In Gunbound, each player is represented by an avatar (which is humanoid) riding atop their steed, which ranges from dinosaurs, giant insects, vehicles and dragons. Each steed, or mobile, has different weapons and overall stats. The players can also customize their avatars with costumes which can be bought via in-game money or real cash, which not only provides cosmetic effects, but also boosts their mobiles' stats.
Before the start of every game, each player can change their mobiles and also add power-ups to their inventory. These power-ups range from increasing the number of bullets their mobile shoots, to other nifty effects such as teleportation. During the game, each player waits for their turn, then during their turn, they can move their mobile and shoot, choosing what bullet they shoot, at what angle they're firing their shot and at how much power, which determines how far their shot flies. However, they also need to take note of the field: They have to worry about the terrains (which can inadvertently block their shots), weather effects (which can increase the power of any shot fired, mess with the direction, etc), the game's Kill Sat, Thor which may do Combination Attack with the shots etc. Also, like Worms, the terrains will eventually run thin after getting blasted so many times.
The game plays in different modes:
- Solo: Each player is given one chance to survive and will be out of the game once killed (although they can still support their team via the unreliable roulette). When a team has no remaining players on the field, that team loses.
- Tag: Similar to Solo, except each player has a secondary mobile chosen with half their usual hit points that they can switch to during their turn. A player who loses either of their mobiles is out of the game.
- Score: Each team is permitted an amount of collective lives; when a team runs out of lives, that team loses. Instead of being out of the game upon death, any player killed can respawn in a location of their choosing after 4 turns; though as in all other game modes, if a team ever has no players on the field at any given time they will automatically lose regardless of lives remaining.
- Jewel: Instead of killing each other, each team's primary objective is to collect score by killing stationary drones littered around the field.
Gunbound provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: Considering how we have machines like the A. Sate and Bigfoot floating around with other creatures like Mammoths and Grubs, and even those pre-medieval-age animals wield cannons that can shoot lethal projectiles... yeah.
- Artillery Game: One of the rare examples where player units are able to move around rather than sitting in fixed locations.
- An Ice Person: Perhaps not a person, per se, but using Ice the Mammoth essentially turns you into this, since you shoot out projectiles made of ice.
- Beam Spam: A.Sate's stronger attacks.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: We have grub and spiders as big as the humanoid avatars.
- Bottomless Pit: Although depending on the terrain, destroying the platforms to drop an opposing mobile to the pit may or may not be a feasible tactic.
- Damage-Increasing Debuff: Ice's specialty. Its secondary shot shoots an ice ball that lowers the physical defense of whatever you shoot at by 5%, and stacks up to 50%.
- Difficult, but Awesome:
- The Kalsiddon, Trico and Turtle require precise timing and aiming with their shots, but a well aimed Shot 2 from either can deal fairly massive damage. Kalsiddon and Trico in particular has a difficult time doing so, due to the shot mechanics requiring precise airtime to use effectively (a Turtle can shotgun if absolutely necessary, and so can Trico, although it's harder), but their damage outputs can be through the roof.
- The Nak's underground shot is very difficult to aim (and is downright useless in some levels, and is ineffective against the Dragon), but does massive damage AND bunges well.
- The Boomer is extremely delicate, and its shots are heavily strayed by the wind, but a well-aimed SS/Shot 2 are one of the strongest of their types in the game.
- J. Frog has mediocre damage and delay, and the shot movement can throw a lot of players off, but makes up for it by being able to hit opponents into odd-shaped holes or in strange positions with relative ease.
- J.D lacks firepower, which turns a lot of players off, but its vacuum shot and push-away SS can be used to set up bunges with extreme ease.
- Friendly Fire: Aim carefully, because this is in effect. Shooting your allies also penalizes you by decking your money earnings.
- Horse of a Different Color: But of course.
- Idle Animation: And for some mobiles, these inspired their nicknames.
- Interface Screw: One Power-Up has the ability to speed up a victim's power charging speed, that is, whereas normally a player needs to hold their charge for two or three seconds to reach full power, this powerup causes the power bar to fully charge in less than half a second. It may not seem much, until you realize that this prety much screws up the victim's precision, causing them to fire a shot that is usually too powerful.
- Infinity +1 Sword: There are some extra powerful mobiles that can only be used by getting them with the Random Mobile option.
- Kill Sat: Thor, which normally performs Combination Attack under certain circumstances only. The more damage its Combination Attack does, the stronger it becomes. One mobile, Aduka, has some attacks where the damage is strictly based on Thor, that is, the Aduka fires so-called tracer shots which, rather than do damage themselves, command Thor to fire at where they land.
- Aduka vs Aduka is a very popular game style in Gunbound: All damage are done by Thor, and by the end of the game, the Thor will have been powered up enough to deal massive damage.
- Aside from Thor, A.Sate and Knight also have their own Kill Sat for their own attacks.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Bigfoot mobile uses multiple missiles as their bullets.
- Making a Splash: The Turtle and J. Frog both do this with different styles; the Turtle generally uses streams of focused water, while the J. Frog spits out large globs of it (which may or may not mean it's using it's own spit). Then we also have a whale.
- Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Aduka and Nak both shoot backwards unlike the rest of the mobiles. Even their secondary shots are quite unusual in nature; Aduka fires tracer shots to attack with Thor, and Nak fires a shot that goes underground that explodes when it resurfaces.
- Ocular Gushers: In game modes which disallow respawning, the triceratops Trico will cry when defeated.
- Playing with Fire: The Dragon, obviously.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: Those who play the Boomer well can get to the point where most of their shots are like this. Not even the wind can stop a Boomer when in the hands of a pro.
- Secret Character: Dragon and Knight, which are only selected by chance through Random.
- Skill Gate Characters: Bigfoot and Grub tend to be used this way. Newer players tend to take advantage of Bigfoot's large spreads at long range in order to inflict Death of a Thousand Cuts, while Grubs have their rolling shots. In the grander scope of things, Bigfoot suffers from having abysmal angle range, which stunts their firing options on flat lands, while Grub suffers from low damage and poor bunging ability. Even with the versatility of Grub's rolling shots, it's harder to use on flatter terrain. Subverted by more experienced players using shotgun techniques or purposely missing for bunging purposes, and grubs make great goldfarmers outside of 4v4 Aduka score games, at least before the Episode 2.