Riff Racer combines the style and content of a rhythm game with the gameplay of a point-to-point, avoid the hazards driving game. The courses are generated from music, creating an individual level from a single music track. Although the games includes a number of specifically built music courses the game's focus is using the music from a local drive to create player generated levels. Using the changes in the music to create checkpoints and the pulse and volume to alter the colour and effects of the futuristic rollercoaster levels, the single city the cars race over changes its personality depending on the music driving the game.
Each course is the length of the music track used to generate it so Riff Racer does away with time based ranking for a score ranking system with multipliers tied to style, boosting ahead of the 'in-time' line and avoiding hazards. The game uses set algorithms to generate the levels which means they are universal, so it is possible to compare runs against players with the same song across the global leaderboards.
As with many score attack games there are a range of unlocks available to the player as they log more music tracks to the servers and challenge other players' scores.