Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds is 2D side-scrolling brawler set in a Japanese fantasy world and a spin-off of the fighting game Phantom Breaker. The player selects one from four young female characters: the student Mikoto, oracle Waka, Maid Itsuki or ninja Yuzuha. They fight against various monsters, robots, etc. and try to find the mysterious Phantom who has kidnapped the sister of one of the girls.
The game consists of several levels where large groups of enemies need to be defeated by stringing together moves into combos. As its origins are in one-on-one fighting, there are a larger amount of moves. Girls have access to weak, medium and strong attacks combined with special moves. They can also dash, break of cancel guard and jump between the foreground and the background to dodge. Each heroine uses her own weapon, like a spear or a sword. Through fights experience points are earned to access new skills from a small skill tree between levels.
Next to the single-player mode there is a cooperative mode, an arcade mode focused on clear times and high scores, and the competitive battlegrounds mode against other players.
The later PS4 release, called Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds - Overdrive introduces new skills and abilities for character customization, such as air dash attack, shadow attack and triple jump. Some of these are found in new, secret alternative routes that require certain conditions to unlock. These also lead to new items (such as Out Range and Aura items) and enemies. With the new abilities, some levels now have more enemies on the screen at once, but there are also more item drops. The game music has been re-arranged as well.