years-old and above.
Is your character a rather good-looking one who doesn’t have much else by way of stats, net worth, or other metrics, you can have them join the Beefcake Brutes/Sexy Syndicates, where looks are everything. The Brain Brothas/Smart Sistas, on the other hand, are the gangs for characters whose Smarts are their most defining characteristic/stat.
Still moving up step-by-step in terms of notoriety, the Illegal Jailiens are exclusively for jailbirds who were born in another country from the one where they currently reside. Next up, the Blue Ball Bulls/Plastics are recommended for those who are “well-respected and vicious” – get into more fights and you’ll be a natural fit for this gang. As for the Cash Money Wreckers, your chances of getting in should be high if you’ve got a net worth close to the millions or more.
Talking about the top three gangs in terms of notoriety, the Hecks Angels/Harleys Angels are the best gang to join for inmates who are “well-respected and feared,” thus making them pretty similar to the Blue Ball Bulls/Plastics, albeit with more respect and more violent/crazy acts needed for those interested in joining. The Killbillies/Switchblade Sisterhood cater to inmates with a “proven track record” of violence – we’d figure this means the longest track record of violent crimes or assaults in and out of jail. Finally, the Bitizen Mafia is the top gang in any given prison in terms of notoriety, as their membership is exclusive only to those who have it all – wealth, respect, a track record of violence, and at least fairly high Smarts and Looks.
While it’s not necessarily a bad idea in theory to experiment with joining different gangs to see which one you would best qualify for, you’re better off checking the guidelines above. The reason we say this is the fact that an inmate could get beaten up by a gang’s members, simply for trying to join despite a lack of qualifications! This would hold especially true if the gang is known for its violence.
Starting A Riot – How Does The Mini-Game Work?
As we explained above, starting a riot is no longer the random process it used to be. It now takes some skill to be able to start one successfully and, as we also noted, help you get more bad behavior points and earn yourself some respect with the other inmates. BitLife now has a riot mini-game, and it’s as simple as moving around the square-shaped prison yard and recruiting as many rioters as possible without bumping into a wall or into a guard. As you add more prisoners to your chain, it will become harder and harder to move around, and once your chain has seven prisoners in it, guards will start appearing – the good thing here is that we haven’t seen them moving around like your chain does. Once you reach 10 or more rioters in the chain, your riot is successful! Take note, however, that we did say “10 or more” rioters – after each successful riot, you’ll need to recruit more prisoners and deal with more guards in order to complete the mini-game!
Based on our first few days playing the riot mini-game, we think it’s good fun, if a bit frustrating due to the lack of responsiveness (possibly deliberate) of the controls. But don’t fret if your riot isn’t successful – you can always try again one year later, and if it’s any consolation, it doesn’t affect your Respect stats negatively!
Other New (And Old) Jail Features Worth Checking Out
Moving on to the other jail features, the good old Appeal and Escape options remain relatively unchanged – as we mentioned, there are new escape mini-game puzzles, but it doesn’t seem any easier to bust out of jail as it was before version 1.21. Appeals, likewise, are still difficult to win, even if you’re loaded enough to afford the most expensive legal team. (Bad behavior will also make it difficult for you to win these.)
As for the new features, you can arrange Conjugal Visits if you’re married or in a relationship – depending on your relationship with your spouse/partner, they may or may not want to visit you. However, if they do visit, there’s a chance that you may end up making love while the guards aren’t looking – this could be a great way to boost Happiness in a sad and violent place like prison! You can also improve your Happiness (provided they reply) by writing a letter to your loved ones, or by accepting the care packages they send you. Care packages, however, are only sent at random, so you’ll be lucky to receive more than a couple of them during the average Jailbird ribbon-worthy stay in the slammer.
We did say prison is a sad and violent place, and with that in mind, you can choose the Cry option and bawl your eyes out – this could improve your Happiness and/or Health stats a tiny bit, but if you’re part of a gang, let it be known that they typically don’t take kindly to crybabies and could kick you out for shedding those tears.
Prison also happens to be a place that could take its toll on your Health, as your Bitizens will be more susceptible to illness while behind bars. If you end up suffering some sort of disease or illness while in jail, you can ask nicely (or not-so-nicely) to be escorted to the Infirmary, where there’s about a 50-50 chance or so that the prison’s medical staff will cure you of your illness. That is, of course, provided that the guards are sympathetic enough to escort you – if your behavior is particularly nasty beforehand, they may say they don’t believe you or force you to tough it out. Either way, your disease will likely remain untreated until you’re free from jail…or until you die of it while still imprisoned.
Lastly, Mind and Body and Time Machine are two “life on the outside” staples that are now available for Bitizen jailbirds, and they work just as they usually do, except you don’t need to pay a dime to work out at the gym. Otherwise, Work Out can improve your Looks and/or your Health, Library your Smarts, and Meditate your Health and/or Happiness. Time Machine is just as it was – pay a dollar to go back one, three, or five years in the past to undo past mistakes, but pay that same dollar if you need to do it again.
New Features For Law-Abiding Bitizens
It’s not just the baddies of the BitLife universe who have something to look forward to with the version 1.21 update. If your characters are good, honest individuals who’d rather keep their nose clean and stay out of trouble, the new update has a number of new features that add more dimensions to the game, starting with the Family Heirlooms.
Family Heirlooms are random, rare and/or expensive items that you may find while rummaging through your virtual attic, and these can be sold for a tidy amount of in-game money – albeit with a catch. As we’ve noticed, you can only profit from the sale of a Heirloom if you gather it while currently playing the game and in the middle of a playthrough. (If your character died or you just started a new life before last exiting the game, it seems that you won’t be able to acquire the Heirloom and sell it.) Nonetheless, these are collectible items that you can gather once per day, so make sure you’re logging in at least a few minutes a day if you want to add to your Heirloom collection!
Back before version 1.21 rolled out, getting a job in BitLife was as easy as making sure you had the right credentials (e.g. high school/college education, a relevant degree, high Looks/Smarts stats, etc.) before applying for the job. With the new update, you will now have to answer a job interview question in order to land the job and start bringing home the proverbial bacon. Now the questions here tend to be REALLY random – you may be asked a serious question about your biggest strengths as a worker, or you may be asked which character from The Office you relate to the most. But the general rule here is to answer as seriously as possible and avoid the silly answers – unless you’re applying for a menial job like Janitor, in which case answering “a desire to save the planet” to the question “who or what motivates you” may be good enough to get you hired.
Lastly, the game has introduced cost-of-living considerations, which now take a country’s cost of living, economy, and other variables into account when it comes to getting a job. For example, the amount of money you may earn in a medical profession in certain countries may be only one-half (or even a third) or so of what you’d be making in the United States. This makes things more realistic in terms of financial mechanics – as such, we’re calling this a low-key good addition to the BitLife universe in an update that mainly centered on bad-boy or bad-girl antics behind bars.
Aside from the aforementioned new features, BitLife version 1.21 comes with the usual miscellaneous textual additions, new scenarios/dilemmas, and bug squashes. Mentioning a couple at random, it seems that a few more famous athletes’ names are now among the possible first names for American males – Kawhi (as in Leonard of the L.A. Clippers) and Jameis (as in Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) are a couple we’ve seen so far. And it now appears harder to game the system in terms of your baby’s gender – for example, if your character has three sons and you want a baby girl, it’s harder now for spouses and partners to give birth to a baby girl once you restart the game after they give birth to a boy. Whereas it used to take only about three to four tries tops, it could now take up to eight to 10 attempts, so patience is the key if you’re trying to maintain/increase your brood’s gender balance.