An abstract take on the 3d racing genre, Tropical Angel puts the player in control of a female water-skier who must dodge the many rocks that protrude from the water while attempting to steer through a set number of gates - in the form of a pair of flags - before the time limit expires. The acceleration button needs to be held down all the time while the 'trick' button makes the water-skiing girl spin through one-eighty degrees and proceed to ski backwards. The player cannot steer while traveling backwards, but will earn bonus points for the duration of the trick. As the game progresses, small ramps, buoys and sharks come into play. The small ramps can be jumped to add to the player's score, although they're always in difficult to reach locations. The buoys are usually very close together, but skiing between them earns bonus points. Finally, the shark will appear from time-to-time, running into it means game over, regardless of how much time the player has left.