Sonic Rivals 2 is a platforming game with 2D gameplay in a 3D environment where you race another character to the finish line of each stage, just as the first game. Characters still obtain various power ups throughout the stage to attack their rival. The Boss stages are also the same in that you have to defeat the boss before your rival does. Players still collect cards for completing various challenges.
The playable character roster includes all the characters from the previous game (Sonic, Knuckles, Shadow, Silver, and Metal Sonic) along with the addition of Tails, Espio the Chameleon, and Rouge the Bat.
There is an added Freeplay mode so that you may play stages previously cleared without having to race against another character. Some additions were made to the multiplayer challenges including Knockout, Ring Battle, Race, King of the Hill, Capture the Chao, and Tag play modes.