Up Hill Racing is a race sidescroller that has a semi-endless quality. A player's avatar drives various vehicles through different environments and levels.
The initial terrain features rocky, rolling mountain hills with green trees and wide open spaces. The player's avatar must reach a distance of 3,000 before they can unlock the next environment. The game makes the race so difficult that the player might need to drive along the same stretch of road several times to win. The vehicle quickly runs out of gas, flips over or backward and fails to initially have enough momentum and power combined to handle some steep hills.
The player improves their chances with each new race because the game allows them to keep the coins they collected before they failed to finish the level. They can use the coins to perform upgrades that make their vehicle faster and better able to handle the terrain. For example, they can improve the vehicle's power, acceleration and speed, fuel tank capacity and usage, ability to deal with bumps and the adhesion and stability of the tires in relation to the ground.