Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX on the Game Boy Color is based on developer HotGen's earlier Road Champs and uses that game's engine for the handheld adaptation of Activision's Tony-Hawk-style BMX game.
The player can choose from one of eight professional BMX bikers, each with unique signature moves. Game modes include a comprehensive training section, where in five areas, basic controls as well as all manner of air, grind and combo tricks are taught. The main mode is the career: in each level, a number of goals must be completed to earn magazine covers, which in turn unlock further levels. Goals include reaching high scores (including time challenges), finding and collecting stars or letters, and performing certain tricks or trick combinations, sometimes without any crashes in between. Next to the goals, there are also competitions that award medals when one finishes in the top three scores for a level. Career mode consists of five different levels, featuring dirt, street and vert areas. The free ride mode allows one to practice unlocked levels without limits or restrictions. The final game mode is a time trial: the goal is to reach the end of a special track within a time limit, where performing tricks increases available time.
The game shows the player's biker from a side-scrolling perspective. Movement in the levels is not free-roaming, but limited to lanes that can only be switched at certain points. Tricks are performed through button combinations when in the air or at certain objects. Performing moves without bailing raises a power bar, that when full, allows the biker's signature moves to be performed.
Progress in the game is saved through use of a password feature.