Aegis Wing is a side-view scrolling shooter, where the player controls a small ship pitted against countless foes. While the scrolling backgrounds in the game are strictly non-interactive, the player must also avoid stationary mines positioned at certain points. There is a boss at the end of some stages, requiring numerous shots to defeat.
While the ship has only a single non-upgradeable main weapon, the player can collect one of four power-ups to grant access to a super weapon with a limited number of uses. Only a single super weapon can be carried at once
The title supports up to four players playing cooperatively, either on the same console or via Xbox Live. If more than one player is playing, players can choose to temporarily attach their ship to that of their allies. When this occurs, one player pilots the combined ship, while the remaining player(s) are able to fire in a 360-degree arc. The super weapons become more powerful with each ship added to the formation. In co-op, when a player dies, destroyed enemies sometimes leave behind a "back ship" power-up; the surviving players can pick this up to resurrect one of their dead teammates.