Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a level-based third-person action-adventure video game, where the player assumes the role of one out of four versions of Spider-Man, spanning across the Amazing, Noir, 2099, and Ultimate universes. Gameplay revolves around each Spider-Man's unique superhuman abilities; players are able to web swing, web zip, crawl walls, and use the 'spider-sense' to identify enemies or objects of interest. The combat of the game offers a large variety of fighting moves, and each Spider-Man has his own fighting style. The points necessary for buying upgrades and new fighting moves are earned from defeating enemies or completing various challenges in the "Web of Destiny". The points earned can also be used to purchase 16 alternate costumes (four for each Spider-Man), which do not provide any gameplay advantages and are purely cosmetic.
The game features numerous supervillains from classic Spider-Man comics as bosses; some of the villains are created exclusively for the game, such as the 2099 versions of Hobgoblin and Doctor Octopus, and the Noir version of Hammerhead. All bosses are usually fought twice in a level, and during the second battle, they possess a new series of powers, granted to them by the Tablet of Order and Chaos, requiring players to change their strategy. During specific parts of the boss battles, Shattered Dimensions switches to a first-person perspective, where the player can use the analog sticks (or the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in the Wii version) to control Spider-Man's arms, punching their opponent and dodging their attacks. Three different types of punches are available.
There are several drastic gameplay differences from a Spider-Man to another. For example, the Spider-Man Noir levels require players to hide in the shadows and take down enemies stealthly, whereas the Ultimate Spider-Man levels put more emphasis on combat and often have the player fighting large crowds of enemies; this is possible due this version of Spider-Man being provided with the symbiote black suit by Madame Web that increases his strength. The Spider-Man 2099 levels feature unique free falling segments and a bullet time mechanic, which allows players to slow down time to dodge incoming projectiles.
Nintendo DS version
The Nintendo DS version of Shattered Dimensions is a side-scrolling brawler with little gameplay difference between the multiple iterations of Spider-Man. This version also omits Ultimate Spider-Man, and features less villains: Electro and the Tinkerer for the Amazing Spider-Man; Boomerang and Calypso for Spider-Man Noir; and Vulture and Silvermane for Spider-Man 2099. Not all the moves are available at the beginning, and can be unlocked as players progress through the game. While most of the action is played with pad and button controls, the touchscreen is used to play a mini-game in between levels to help Spider-Man use the Tablet to travel between dimensions.