The game is a kart racing game, and the player can perform jumps, flips, and rolls. There are many different stages from scenes of the franchise. A Madagascar Kartz themed Wheel controller accessory was optionally bundled with the Wii version of the game.
Playable characters include Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippopotamus, The Penguins, The Chimps, and King Julien from the Madagascar films. Two characters from other movies are included alongside the Madagascar characters, Shrek from Shrek, and B.O.B. from Monsters vs. Aliens, all DreamWorks Animation franchises. Race types include Quick Race, Championship, Time Trial and Checkpoint race. A Championship race is one where the player collects mangoes and tries to finish first place in order to unlock higher speed classes (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, 200cc, the last one is raced in reverse direction/mirror mode), more karts and tracks. In Time Trial, players beat their own times and earn medals (gold, silver and bronze). In Checkpoint Race, players collect as many hourglasses as they can before the time runs out. There are several tracks in the game, most of which have 2 shortcuts. "I Like to Move It", sung by Reel 2 Real, is the menu theme.