Gameplay-wise, the game is very similar to previous 8-bit installments, although Tails is now playable and can fly, a first in any Sonic game. Tails' levels are considerably easier, but he cannot enter the Special Stages to collect the Chaos Emeralds. Sonic's levels are more akin to classic games, with added difficulty, but Sonic can now collect the Emeralds and win the good ending, as well as have access to power-ups such as hover boots and spring shoes.
The game contains six full levels, each with a robotic boss to defeat:
- Turquoise Hill Zone
- Gigapolis Zone (or Gigalopolis)
- Sleeping Egg Zone
- Mecha Green Hill Zone
- Aqua Planet Zone
- Electric Egg Zone
Sonic Chaos did not receive any kind of adaptation in Sonic the Comic, outside of lead characters Sonic, Tails and Robotnik making continued appearances. Not a single Badnik from the title made its way to the comic. Indeed, it wasn't until Issue 250 of Sonic the Comic Online that any aspect of the game appeared in the comic, with several heroes fighting The Battle For Mobius in the Turquoise Hill Zone. Casey of the Kid Chameleon series was supposed to be playing Sonic Chaos in second story Back to Unreality!, fooling readers into thinking his stories of adventure were merely taken from his first adventure.
In the Issue 12 of the Review Zone, relatively new staff member Vincent Low was taked with analysing the game and confidently announced he was the first person to complete Sonic Chaos in Europe! Low awarded the game 85%, stating it was a "brilliantly playable and very challenging" game, but complained that it looked similar to other Sonic games. As a breakdown, playability was given the full 85%, graphics 80% and sound only 75%.
Despite the game being regarded as an easy Sonic game, the Q Zone was dedicated to walking through the game from Issue 23 to Issue 26. Vincent Low covered the levels themselves in the first two parts, before helping out with the bosses in the final two.