The gameplay centers on exploring the namesake dungeon known as the Dark Spire while improving the skills and stats of your characters by gaining experience.
An alignment system and a class system are included in The Dark Spire. Your alignment affects who can join your party, what skills can be learned by party members of different classes, and even equipment choices. The Spire is explored in a first-person perspective, and many classical RPG elements are included, such as random encounters and equipment. The player is tasked to find and defeat the Archmage Tyrhung at the top of the Dark Spire and to retrieve a necklace from him.
The Dark Spire is a throwback to old first-person dungeon crawler RPGs, such as The Bard’s Tale or Wizardry. As a tribute, the game can be set in a mode which renders graphics and sound/music which could have been produced in a game dating to the late 1980s or early 1990s. The difficulty is based on those of said legacy games in that very little is explained to the player and thus the combat system may seem somewhat chaotic (for example, the weapons and armor do not explain how they mitigate or increase damage output).
- Homage to classic RPGs — Take back the age of the great classic RPGs where you build your perfect party from the ground up. Shrewd strategy is required to navigate tough dungeon floors with limited resources, earning experience by taking on 80 different enemies out to end you.
- Dual dungeon modes — The traditional RPG experience is fully realized in Classic Mode, which offers a black-and-white wireframe dungeon environment reminiscent of the nostalgic PC RPGs. Switch back to Modern Mode to update to the full 3-D atmosphere of The Dark Spire.
- A captivating story of mist and shadow — A second person narrative reaches out from the game to speak to you of codpieces and killer rabbits, enveloping the gamer in an unforgettable adventure that offers three possible endings.