The player plays as SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, Gary, Larry, or Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (Sandy, Squidward, Larry and Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy must be unlocked) and try to get to the end of difficult driving courses without the characters boat overturning. If the player successfully beats a driving course, they unlock a character and their boat parts. The driver and boat can be mixed and matched but it has no effect on gameplay. After the player beats all the courses they unlock a final course. When the final course is beaten, the player wins the game.
In addition to the boat being overturned, the player must also avoid falling into pits (which usually contain spikes) and touching goo in area 4.
There are a total of 6 worlds with 3 levels each.
The cave level and Greco-Roman level are the only world levels that can't be accessed from the start of the game. The player must beat the older 4 world levels to unlock the last 2 worlds.