Artifact Quest is a puzzle game played with a mouse. Some puzzles require you to swap two items to create a straight line of three or more of the same item, some puzzles require you to click on groups of two or more of the same item and some puzzles require you to catch falling items and place them onto their respective silhouettes. What is required to clear a level varies. Some levels require you to make matches over beige tiles to clear them. Most silhouette puzzles require you to fill in all the silhouettes. Some levels have opaque ice sheets that you break by making matches next to them. These levels may require you to clear all the ice sheets.
As you play the game, you will encounter obstacles. Ice blocks keep the encased item from moving. You must remove ice blocks by making a match with the encased item or using a bonus. Wooden crates must have matches made next to them two or three times to break them. They often conceal tiles. Gold tiles must have a match made over them to turn them into beige tiles which can then be cleared. You have some bonuses. The hammer is powered up by making matches. It can be used to break tiles, ice blocks, crates, etc. Other bonuses appear in the puzzle. These include:
- Dynamite: Destroys the eight neighboring squares.
- Lightning: Destroys one whole vertical column.
- Firecracker: Destroys along a horizontal row in whatever direction it faces.
- Bomb: Destroys four neighboring squares in a plus-sign configuration.
- Magic Stick: In a silhouette puzzle, it will place any items behind it over their correct silhouettes, if there are any open slot like them.