Xotic is a first-person shooter with a focus on racking up large scores. To complete a level the player has to defeat all the enemies. There are three different kinds of enemies: monsters, turrets and enemy spawners. Killing these earns the player large amounts of points but there are also other ways to score. All around the levels are scab plants that are small red organic blobs that the orb has placed around the world. By removing these (shooting at them) the player banishes the orb and terraforms the levels back into their original state. Scab plants are often placed in clusters and as one is destroyed chain reactions are created. The longer the chain the player is able to create, the more points he gets. To keep the chain alive a new scab plant has to be destroyed within five seconds of the last. At the end of a level the player gets bonus points based on completion time, accuracy and amount of terraforming.
In combat the Macroterra is used. It is a device that can be upgraded with eight different weapons. This include the shotgun-esque crusher, the sniper-like slayer, the explosive bombug, and the volt that stuns the enemy. The player can also upgrade his own character with four different skills. These are health, energy (needed to fire special ammo), barkskin (armour) and absorption (attracting health, energy and score globes to the player). Globes are dropped from destroyed enemies or items, and restores health and energy or increases the score. The player can also pick up power-ups that grant special abilities for a limited time. This include regenerating health, increased rate of fire, and the possibility to do additional jumps while in the air.
The player can also create a hologram with his hologram emitter. These are solid objects that the player can stand on. If the player is in the air when using it, the hologram will be created beneath him. The holograms are useful for reaching distant parts of the levels that otherwise can't be reached. Exploring the levels is encouraged and the player can find hidden orb brains that give large amounts of points when destroyed.