Rugrats Go Wild is based on the 2003 animated film of the same name, which crosses over the Nickelodeon TV series Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. It is broadly similar to the movie's adaptation for PC, but has its own interpretation of the movie's story and unique level design and gameplay.
Both the Rugrats and the Thornberrys are stranded on an uninhabited island after a storm wrecked their ship. Players will control Timmy, Eliza and Lil & Phil on their quest to find missing family members. The maze-like island is seen from an overhead view. When another character is found, they usually offer a fetch mission - finding items like fish, magazines, boots, keys, etc. When the item is found and returned, either the path to the next level or a mini-game will open up. Most of the mini-games fall into two categories: a side-scrolling platformer and a top-down racing game.
In the platformer, the goal is to defeat a number of animals by throwing gooshy balls at them. The balls can be collected both on the main island map as well as in the side-scrolling levels. Once all animals are defeated, a fight against a tougher boss follows. The racing game has varying objectives, like chasing an animal or collecting a number of objects on the track. Once that goal is reached, there is also a boss confrontation: the boss is trying to catch the player and the goal is to keep away from him until a time limit runs out. Completing a mini-game will usually award an item that another character needs.
Should the player get hurt during a mini-game, glowing balls can be collected to refill the health bar (represented by a milk bottle for the Rugrats and a water bottle for Eliza Thornberry). An overview map of the whole island can be used to quickly move to places already explored. Progress in the game is saved via passwords.