Using an isometric perspective, Tropical Madness mimics the gameplay of Super Monkey Ball, except that you do not have to tilt platforms, and Sonic 3D Blast. You control Furrito, who lives with his fellow Furridos, reminiscent of squirrels, on an island. When they play with mysterious stars, an ancient snake god is awoken. All Furridos are locked up, except for you. By collecting stars and defeating enemies, you can free your friends.
Furrido can roll into four directions to find stars. Blue stars add to your time, which, upon running out, ends the game, yellow ones provide more time, and the rare purple ones open up bonus levels. The courses are tricky, with obstacles, loops, hills, ramps, rails, small paths, flaming pits, platforms and moving barrels. You can use the dash button to attack enemies, such as bats, snakes and crabs. When you fall over the edge, you can continue right away. In the bonus levels, you can fly, float or surf. The game comes with a short tutorial that introduces different key layouts to control Furrito.
There are nine levels, divided over the themes Rain Forest, Pearl Beach and Lost Temple, two bonus levels and a final boss.