The player acts as pilot for a cargo ship, performing space runs for various corporations. The ship is a flat platform made up of hexagonal tiles. The player places weapons and modules on the tiles in order to defend the ship from enemies and hazards. Different structures have varying placement requirements, or may require more than one tile to be placed. For example, most weapons must be placed facing outward into empty space, while some require power to be supplied by an adjacent power source.
Modules and weapons are built using a resource represented by a lug nut. This resource slowly accrues on its own, but destroyed targets drop varying amounts that can be collected by moving the cursor over them. Each corporation provides a different type of cargo, which must be placed or arranged according to its characteristics. One corporation provides simple cargo crates, as well as a mechanic module that can produce more cargo crates during the mission in order to increase the mission reward. Another corporation provides passenger modules, which must face outward, limiting space for weapons.