The gameplay is a mixture of tower-defense and action-adventure exploration/combat. The player moves from town to town, gathering gems and ore to build up their defenses (in order to protect each town's herd of fluffy animals called Scrogs).
Each level of the game involves defending a particular town, and takes place over the course of 3 days and nights.
The daytime is essentially a preparation phase, wherein the player can collect resources and build/equip their towers. Each town starts with a particular of number of Scrogs to defend, but in a nice twist on the usual tower defense framework, white plants called scruffles can be fed to the herd in order to produce more of them, giving you more of a buffer and chance at success.
Dillon can also venture into mines and ancient caverns during the day to collect minerals (which can be used to build defensive doors around the town) and treasures (which can be sold for more cash). The player can use money to build or repair towers that are placed at fixed positions throughout the map and also equip them with different weapons like shotguns or gatling guns that have different ranges and properties.
After a set period of time, the sky will turn red, indicating that nightfall is approaching, giving the player one last chance to head back to town before they shut their doors in defense of the coming Grock onslaught. Once night falls, Grocks will emerge from set dens on the map, marching towards town. They can be defeated by your towers, but you can also actively engage them in battle by rolling into them, which will transition the game into an action-oriented arena-style battle where you fight Grocks using rolling and clawing attacks. Winning the battle will remove the enemy from the overworld map, but the player needs to be cognizant of the fact that time still passes while engaged in these battles, so other enemies could be assaulting the town.
Once the Grocks have been defeated, Dillon will receive cash rewards based on how many Scrogs were saved and how many enemies were defeated. Then, he heads into the saloon for the night, where the player can purchase new gear to equip, purchase food to restore health, practice skills and attacks, or initiate side quests. These side quests can involve (but are not limited to) activities such as collecting a particular amount of ore, finding herbs, or defeating certain numbers of enemies in a particular manner. If successful, Dillon will receive money as a reward, but if they fail, there is actually a monetary penalty. This encourages the player to not simply accept every side quest available, since there is limited precious time during the day. Finally, the player can choose to sleep for the night, starting the cycle anew the next day.