Gameplay in Killbots is divided into rounds. Each round begins with the hero in the middle of the grid and with enemies placed randomly around him. The round ends when all enemies have been destroyed. As each round is completed, the number of enemies increases. The number and type of the enemies added is game type dependent.
The grid will continue to fill with enemies until one of two things occurs: enemies occupy more than 50 percent of the cells or a safe teleport is attempted, but there are no safe cells in the grid. Once either of these occurs, the current round is abandoned and the enemy counts are reset to those used in the first round.
There really is no such thing as winning in Killbots; the hero attempts to survive as long as possible, but the depressing reality is that, in the end, his luck will run out. Therefore, the goal in Killbots is to accumulate the highest score possible before the inevitable occurs. The ten highest scores (along with the round reached) are recorded in the high score dialog.
Points are awarded for destroying enemies. Fastbots are usually worth more than regular robots. Bonus points may also be awarded for enemies destroyed while pushing a junkheap or waiting out the round.
In addition to points, the hero can also collect energy as the game progresses. Energy allows the hero to perform safe teleports and/or use the vaporizer. Depending on the game type, energy can be awarded for a variety of reasons including completing a round, pushing a junkheap or destroying enemies while waiting out the round.
The amount of energy that the hero can store is capped at a game type determined maximum. In some game types the maximum increases as rounds are completed. The energy status display is only visible if the current game type includes energy and safe teleports.