Exit DS consists of over 100 levels in which the player takes control of Mr. Esc who must rescue people from various conditions (Flames, Smoke, Ice, etc.). To do so, the player must move Mr. Esc and the Escapees, either with the stylus or the control pad, and have them perform various actions throughout the puzzle-like levels, such as moving boxes, extinguishing flames and breaking icicles.
Each different character possess a different set of abilities and problems. For example, Large People can push heavier objects, but need the help of two Adults to climb higher than 1 meter.
Each level has a timer that indicates the time limit for the current stage. Depending on how fast the level was completed, the player gets a score up to 100%.