Hawken is a free-to-play multiplayer-only first-person shooter that puts the player inside a mechanized war machine on different battlefields. The Mechs have several upgrades of useful items and weapons and the improvements can be unlocked by progression or buying. The gameplay is fast-paced action with strategy elements in various game modes that offer both regular duels and matches with territorial objectives: deathmatch, team deathmatch, missile assault, siege, and co-op bot destruction.
There are sixteen classes of mechs available, each with a specific playing style. Every mech starts with a single primary weapon and secondary weapon with a specific ability can be bought in a garage after leveling up. There is a large variety of weapons and items to customize the load-out. Certain elements need to be unlocked with in-game transactions for real money.