Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.
Why InstLife Is the Best Life-Simulation Game
InstLife is an app in the Google Play store that's a text-based version of Game of Life and The Sims. It meshes your decisions with well-executed, random life events to make the experience feel like real life. You'll be amazed by how authentic, inclusive, and addicting this the game is.
In this guide, I will walk through the premise of the game and how it works. I will also share some tips on how to become a professional musician, artist, and even a CEO in InstLife.
How Do I Start?
You begin the game with two choices:
- You can either choose a customized life.
- You can randomly generate one.
If you decide to customize your character, then you can select the gender, date of birth, name, starting income, nationality, and country of origin. If you randomize it, then you'll be born into one of 80 possible countries and given a name by your in-game parents that's specific to your country of birth.
You will start the game as a baby with limited choices until you manually age yourself into a child. Starting at age six, you may either begin studying or continue to age yourself while incidental events occur—events like getting sick, one of your parents retiring, or getting bullied at the park. Other impromptu events, including natural disasters, war, and diseases, may appear every time you age, although your actual choices are limited before age 12.
Growing Up Means More Responsibilities
Once you're a teenager, you can finally start living your own life through activities such as:
- Public speaking courses
- Music lessons
- Joining social media
- Beginning a music career
- Becoming an artist
As you continue to age, you can select more mature options like finding love, having a baby, playing the lottery, and starting a career based on your educational qualifications.
There will be other choices that may test your morality and teach you real-life lessons too. For example, you can choose to intentionally ingest harmful substances or be unfaithful to your partner, or you can donate your time and money to charity.
Life Doesn't Always Go As Planned
How you choose to live your life will be up to you, though it may not turn out the way you wanted it to. The decision-making, spontaneity, and realism are what truly sets this simulation game apart from other games in the genre. In InstLife, you can choose who you want to love, whether you want to have a child, and even if you want to risk going to prison by illegally emigrating to another country. It may not be flashy, but it's as close to real-life as you can get.
Warning: InstLife is rated 17+ due to adult themes, however, everything is text-based, so there are no visually sensitive materials.
Meshing Your Life Choices With Unexpected Life Events
While InstLife is mostly driven by your choices, there are several unexpected events out of your control that can occur as you age.
Some of these AI-generated events include:
- Unexpected pregnancy
- Common sickness (cold or flu)
- Burglary and home invasion
- Various social interactions
- Terminal illness (cancer, coronary heart disease, etc.)
- Loss of loved ones (parents, children, partner, or spouse)
- Accident (car, injury in a fire, etc.)
- Natural disaster (flood, earthquake, etc.)
Your Upbringing Has a Big Influence
When you age, everyone around you does too. This means that death from natural aging is more likely as your family gets older. However, factors like where you were born can influence your lifespan.
For example, someone born in a developing country may have a shorter life than someone born in a developed country, which puts the game on another level compared to other simulators. You can choose to get an education, move to a developed country, or choose who you want to marry, but you can't escape your birthplace or the events the game throws at you.
The Complete InstLife Game Guide
InstLife is divided into seven main tabs at the top of the screen:
- Main Event Log
- CV/Resume Statistics
- Job Catalog (job history, careers including artist, musician, CEO)
- Family Page (marriage, divorce, children, adoption)
- Luxury Tab
- Personal Stats (including finances and misc. activities)
- Menu Tab
I will go over each one in more detail below.
1. Main Event Log
The main event log is where you'll be able to see everything you've done in your life as well as your current age, the year, name, birth country, and parents' names/ages.
The only thing you can do in the event log is age yourself.
When you select the age-up button, it may trigger choice-based events as well as unexpected events like job promotions.
You'll also get information about your parents, children, and grandchildren including details about their jobs, orientation, partners, inheritance, and even cause of death.
2. CV/Resume Stats
Your CV statistics include your education history, higher degrees, and whether you wish to attend or drop out of school (college/university).
This is where you can select what kind of degree to pursue, which is important when applying for higher paying positions or quality careers.
You can choose to fund your degree/s yourself, via grants or through your parents if they allow it. Higher education must be earned, and you can't obtain a degree if you received a D or lower from secondary school. Additionally, you can drop out of school and pursue other career paths (music, artist, criminal).
3. Job Catalog
The job catalog is where all job opportunities are listed. There are also tabs that allow you to ask for raises, resign, view your CEO dashboard, view career history, or retire.
This is also where you can access your secondary career dashboard, which requires additional tinkering and decision-making.
A new prisoner career option is now available in the career tab that's only accessible if you end up in prison. Here you can start riots, try to escape, and build up your criminal reputation. More updates will be added soon.
You can also become a professional criminal and perform robberies and/or buy drugs without having to be in prison first; just make sure you don't get caught!
4. Family Page
The family page shows your partner's, children's, and grandchildren's stats. It also allows you to find love, propose, get married, get divorced, and have kids—either naturally or through adoption. Once you have your own family, their stats will be listed in this tab, with sub-tabs detailing stats on:
- Social skills
- Artistic ability
Their stats are highly dependent on your actions and will change accordingly. For example, if you cheat on your spouse, their happiness will fall. If their happiness falls below a certain percentage, they'll file a divorce and leave you.
