In the game, you play a mother kangaroo whose child has been kidnapped by a band of monkeys. In three of the four game levels, you must try to get Mama to the top of the screen to reach Joey while avoiding apples being thrown at you by the monkeys, either by jumping over the apples, ducking them, or punching them. In the fourth screen, you must knock down a stack of monkeys holding up the cage that Joey is held captive in while avoiding the apples.
This game provides examples of
- Boxing Kangaroo: Mama can punch out both apples and monkeys with her boxing gloves.
- Endless Game: Once you complete the fourth level, the game repeats itself over and over.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Averted, as they are your enemies.
- Falling Damage: Mama Roo loses a life if she falls too far off a ledge.
- Platform Game: Similar to Donkey Kong, except that it's the joystick that controls jumping instead of an action button.
- Produce Pelting: The apples thrown at you by the monkeys.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The game uses "American Patrol" by F.W. Meacham, "Oh Susannah" by Stephen Foster, and "Westminster Quarters".
- Scoring Points: For knocking out monkeys and apples, and by collecting fruit hanging from the trees. You also get a bonus for time remaining in the bonus counter.
- Timed Mission: You get a limited amount of time in the bonus counter for Mama to reach Joey.
- Westminster Chimes: These play when the player rings the bell.
- White Flag: If a large, malevolent ape succeeds in stealing Mama's boxing gloves, she becomes defenseless, and pressing the Punch button only results in her waving a white flag of surrender. Fortunately, her gloves are restored after a few seconds.