Archives for posts with tag: Bonus level

Just a quick post before the transfer to begins in a few hours from now…

I’ve covered this question in the most recent post I did on the bonus levels (you can read it here, but be warned that it was written before level 29 came out), but it has never had a post of its own. And it’s important question to address because the release of level 28 changed the way the bonus levels behaved back to the way things were when the bonus levels were introduced at the end of January, a change that remained with the release of level 29.

Once you hit the bonus levels, your pink XP bar maximum increases by 20% each time you pass through a complete bonus level and claim your free donuts. That means:

  • The first time through the bonus round you’re heading for a maximum of 148,896 XP;
  • The second time through, the maximum will is 178,675XP; and
  • The third time through, it’s 226,228Xp…and so on.

This seems to keep going until your XP bar maximum hits 10,000,000XP – something that’s reasonably unlikely while new levels are still being released at a rate of about one every month to six weeks. Once a new level is released, your blue XP bar should return (barring glitches) and once you hit the bonus levels anew, the maximum on your pink XP bar should reset and begin its steady level up all over again.

Throughout March, the pink XP bar maximum stayed at 120,000 each time you passed through a bonus level, but it turns out that this was a glitch. So, this 20% increase in XP per bonus level isn’t really the “new normal” – it simply seems to be a return to the way things were intended to be.



Yes you can. And as with anything here, it’s a question worth answering just because people have been asking…

Each of the big, expensive aspirational buildings can be sold for 25% of their original price. They then reappear in your building menu, and you can purchase them again, rebuild them, and collect the XP.

But why would you do this? The simple answer is to accelerate yourself towards the next bonus level if you’re a level 29 player. While players at lower levels who are perpetually short of cash may find it astounding, longer-term players at level 29 often have more cash than they know what to do with. So just like the Wind Socks and Weather Stations in yesterday’s post (, buying something that gives you an XP boost is essentially a way of turning game dollars into donuts.

The XP from each of the aspirational buildings is as follows:

  • Escalator to Nowhere – 10,000 XP
  • Popsicle Stick Skyscraper- 20,000 XP
  • 50-foot Magnifying Glass – 30,000 XP

Of course, with the 3-day build time, selling and rebuying the aspirationals takes a bit of patience. But it can certainly be done.


This tip, unfortunately, only helps level 29 players who are working through the bonus levels.

For those who aren’t there yet, the bonus levels appear at the end of level 29 and reward regular players by offering the chance to win free donuts. Initially you need to hit 120,000XP to get your first chance at donuts, but each time you pass through the bonus levels, your target increases by 20% (this was how it worked all through February, so it seems there was a glitch in March, when this didn’t happen).

So, free donuts! They’re certainly not be sneezed at – and most people would like to get as many as they could possibly can. Here’s a tip from Mark that makes it just a bit easier:

For anyone who has lots of accumulated in-game cash lying around and you want to get as many donuts by levelling up your pink XP bar before the end of the Whacking Day event on May 16th, you may want to do what I have done.

I purchased a bunch of Wind Socks at $19,000 each. They get you a whopping 2,000 XP for each and with a good multiplier like I have you can easily achieve over 5,000 per sock. I have levelled up quite a few times doing this and cashed a fair number of donuts. And the plus side is that they are actually quite a nice animated decoration. I have used them around the Coliseum, the Open Air Stage, etc. and they look quite cool.

Lastly, if you are spelling out words in your Springfield with the new Cobble Stones, you can add the Wind Socks to give the words a “flaming” feel… It looks surprisingly good.

The Wind Socks will only be available until the end of the Whacking Day event. And it’s worth noting, too, that you can get a nice XP boost from the Weather Stations as well. Thanks Mark.


I’ve addressed this question before, but with so many new players, it’s worth an update to include the changes (or, rather, the return to the way things used to be) that came with Whacking Day update.

Up until you reach level 27, your XP bar is blue and fills up normally. But when you get to level 28, a little gift box appears at the end of the XP bar indicating that you won’t be moving to level 29 (because it won’t be ready until mid-May at the earliest). Instead, you’ll be hitting a bonus level:

Once you reach the end of level 28, a popup appears giving you a choice of 1, 2 or 3 donuts:

This is what you’ll see if you’re lucky enough to win 3 donuts on your first pick:

If you don’t win 3 donuts the first time, you can pay $50,000 for a second chance:

If you won 1 donut the first time, paid for a second chance and won 2, then you keep the 2 donuts you won the second time (they’re not accumulated with your first win) if you stop there. If you won 2 donuts the first time, but only picked up 1 donut the second time, then you get to keep the highest number. And if you’re not happy with your second pick, you can pay another $50,000 for a third and final pick, where you’ll certainly end up with 3 donuts. But the maximum number of donuts you can win at any bonus level is 3, no matter how much money you pay. And that’s because all you’re really paying for is a second and third shot at the 3 donuts that you may well have won first time round had luck been with you.

