Bubble Bobble Neo! is a modern version of the classic 1986 arcade game Bubble Bobble, similar to Bubble Bobble Plus. The core gameplay remains identical. The twin dragons Bub and Bob (now as 3D character models) need to clear more than 100 single screen 2D platform levels by defeating all enemies. This game introduces two additional dragons, a magenta and a purple one (Pub and Beb), for four-player cooperative or competitive local games. Those four-player games are played in the Arrange mode (co-op), which introduces sloped platforms, and the VS mode (competitive). The regular mode is called Classic.
Levels consists of screens filled with platforms. The dragon needs to trap enemies by blowing bubbles and then jump into them when they are caught to make them disappear. Defeated enemies leave behind vegetables, fruit, candy and cake that can be collected for additional points. Other useful items are special candy (extends the bubble travel, increases the speed or allows bubbles to be fired consecutively), shoes (increases movement speed), dynamite (kills all enemies with a large explosion), orange parasol (warps three stages), Chakkun's heart (temporary invincibility), and crosses (creates lightning, floods the stage or lets the dragon breathe fire). All collected items are stored in an Item & Food collection. There are over 150 different items to discover.
Bubbles can also be used as temporary platforms by jumping on top of them and keeping the jump button pressed. This is called a Bubble Jump. Additional techniques are the Spin Burst and Chain Burst. In the Spin Burst you have to let several bubbles float your way and block their path. Once they have clumped up, the dragon can turn around to burst it with his spikes to cause a chain reaction. In a Chain Burst a burst bubble causes any touching bubble to burst as well.
In the VS mode players can trap each other in their bubbles. As long as a player is trapped points are earned. To free themselves, the left stick needs to be moved quickly. Advanced players can also hunt Extend Bubbles in the Classic mode. These are bubbles that contain the letters of the word "extend". When the word is formed, an extra life is provided. In the Arrange mode this is expanded to four words: "hero", "extend", "never" and "winner", for one, two, three and four extra lives respectively.