Navarone has its inspiration in the 1957 World War II novel The Guns of Navarone, which was made into a feature film in 1961.
The player is tasked with destroying fixed targets dotted along a narrow island. Moving their ship around the island's perimeter, the player destroys these dots and squares while avoiding enemy fire from indestructible turrets. The player is capable of shooting incoming enemy projectiles as a means of defense.
At seemingly random intervals, a large square in the middle of the play field will open on one side. This allows the player to fire well aimed shots at a large skull with an eye patch, with successful hits granting 200 points.
Once all targets on the island are destroyed, bonus points are rewarded based on time to completion and the targets are returned to their positions. Each round increases the rate and volume of enemy fire.