Remember that your family will go through life changes just like your character, which means they could fall ill or pass away. They also have their own life and interests; they go to school for different things, have different careers, get their driver's license, get married/divorced, and have kids.
Your family can also affect your finances, so don't have too many children if you can't afford it. If your income isn't enough, consider marriage; you and your partner's dual-income will help with expenses. Don't forget that you're responsible for your children's finances until they either move out on their own or you decide to kick them out.
Full details about your children/grandchildren including their age, job status, and more can also be found under the "children & grandchildren" tabs.
This new game mode allows you to continue playing (if you have kids) after your character passes away.
After you die, you can choose to play as one of your children and start from where they left off when you passed. You can pass down your finances, so that they're left better off than you were.
The standard game play doesn't change, and this mode is still being trialed out so do expect to see some glitches. Expect more detailed updates in the weeks and months ahead.
5. Luxury Tab
The luxury tab is fairly straightforward. Once you're an adult and have enough money, you can buy any house or car you want and invite your partner to live with you. You can even throw a house party or go for a drive, although this can be costly (in more ways than one).
When you purchase a home, you can select to either pay it in full or through annual mortgage payments until the house is paid off. If you run out of funds, you can sell personal property, like your home or cars, to cover your expenses. However, if that's not enough, you can always move back in with your parents.
You'll also be evicted if you can't afford to make payments every year.
Update: The new country option lets you view your country's stats including what type of government it is, the population, and the land area.
6. Personal Stats
The personal stats page is your last statistical tab. Here, you can view your game finances and your character's stats. You can also improve them through various activities listed in the miscellaneous sub-tab.
For example, you can take your driving test, donate to strangers, choose who to love, join social media, create posts, try online dating, emigrate to another country, book a holiday trip or cruise, view your criminal history, go to a club, or start a new game in the worst way possible.
Your stats will directly be affected by your choices. This means that whatever you choose to do will affect your career, relationships, and freedom.
There are four additional options on your personal stats tab that give you the ability to improve your appearance, go to a clinic, go to the hospital if you're sick, and change your birth name (for a price). You can even get treatment for gender dysphoria if you plan on transitioning. More options will be added as you age, so be on the lookout for those.
7. Menu Tab
The menu tab allows you to view ads for extra game money, view your achievements, share your game info on social media, select from four different color schemes (plus night mode), view game developer credits, and finally, save/load the game, exit the game or start a new one.
You also have the option to disable war, family, and natural disaster notifications. If the years shown in the main tab bother you, then you can turn those off too. This will stop them from appearing on your main events log, however; it won't prevent the events from occurring.
These tabs may sound complicated, but you'll quickly get used to them as you play.
Did You Know?
There are currently only four career paths, although more will be added in future updates.
How to Become a Professional Artist in InstLife
You can choose to have a standard or a high-end career (depending on education qualifications). You can also go a step further and be your own boss; you can live the life of a painter, singer, or CEO.
- To become an artist (painter), access your jobs tab and click on the careers sub-tab to begin. You must be at least 10 years old to access it.
- Open your career dashboard and click on "create painting".
- You can manually input the name of your painting, the subject of it (fruit, birth, crime), the art style (abstract, cubism, modern), and how long it'll take you to paint it.
- If you don't want to manually input this information, click on "random painting" to make the game do it for you.
Your finished painting will be shown in your main event log after a certain amount of time (1-5 years) has passed. You will receive feedback on your finished painting, including its value. To sell your painting you'll have to go back into your career dashboard, click on the painting, and hit the sell button.
- The more paintings you create, the more they'll be worth over time.
- Mix up your style to see which paintings do better while varying the time it takes to create each art piece.
- You'll only be able to create one painting at a time, but a longer length of time will result in higher earnings.
- You can pursue other career options as well as obtain additional degrees as your painting is being made.
How to Be a Famous Musician in InstLife
If you'd rather pursue a music career, click on the music tab in careers and begin by manually creating your artist profile.
- Choose a stage name, genre of music, and how many members will be in the group.
- Create a record. It can either be manually or randomly generated. If you choose to manually create the record, then you must enter the name of the record and/or song, how many tracks will be on it (up to 16), and how many years it'll take to produce (up to five years).
- Unlike paintings, you can produce up to two records per year and create multiple artists in the process. (You can produce more records per year by viewing in-game ads)
- Once you create your first record, you can even go on tour twice a year for extra cash.
- Finally, you may disband or reunite with your musical groups whenever you want.
Pursuing a music career is much easier and faster than an artistic career since it only takes a few years' worth of records to generate income and fame. How famous you become will also affect several stats like social media followers, happiness/musical level, and your ability to get into a club—even when you're really old.
Because there's no age limit, you can create records until you pass away. However, keep in mind that the game is always getting new updates, so things could change in the near future.