Three more things happen:

1. Your XP bar turns pink. Behind the scenes, your blue XP bar is full and waiting for the next level. When level 29 is released, you’ll automatically level up and your blue XP bar will appear again, no matter how full your pink XO bar is at the time. In the meantime, you’re playing the bonus game, which means that you’re filling up a completely different XP bar.

2. The game continues to show you as being at level 28 – and that’s because, as at the date of this post, there is no level 29.

3. Your XP maximum changes. For the first time through the bonus round you’re heading for a maximum of 148,896 XP. The second time through, the maximum will be 178,675 – and it will increase by 20% each time you go through a complete bonus level and get the free donuts. This is a change from March, when the XP maximum each time you passed through a bonus level remained at 120,000, but this is exactly how it worked when the bonus levels were introduced at the end of January.


That’s an interesting question (thanks Johnny) – and it comes about because there are really at least two games going on in your Tapped Out. There’s the regular game, where you progress through the levels, unlocking buildings and characters in order – and there’s the XP game that has frequent players zooming up to the bonus levels faster than the regular game can keep up. And the gap between the two can get a bit disconcerting at times, particularly as it gets larger.

In my case, I was at the top level of the game while I was still building the Retirement Castle, and it took a little Googling to discover that not only was this perfectly okay, it also wasn’t abnormal. For other players the gap may be smaller or larger. It really depends on how frequently you play and how often you visit friends. Of course, using donuts to speed up tasks can exacerbate the gap, too, but regular readers of this blog know that not only is this unnecessary, it’s a terrible waste of donuts!

So if there’s a gap between where your XP bar tells you that you are and your game level, don’t worry. It’s all perfectly normal. And to help people experiencing this feel a bit more comfortable, why not use the comments section below to share where you were in your regular game when your XP bar hit the first bonus level.


The bonus levels that begin when your XP bar hits its maximum at the end of level 27 give you the chance to win 1,2 or 3 donuts – and if you don’t win 3 donuts the first time, you can pay for a second chance. But the maximum number of donuts you can win at any bonus level is 3, no matter how much money you pay. And that’s because all you’re really paying for is a second shot at the 3 donuts that you may well have won first time round had luck been with you.

This is how it works – if you miss out on 3 donuts, but get 2 instead, you’ll see this:

You can then pay $50,000 for a second shot at the 3 donuts- and if you win, 3 is all you get (not 5). Whichever way you play, the maximum number of donuts you can get at any bonus level is 3.

For a chance to win more donuts, though, all you’ve really got to do is to go back to the game and keep playing regularly. And soon enough, your XP bar will be full again, and you’ll have another shot at those 3 free donuts.


When the gift box first appeared at the end of January, this was a question that many longer term players of the game were asking, and it’s easy to forget that it’s probably a question that goes through the minds of more recent players when they see it for the first time when their XP bar reaches level 27. The gift box is the first of the changes you see in your XP bar during the game, and when it first appears it can be a bit surprising.

The gift box means that you’re now at the highest level currently available for the game (new levels are added every 4-6 weeks or so). And that means there may be a bit of a wait until you get the next series of level-based quests. The gift box represents the reward you’ll get for getting so far the very next time your XP bar fills up – and that’s the chance to win 1,2, or 3 donuts.

This was a big change for the game – until the bonus levels arrived, the XP you built up once you hit the highest available level largely went to waste. Now, once you’ve hit the bonus level once, your blue XP bar stays full but hidden. Instead, you see a pink XP bar, which then keeps filling up and hitting bonus levels until the next level arrives (when it will automatically turn blue again no matter how much XP is on your pink XP bar).

Unfortunately the bonus levels also seem to be at the root of the “harp of death”, one of the game’s most infamous bugs. While the risk of the harp appears to have been significantly reduced, some players are still experiencing it, so it’s still wise if you’re an Android player or on an older Apple device, to slow down a bit as you are about to hit a bonus level.


