NPPL Championship Paintball 2009 is a first person perspective sports game based on the sport of paintball. It controls and plays very closely to typical first person shooters. Some tweaks to gameplay and control have been added to resemble paintball. The trajectory of paintballs is in a realistic arc, as a result the player has to compensate for range and drop rate. The common style of having a double trigger (a trigger where the user makes use of both the index and middle finger) in paintball is represented in NPPL 2009 by using the R1 and R2 (RT and RB on Xbox360) in order to allow faster firing while remaining on single shot mode.
The gameplay also includes a cover mechanic that allows the shooting over the top and sides of bunkers in the game. This concept is arguably poorly implemented as the pace of the games is too fast to use the clunky interface. Players found it rather effective to go through the career mode by running and strafing. This is ever so present in online play which includes support for up to 14 players. Also available is a map editor that allows the creation of speedball courses that can be played online.
Real world tournaments and equipment are featured in the game. There are more than 100 pieces of equipment that can be purchased in career mode. This includes high end paintball markers and accessories along with clothing items. The career mode attempts to further bring the tactical play of the real sport to the game through the use of a breakout planner. This allows the player to assign destination bunkers for the AI and involves a bit of planning. Professional players from San Diego Dynasty and Bob Long were consulted during the game in an attempt to accurately portray the competitive aspect of the sport.