The player can turn their ship, thrust around screens, and fire. The player starts with five shields, which if their ship enters a vortex that has a closed exit (i. e. that is marked with an 'X'), their ship will lose a shield unit and the puzzle will not change. Running out of shields (which are refreshed with each completed puzzle), being hit by a Morning Star (on the fifth puzzle only) or using the self destruct function will end the game.
- Start game–any button at title screen
- Turn ship–joystick or D-pad (left and right)
- Fire–button 4
- Thrust–button 3
- Self-destruct–button 1
The player can turn, fire, and thrust around at will. Their goal is to complete all 10 puzzles by flying into vortex boxes to change vortexes into open exits. Some puzzles will send the player into the next puzzle when solved while others require the player to fly through one open vortex box in particular to solve the puzzle.
These creatures will instantly attach themselves to the player's ship at the beginning of a puzzle, flying in a circle at exactly the same speed as the player can turn their ship, making them difficult to destroy. With each successful rotation around the player they will deduct a shield unit; upon the fifth rotation they will destroy the player's ship and the game will end. Sectoids only appear during two puzzle screens.
Two of these only appear on the fifth puzzle; they are activated at the beginning of this puzzle and whenever the player enters the vortex box in the very center of the screen. They begin at opposite corners of the screen, fly towards the center vortex box, and will destroy themselves (and the player if their ship is too close) upon impact. They cannot be destroyed, only avoided.