This question has come up a lot in the last few days, so it’s worth addressing again.

Up until you reach level 26, your XP bar is blue. It fills up normally and when it’s full, you get a pop-up telling you that you’ve reached the next level, like this one:

When you get to level 26 (the highest level at the date of this post), the XP bar is still blue, but a little gift box appears at the end of it which indicates that you won’t be leveling up once the XP bar is full this time and you’ll be hitting a bonus level instead (ignore the hearts on this screenshot – it was taken during the Valentine’s event):

Once you hit the bonus levels, you get a choice of three boxes containing 1,2 or 3 donuts – and you can read about what happens here. But once you’ve passed the bonus level, your XP bar turns pink and drops back to the beginning again, as you can see in this screenshot:

The first time it happens, it can be disconcerting. But it doesn’t mean you’re back to the beginning of level 26 again. It just means you’re building towards a new bonus level. And, hidden behind the scenes, your blue XP bar is full and waiting for the release of the next level.

So, what will happen when level 27 comes out? You’ll be pleased to know that your XP bar will automatically turn blue again, no matter how much of the pink bar has been filled up. You’re also likely to have a head start on your XP (when level 26 was released it was around 10,100) and you’ll be heading towards the bonus levels again. And that’s where you’ll stay until level 28 is released.


I’ve had a number of requests to gather all the harp of death information in one place, so here goes:

1. What’s the harp of death?
It’s a glitch that stops level 26 players from continuing their game. It’s caused by a problem with the bonus levels, which were launched with the Valentine’s day update. If you’re on a lower level, you won’t be affected for now.

2. What causes the harp of death?
There are a number of theories – but it seems to occur when you are doing a lot of building and collecting at the same time as hitting a bonus level. There’s also a suggestion that it’s more likely to occur if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to win 3 donuts. While I’ve seen a lot of 3-donut wins in the course of the harp fixes I’ve been doing, I’ve also seen 1 and 2 donut wins, so I’m really not sure about this one.

3. How do you fix the harp of death on an Apple device?
The most reliable way to do this is with an iPhone 5 or the latest model iPad. Turn off the auto-lock and plug it in. Then log in as normal. It should take about 15-20 minutes to break the harp. You’ll need to tap the bonus level game at least 3 or 4 times to be sure that the harp is broken, then close the app. Log in again and everything should be fine.

4. Can other Apple devices break the harp?
Older devices find it difficult, although there’s a suggestion that an iPhone 4S can. I haven’t tried using a 4S, so can’t vouch for whether it works or not, but you can read about one person’s experience here. I haven’t seen any reports of anyone breaking the harp on an iPod.

5. Can you get the harp on an Android device?
Yes you can – and I’m sorry, without Origin, I don’t know of any way to break it.

6. Can I get the harp more than once?
Yes, you can. You’re at risk every time you hit a bonus level, which is why you should slow down and tap-collect-pause on individual items when you’re getting close. And if you’re close, avoid constructing buildings that give you lots of XP until you’re safely past the bonus game.

7. Are there different kinds of harps?
Yes, there are. The first time you get it, it’s usually a single strum and quite easy to break. The second and third time, you get a double or triple strum and breaking it is much harder and takes longer – 40-60 minutes on an iPhone 5. It also behaves differently when you break it – the bonus level flashes briefly making you think you’re back into the game. It then goes straight to the Bart screen. The trick then is to “Try again” three or four times and look for the game to synchronize. If it does, close the app completely in the multi-task bar, then open it up and log in. You should be able to play. Keep half an eye on your device, though – if you leave the Bart screen up too long, you’ll need to start all over again.

8. Does the harp ever go away on its own?
It seems that way – this has been reported by a number of people since early February.

9. Will level 27 fix the harp?
Hopefully, EA will solve the problem soon, but level 27 will at least defer the problem. Based on what happened at the level 26 release, players experiencing the harp at the time level 27 is released (whenever that is) should be able to get into the game.

10. What are EA doing about it?
They are working on it, although they’re giving very little information on what they’re doing. There’s clearly some server work a couple of times a week – I know this from the way that harp fixes suddenly get very, very easy at certain times. However, everything they’ve done so far only helps some people who already have the harp (although not those with the most serious kind). It doesn’t seem to stop people from harping out after the server fix has been done – and there are still people in my queue who are experiencing the harp despite the update. A permanent solution has been promised since late February, although we’re all still waiting for it.


