Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is a 2.5D action game set three months after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins. Batman catches Catwoman as she attempts to steal from an enterprise and during the encounter they are interrupted by security guards who do not want Batman to interfere. After a chase that also acts as the tutorial, he learns from Catwoman that the Arkham Blackgate prison has been taken over by Black Mask, Joker and Penguin. They each control a different part of the prison (the industrial complex, administration and cell blocks respectively) and have taken hostages. Batman ventures inside to restore order and he can choose which area to tackle first.
The game is played on a 2D plane, but with the option to move up and down as well. There are also many sequences, for instance when using the grappling hook combined with different camera perspectives, that Batman seemingly moves around as with full 3D movement and many rooms also have multiple vantage points. The game borrows many mechanics from the main games in the series. During combat Batman can punch, kick, counter, evade and string together combos. The grappling hook is used to move around quickly. He can also run, jump, hang from ledges (and do takedowns from there) and shimmy. By touching and holding the screen an analyzer is activated to scan the area. This can highlight objects important to progress and Batman can for instance interact with them by throwing the batarang. A detective mode is activated to highlight objects in yellow and enemies in red by swiping (Vita) or using the circle pad (3DS). In this mode clues can also be revealed to solve side mysteries and sometimes it is the only way to get access to additional WayneTech. Batman can switch between targets, keep track of them, and for instance attack from the air with a glide kick.
Borrowing elements from the metroidvania genre, the game requires backtracking to open up new routes when certain items have been found, such as an explosive gel or the batclaw, in additional to the batarang provided at the start of the game. There are small amount of stealth, but usually as a means of environment based puzzle solving (i.e. not getting killed instantly) instead of an alternative approach. Batman can for instance rappel up to the rafters or hide in sewer gates. There are one-on-one bossfights and these rely heavily on quick time events. There are also enemies not present in the main Origins game, such as Catwoman and Bronze Tiger. Cut-scenes are shown as still, drawn images with voiceovers and minor animations.