Nitronic Rush is a survival racing game set in a futuristic-looking city. It is protected by a guardian against all outside threats, but one day something goes wrong and the guardian turns against it inhabitants. In the game's Story Levels the player controls a car that races to defeat the threats the guardian throws at him. The player always races alone and the goal is simply to reach the end of the level in a time a fast as possible.
While racing, various obstacles appear in the road, such as laser beams, mines, spikes raising from the ground, and much more. All of these need to be avoided. Upon dying the car immediately respawns at the latest checkpoint, but this costs time. Certain levels have branching paths. Some of these can only be accessed by using boost (can only be activated for a short time) and by jumping. The player's car also has the ability to fly, in any direction, but a certain amount of airtime is needed before the wings can be activated. That way flying can only be accessed during a (large) jump. A final feature is the ability to take corners more sharply and roll when in the air.
The other level sets are Hardcore Levels, Challenge Levels, Stunt Mode, and Old Levels. Players can perform stunts in the air such as flips, twists and rolls to receive points. For each of the game modes global online leaderboards are offered. The game also contain in-game achievements. There is only one car available, but after beating the Story Levels a second one is unlocked.