How to Become a CEO in InstLife
Becoming a CEO takes a lot more time and effort to achieve. You'll only become a CEO after receiving numerous promotions from the career-field or company you've chosen to work for. It'll take time to get promoted to CEO, and you may not even accomplish this within your character's lifetime, but, it isn't impossible.
- Start studying early on.
- Study a lot and earn numerous college degrees: Pursuing a business management degree is preferable.
- Take public speaking courses when they are available in your activities tab.
- Work at a company for decades.
- Keep your stats at 100%.
Once you become a CEO you can create an IPO (initial public offering), which will put your company on the public stock market and allow you to hire employees, split or reverse your stock shares, and sell your company for profit.
The Struggles of Career Building
As a CEO, your company must hit its expected earnings every five years or you'll be fired.
Chances are you won't be a CEO for very long because it can take 25+ years to get there, it's difficult to hit earnings targets, and you'll eventually be unfit to work due to illness or age.
Each extra career has a difficulty level, and CEO is the most challenging, but you do have the option to attempt all three. I would suggest attempting a music career first, then artist, and finally, that coveted CEO position.
More career options will be added over time, but as of now, those are the choices you can try out.
InstLife is constantly evolving, and there were so many areas that will be addressed in future updates.
The app's first full release was in February 2018, with new updates every two weeks. For such a young app, I'm incredibly impressed with what they have been able to achieve thus far, and if you're a fan, then you can make additional suggestions to the developers.
You can visit the InstLife website to get more details on past and future updates/suggestions. They even have a Patreon account if you'd like to support the developers.
As the game advances, there will be plenty of bugs and missteps along the way, but with 2+ million downloads already, this app is quickly becoming a crowd favorite.
Some future updates that I expect include:
- More relationship events
- Additional childhood events (age 0-10)
- Additional careers and job opportunities
- More countries, names, and partner choices
- New events that'll impact your stats
- New consequences and outcomes of your actions
- iOS version
There are endless possibilities with this game, and we've barely scratched the surface in this guide. This is an app I recommend to anyone who loves a good life simulator or to anyone who wants to experience something new and mature.
InstLife is the next step above the Game of Life and The Sims, and it was one of the best unreleased "beta" mobile apps of 2017.
So what are you waiting for? Start building your life!
Questions & Answers
Question: How do you get vaporized by a UFO in InstLife?
Answer: The events that occur are very random in nature and they often affect other people. Just make sure your disaster notifications are enabled in the settings tab. I don't think your character can actually get vaporized, or at least it has never happened to me yet.
Question: How do you change sexes mid-life in InstLife?
Answer: I'm not sure you can unless you randomly become diagnosed with gender dysphoria. For now, I'm only able to change sex if I start out with gender dysphoria under the customization tab.
Under the custom character settings, if you click the Extras tab, there's an option to start out with dysphoria. From there you can hit the transition button once your character is 18+ years old.
Question: When will InstLife be available in the Apple store?
Answer: I've been following their main blog for the past few months and the developers haven't mentioned an immediate release for the App store, but I'll update the article once it becomes available.
Given its immediate success, I'd imagine an App store release is in the works.
Question: Can I get abducted by aliens in the InstLife App?
Answer: That's one of the random events that occur but so far it hasn't happened to me. However I don't think you can personally get abducted; I believe the event is an alien invasion, not an abduction.
Question: How do I get my kids to go to school?
Answer: As of now, you can't, you can only force them to get a job or move out.
Question: How do I make my character transition? When I put gender dysphoria on, it doesn't work.
Answer: I recently customized my character (started as female) and clicked the dysphoria option in the Extras tab from the settings. I was able to hit the transition button under the personal tab once my character was 18+ years old.
From there I was able to rename my character as they transitioned into a male.
Make sure you've updated the app or reinstall it, and it should work. Perhaps it's a random bug that will need to get addressed where it works for some and not for others.
Question: I can’t get the InstLife app on my iPod Touch. Why is that?
Answer: It's currently only available for Android. However, the developers are working on an iOS version for iPhones and iPads. I don't know what version your iPod Touch is, but it's possible that it may not support the device because of the software version installed on it.
Brandy on May 17, 2018:
I downloaded this games a few weeks ago and i LOVE IT. It is such a great game. I cant believe it was just released in Feb 2018!
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on March 13, 2018:
It's a great concept and a good time waster. I'll think you'll like it.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on February 27, 2018:
Ooh, I reckon I'd enjoy this app. Sounds interesting.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 08, 2018:
It does. I'm very curious to see where it goes, and the developers just announced a full release later this year.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 08, 2018:
The app sort of popped up out of nowhere for me a few months ago, and it has become so addicting.
If you love the Sims and life simulator games, I think you'll get a kick out of this one.
Julia Crawford from South Africa on January 06, 2018:
Wow. This game sounds promising....
K S Lane from Melbourne, Australia on January 06, 2018:
This seems like a great app. I love the Sims and I'm interested to see if InstLife is up to paar- I'll have to give it a go sometime.