Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary is a new take on the classic Boulder Dash game to honour the game's 30th anniversary following the original launch in 1984. The basic concept is kept intact: the player controls the character Rockford through caves where it is possible to dig through walls. The goal is to collect enough gems to open up the portal used to exit the level. Levels have boulders that drop down when room is created below and there are also enemies that can be crushed by getting boulders to drop on them. The game uses the same 2D side view, but now with 2.5D graphics.
The game contains 220 levels divided over eleven worlds. Based on the performance up to three stars can be earned per level and these are used to unlock new worlds. Each world has a different theme with titles such as Boulder Mountain, Jade Garden, Big Stone Dragon, Bit Box, 20 Shades of Gray, Halloween and so on. It also contains remastered levels of the original game and new levels designed by the original creator Peter Liepa. Some additional worlds are offered as DLC. Worlds often introduce new elements such as a green amoeba that spreads with each move filling up the available space until it reaches a certain size and then turns into gems. There are also heads that transform boulders passing through into gems and vice versa. Many characters can be unlocked, each with a specific perk. They are unlocked by collecting different types of loot, provided through treasure chests that can be located in levels. Completed levels also provide gold bars that can be exchanged for power-ups such as dynamite to blow up certain types of rocks, spyglasses to preview the entire environment, freeze power-ups to halt time for a moment, and a score multiplier. Gold can also be used to continue when dead, as a single encounter with a falling boulder or enemy ends the level. Next to the classic movement it is possible to stand still and grab a rock in one of four directions instead of digging through it. It is also the first Boulder Dash game to support diagonal movement and walls.
The PC version has three difficulty levels. Next to Casual there is Normal with a time limit for levels and Hardcore where falling gems are also deadly. The Steam PC version has an editor to create custom levels and share them through the Workshop. Unlike the PC version that came two years later the mobile release is free-to-play with in-app purchases for gold, power-ups, chests and to remove advertisements.