The game takes place entirely on a 2D plane, similar to Kung-Fu Master or Altered Beast. The game is initially a brawler when playing as Wolverine, who has a limited melee moveset. However, when the player dies they are forced to switch to Cyclops, Storm, Gambit and Iceman in that order, who only ever use projectiles despite having almost always been depicted as proficient in hand-to-hand combat elsewhere. The player must move from left to right except when a gap in the bottom or top of the screen indicates that the player can change paths to get either a key or gem/orb, which is sometimes necessary in order to progress along the main path.
The player is always faced with a boss fight after exiting through the right end of the screen of the level's main path. This is the only time a unique character is faced, rather than the limited variety of generic robots which fills all of the screens prior. At the main menu there is an option for "Fight Mode", which only features boss fights and would be more aptly named Boss Rush as per video game convention.