This mini-game collection has a focus on a wider variety than many previous games in the Cooking Mama franchise. Every member of the family (aside from little baby Yuto) makes an appearance in this game. The various mini-games you will encounter have a theme of being things that you must do around the campsite to get by, explore, cook, play games, spend time with animals, fishing, collect seashells, and hunt for treasure. This game takes place in a variety of different locations, as well.
After the initial title screen, you come to a menu with four buttons that lead to the gameplay modes: Explore, Challenge, Book, and Options.
Explore is the core game mode in Camping Mama. In this mode, you select if you wish to play as Ringo or Ichigo and start off in a bare-bones campsite. As you progress through the various exploration levels, you unlock access to more parts of the island and can find items to make your campsite even better. These games consist of a series of mini-games on your path way to getting to either Mama or Papa or completing tasks for them before returning to the tent. You perfect these levels by having all of your health, completing a mini-game on a bulletin board, and perfectly helping out either Mama or Papa. There are various hazards in your way, such as sinking lilypads, pitfalls, and hazardous animals. But there are also treasure chests sprinkled throughout and hidden from sight that give you bonuses and unlocks in your Collector's Book.
In the Challenge mode, you are completely under Papa's guidance. This mode is where you go to replay any and all mini-games you have previously had the chance to play. Here, you can perfect them and get 100%. You can learn more about the mini-games that give you trouble before going deeper into the Explore mode.
The book is where you can see a full listing of every bug, beetle, butterfly, and fish you have collected, found, and caught from the mini-games in the Explore gametype. This is also where you can go to view items you have collected for the campsite, outfits for you and your family, and the hidden Explorer's Badges. Selecting various items for the campground changes them in this menu.
This menu option has the command of starting a completely fresh and new game by wiping all of your previous data. This is also where you go to send demos to other DS players for competitive play. The two mini-games are a barbecue game and a fishing game.