After selecting which set of courses to race on, each heat follows this order:
- 1) Parts selection
- You are given the opportunity before each race to spend your money on parts and upgrades in order to make yourself more competitive. You can only spend as much money as you currently have, although whatever you do not spend carries over to the next heat. Remember that you cannot return items that you buy for any kind of refund, so you must purchase upgrades wisely.
- 2) The race
- Each course has a different number of laps assigned to them. You begin the race with a full tank of gas, and you can continue to race as long as your fuel does not reach 0. If you cross the finish line, and there are still more laps to go, your gas tank will automatically fill back up.
- 3) Standings
- At the end of each race, you are ranked according to your position when the first car crosses the finish line. At this time, you are awarded money and points as such:
Moto Roader is a little unconventional when compared to other race games for two notable reasons:
- 1) No collision
- While you can collide with oil slicks, grass, and buildings around the track, you cannot collide with other vehicles on the track. All vehicles simply pass through each other, so there's no fear of slowing down by driving in the same space as another vehicle.
- 2) Warping
- The game forces all five vehicles to remain on the screen together at all times. It does this by identifying any cars which are about to scroll off the screen, and instantly warps them forward to the middle of the pack. Doing this gives you a boost, but it costs you a unit of fuel. Getting warped ahead too many times will make you more likely to run out of gas.