Going by the number of requests I’m still getting for help and the angry posts on the official Facebook page, EA Answers, and the various forums, there are lots of people still suffering from the harp of death. The good news is that level 27, when it’s released, should get you back into the game.

The harp first appeared when the bonus levels were released with the Valentine’s Day update. It strikes some players when they hit the bonus level for the first time (there’s a suggestion that it hits those who have been “lucky” enough to win 3 donuts on the first go, but there’s no way to know for sure). But when level 26 was released and the XP bar turned blue again for those at the highest level, the harp disappeared – temporarily at least – reappearing for some when they hit the bonus levels again. Others reported no further problems.

So if you’re suffering from the harp, you will almost certainly be able to access your game again when level 27 is released (see here for some thoughts on just when that might be). It might even be that it cures the harp for you, although there are no guarantees of that without a fix from EA (and there’s no news of one yet).

In the meantime, if you have access to an iPhone 5, it’s quite easy to fix in most cases (plug in, turn off auto lock, log in, and let the harp play out for 15-20 minutes). I can still help, but the queue gets extremely long at times. Also, the time available for me to do this is quite limited on weekdays, so you’ll need to be very patient.


Aaah… You’ve made one if the easier mistakes to make when it comes to the bonus levels. I made it myself, too, first time around.

Once you hit the bonus level, you get the chance to choose a mystery box containing 1, 2 or 3 donuts. If you choose 1 donut, this is what you see:


To choose again will cost you $50,000 – so be very sure that you want to choose again. And something very similar happens if you choose 2 donuts, as well.

If you’re lucky enough to not to harp out and manage to pass into the bonus levels smoothly, this is a trap to beware of – particularly if you’re still saving for your next building or plot of land.


Quite a few people worry about this and, harp issues aside, it’s simply to give your XP something to do until the next level is released (originally, it just went to waste). It won’t stop you from automatically leveling up to level 27 on its release date.

This is how your XP bar looks during level 26. As you can see it’s the standard blue:

But, because there’s currently no level 27 (although fingers crossed on that changing this week), your blue XP bar is hidden for the time being and temporarily replaced with a pink XP bar, as you see here:

What happens then is that your XP accumulates on the pink bar until you get to a bonus level, where you have the chance to win up to 3 donuts:

Incidentally, this is the cause of the harp of death, so if you pass through it with no problems, it’s likely that the harp glitch won’t be a problem for you. Your XP will remain pink and reset to 0 every time you reach a bonus level right up until the time level 27 is released.

As soon as level 27 is available, you’ll automatically level up and your XP bar will turn blue again (with a bit of an XP head start).

Buying donuts pays for the game and that’s why EA doesn’t just give them away or let you buy them with game dollars (with one exception). Despite that, though, you can pick up a limited number of free donuts as you progress. The current count is 70-ish. I’ll explain why I can’t be precise in just a moment.

First, you earn donuts for levelling up. At the moment, you can earn 30 that way. For most of leveling up you do, you get just one donut. For some levels though, you pick up an extra donut: your level 8, 11, 13, 17 and 24 promotions all earn you two donuts.

For Apple players, signing up to Origin (2 donuts) and adding friends (5 donuts in total) nets you at least 7 donuts. The friends donuts are earned by completing the “I Choo-choo-choose You” task, not simply the act of adding friends. When Origin finally comes to Android, Android players will be able to earn these, too. For the moment, though, they’re only available to players on Apple devices. That’s 37.

Tapping on Homer 10 times while he’s in task doesn’t just get you the Jebediah Springfield Statue, it also gets you 10 donuts. And the first Mystery Box you get in the game also surprises you with 10 (making you think that this happens every time) – although you have to pay 4 donuts to get it. That’s 53.

There are at least 4 donuts hidden in the trash to be collected by Homer or Lisa and, during the tutorial, you’re given 4 donuts to speed up tasks (which apparently you don’t need to use – I haven’t tested this). You also get 5 to buy Homer’s Hammock (I bought it and I’m not sure what happens if you don’t). That’s 67, unless you felt obliged to spend the last 9.

The arrival of the bonus levels mean that it’s quite difficult to give a definite total number. After level 26, you get the chance of 1,2 or 3 donuts every time your XP bar fills up – and you can pay 50,000-100,000 game dollars to make sure that you get three if you’re not lucky first (or second) time around. That makes around 70 free donuts by the time you complete level 26 and get lucky.

