Tangled's gameplay consists of a mix of platforming and puzzle elements and is designed with a heavy emphasis on two-player cooperative gameplay. The player controls Rapunzel, a princess with magical hair abducted by Mother Gothel since childhood, and a second player can control Flynn Rider, a fugitive thief who seeks refuge in Rapunzel's tower after stealing a crown. If a player plays alone, they can switch between Rapunzel and Flynn when needed, with the other character controlled by the game's artificial intelligence. Rapunzel's room acts as a central hub with which main story missions, challenges and a coloring activity can be accessed.
Each character has their own special abilities, in keeping with the film's overarching story–Rapunzel can heal the environment and grow flowers using her magical hair, while Flynn can cut through shrubbery and other obstacles using his saber. In addition, Rapunzel can also use her hair as a makeshift rope to hoist Flynn onto higher ground or swing her way through certain tree branches. Both characters have their own respective meter which fills up upon performing certain actions such as collecting orbs and coins scattered across the level, healing flowers or engaging in melee combat, with Flynn being able to perform a special attack once the meter is full. Both players are armed with their own weapons–a frying pan for Rapunzel and a saber for Flynn; Flynn can fully incapacitate enemies while Rapunzel can only repel them.