Naval War: Arctic Circle is a real-time strategy game where the player battles enemy naval and aerial forces for power and ultimate world domination. The game includes real units from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Russia, the Scandinavian countries and others. The game is set in 2030 around an imagined conflict in the Arctic Circle. It takes place along the Norwegian and British coast, through Iceland and Greenland all the way to the North Americas and the North West Passage with over 35 million square km of open sea and coast line. Next to the tutorial there are two main campaigns: one from a Russian and one from a NATO perspective. There is no pause function available, but time compression can be activated.
The game environment presented on the screen is divided in two horizontal parts. The bottom part takes up one third and contains two 2D maps, commands and an overview of the units. The larger, top part is used to display the 3D environment. The gameplay stresses verticality, with the ability to zoom in from orbit to deep in the ocean to control different types of units that are aerial, surface and subsurface. The focus is also often on stealth, remaining undetected and tracing the opponent. Next to the campaign there is a skirmish mode and multiplayer through LAN and online. Next to regular combat the player also has to use long range guided and self-guided weaponry.