So, 60-70 free donuts. And more every time you hit a bonus level. Has anyone managed to save them all?


I mentioned this is an earlier post, but given the misunderstanding in the Facebook page (still in a very angry meltdown) and on the official forums, I thought it would be worth a post if it’s own.

It’s not related to whether you have iOs 6.1 or 6.2 and building the Wiggum House or El Chemistri are not the cause. Filling up your level 26 XP bar and hitting the bonus level seems to be the trigger – and this was clearly the case for people who experienced the problem before level 26 was released. Of course, it seems to often be the case that the XP from El Chemistri takes people over the top and into harp hell. But the harp sound seems to come from your game repeatedly hitting the bonus level and not able to get any further.

This problem doesn’t affect everyone, though. I was able to pass through on an iPad 2 with no problems (although some friends of mine weren’t so lucky).

There is a fix that has helped some people and rewarded them with donuts that you can find here. EA have also finally acknowledged the problem and you can see what they’re saying here.

Gil is due to leave at the end of the weekend, which means there is likely to be another update by then. Let’s hope the harp and Gil leave at the same time.


Sorry to say that it wasn’t.

It could be an update to unlock Gil again (it was, as it turns out!) or to prepare for the end of the Valentine’s Day event. There’s also been a glitch with XP points and bonus percentages generally, as well as with certain buildings, so it may have fixed his. However, the harp seems to remain for people with that problem.

By the way, the harp of death seems to relate to leveling up and hitting the bonus level, rather than building the Wiggum House or El Chemistri.

P.S.: As you can see right above, the update gave us the Heart Grinder.


No, your game isn’t over. This XP bar glitch being experienced by some level 25 players is one of two significant glitches that arrived with the Valentine’s update. (I’ve written about the other one, the frozen game with the spinning donut and the harp sound at: What do I do about the frozen game with the really strange harp sound?)

What happened for some players is that they reached the bonus level and then the game went crazy. Some got lucky in the midst of the craziness and received around 100 donuts. But when the craziness settled down, they found that the new target on their XP bar was impossibly high – somewhere between 3 million and 796,279,688.

As usual, EA have made no comment on this glitch (and if they have and I’ve missed it, please let me know). However, it will almost certainly be fixed by the release of the level 26 update, which will happen in the next week or two.

In the meantime, keep playing and don’t think that you need to start your game again. If you received donuts as a result of the glitch, at least there’s some consolation – and if you didn’t, I’m really sorry.


Your XP bar turns pink at the end of level 25 to show that you already have enough XP to get to level 26, but you’re now working towards a bonus level. This distinguishes it from your regular blue XP bar, which has reached the end of level 25 and should stay there, but hidden, until level 26 is released.

When level 26 is released:

– your XP bar should turn blue again,
– you should have a head start on level 26 XP
– the bonus levels will probably be moved to the end of level 26

For more on the bonus levels and how they work, take a look at this post: What happens at the bonus level for level 25 players?


When the Valentine’s update was launched, level 25 players got a message saying that because level 26 wasn’t ready yet, there would be a bonus level and were instantly presented with a choice of 3 gift boxes and a chance to win 1,2 or 3 donuts.


If you don’t get 1 or two donuts, you get a second chance to get 3. However, it costs you $50,000 and, if you have already won 2 donuts, you could just as easily end up with 1. (Be careful about this – you could find yourself tapping for the second chance without realizing that there is now a green cash bar with $50,000 on it just below the two remaining boxes.)

This means that all that XP isn’t going to waste anymore. It keeps building up to the bonus level, then resets again so that you can have another shot when you have enough XP. The XP bar looks different, however, and is pink instead of blue. (It will probably turn blue again when level 26 is released.) You don’t level up to level 26 and won’t until level 26 is released.

For those of you who have had the second round of XP building to over 76 million, that’s clearly a glitch that should be reported to EA. The new XP target should be 151,200, as the image below shows, with the gift box indicating the next time you get the chance to win donuts.


Given that donuts are so hard to come by, this isn’t a bad way of keeping long-term players happy until the update comes. Yes, I’ve seen some grumbles that it should be 10 or 20 or 100 donuts – but it’s better than having XP go to waste. And I hope they keep this bonus level game on after the level 26 update as a reward for patience while we wait for level 27!


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