Gangstar: Crime City is an open world sandbox action game similar to the two first games in the Grand Theft Auto series. The player takes control of a gangster who has left his hometown and now is trying to make his name in one of the gangs of Crime City. The aim is to become the biggest gang leader in town but the player has to start at the bottom by settling a debt with the local godfather.
Like in other open world games, the player can explore the world freely either on foot or in a vehicle. The city is viewed from a top down perspective and includes various areas such as the beaches, docks, upscale neighborhoods and a grimy downtown area. The player will come across different local godfathers on whose behalf it is possible to take on more than sixty missions. Cars can be stolen and it is possible to do drive-bys. When moving around on foot auto aim is used to make shooting easier. Most missions involve taking out rival gang members but the game also allows the player to partake in side activities such as street racing, running restaurants and launching a recording label.