Eien no Love Song is a turn-based strategy game set in the universe of the anime series Macross. The game focuses on the series' central plot: humanity's battle against the giant humanoid Zentradi aliens. Game progression is linear and mission-based; each mission is a tactical battle that takes place on a top-down screen. Goals and conditions of a mission may vary, though usually elimination of all enemies is required.
The player controls various pilots, most notably Kiryu and his companion, a young woman named Retorade. Most pilots navigate space ships that can also transform into a mecha form. Both player-controlled and alien units are equipped with weapons that have different ranges and damage parameters. certain types of ships and mechas also have special abilities, such as healing. Battles between units flow automatically and are shown as animated scenes on separate screens.