Yar's Revenge is the Atari 2600 title Yars' Revenge reimagined as a third-person rail shooter similar to Panzer Dragoon or Sin and Punishment. In this game the Yar have been enslaved and brainwashed by the evil Qotile. The Yar are used as attack teams that are used to expand the Qotile's control of the galaxy. The player takes control of one young female Yar who is injured and close to death before she is rescued by an ancient Yar. The young Yar gets a lesson about the history and why they must seek revenge against the Qotile. Now she sets out on a quest to fight and defeat the Qotile so that peace can be restored.
The game is played from a third-person perspective and the Yar moves automatically forward along a predefined path through the levels. The player aims and shoots at the countless enemies that comes into her way while also moving around the screen to avoid being shot. The Yar has plenty of firepower. Primary weapons are the pulse laser which is fast and has unlimited ammo and the railgun which is powerful but needs to cool down for a few seconds between shots. There are also missiles that can be launched at up to six targets at a time. Enemies sometimes drop pick-ups that can be used to enhance the player's capabilities. These include the annihilator that increases damage, the seeker that seeks out enemies and the defender that destroys enemy projectiles. The player also has a shield which can be used to recharge health, however it's not possible to attack while it is in use.
For every enemy and boss killed the player is awarded points. As this happens the multiplier gauge will increase in level and the points earned are then multiplied with this number. Being out of combat for to long will lead to the multiplier being reset.