Dead Island: Epidemic is an arena based hack-and-slash action game and a spin-off of the Dead Island series. The game is viewed from a bird's-eye view perspective and the character is controlled directly with the keyboard to move around and the mouse to shoot and slash at zombies and competing human players. In addition to the ordinary weapon attacks it is also possible to do a secondary attack which is powerful but consumes rage. Rage is generated by doing the primary attacks.
The game consists of three game modes: starter missions, crossroads and scavenger. Starter missions are PvE missions for a single player meant to prepare the player for the scavenger and crossroads modes. Crossroads missions are PvE too but more challenging and made for four players who have to cooperate against AI opponents. The players have to answer calls from Dr. Bauer, the leader of their group of survivors, who send them out on missions to save civilians, grab supplies from vehicles and clear areas of zombies. The scavenger mode is PvP and involves three teams, each with four players, who have to collect vital supplies and hold key strategic points.