Samantha Swift and the Fountains of Fate is the fourth installment of a hidden object series starring an archaeologist adventurer, where she must travel around the world to recover artifacts before evil organizations. This time she's after the Emerald of Judgement, the key to the legendary Fountain of Youth.
The gameplay follows a simple pattern, where initially the player has to find all the items from a list at the bottom of the screen, with two full listings of objects to be found on each scene. The list entries can be selected to show their silhouettes on the scanner grid at the bottom-left corner. Some of the entries are written as riddles, like "mimic expert" for a parrot and other clues. Entries written in green are hidden from view, and only become visible after some scenery interaction.
The hint button is a lightning bolt that, when activated, shoots electric arcs towards a selected list entry to reveal its position. Extra hints can be collected as bolts placed discreetly around the scenery. There are two swift birds hidden on each location, and the player must find most of them to unlock the unlimited mode at the main menu, where the goal is to find all the objects from a previously visited scene as fast as possible.
After finding all the list objects, some of them are stored inside inventory slots at the bottom-right corner, from where they have to be dragged and dropped on appropriate and logical portions of the scenery to complete a task or perform a required action. Some locations have mini-games that take place on a separate screen, where the player has to arrange boards on a fence to form a picture, connect a series of shells to recreate patterns and complete other similar challenges.