In Happy Wheels, players are in control of multiple different vehicles including a two-wheeler, a cart, motorcycle, bike and more. Also the type of vehicle and character that the player chooses will handle differently during gameplay as well. The goal of the game is to reach the end of the level still alive. While this might seem like an easy task, it can sometimes be a challenge. The physics-engine of the Happy Wheels game allows for ultra-realistic physics that are relative to everyday life events.

For example, when one launches into the air, they will realistically tilt backwards or forwards and will land according to their velocity of impact. Oftentimes this can include the player's character being flown through the air like a rag doll until they sustain bodily injuries. Once characters have sustained injuries there could also be detached limbs, blood and sometimes other objects might also crash into the player.

The levels of the game are all user-created and there is a Level Editor link on the main page that allows users to create their own levels. There are many different aspects that a user can take advantage of when creating a level so they can create it to their satisfaction. The player can control their character by using the directional keys to either accelerate, lean forward, lean back or brake.

Additionally, players can press down the Shift, Control and Z keys to eject their character from the ride. Once ejected from the ride, if the space bar is pressed while airborne, the character will grab. This can be used to grab and hang onto a bar or other object after ejecting.

The user-created levels all have varying rules and guidelines to play by. Each user-created level has a description of what the level entails and what the players goals and objectives are. Once the user has been read the details of the specific level, they may then begin playing it by clicking on the "Play Now" arrow. Typically, each user-created level also gives the player a choice of which character they would like to pick when starting the level. After they have chosen their character, they may then begin the level.