Strangeways is a survival horror game played on a mysterious island. Jonathan Castle's New York plane crashed and with no other humans or animals around, he starts exploring the island where he ended up. Soon, he hears voices in his head from a group calling themselves The Strangers. He explores the environment, collecting pieces of his journal and manuscripts about the history of the island. The different levels are inhabited by entities known as wraiths. These dwell the surroundings and charge when Jonathan approaches. They can be taken out by shooting white balls, based on telekinetic power and they can be charged for a stronger effect. When touched by a wraith, Jonathan starts losing his sanity, changing the screen's color and messing with the controls. This can only be restored partially by visiting monuments. The level ends when Jonathan discovers a crystal.
The game is played from a first-person perspective, with the keyboard for movement and the mouse for aiming and shooting. The game comes with level editor to design custom levels.