Barbie Explorer is a game much in the style of the Tomb Raider series. Barbie is a reporter doing a story about a local museum when she learns of a mystical mirror that is missing four shards. If it is reassembled, it will have great power. She sets out across the world to find them.
Barbie has a wide variety of moves, such as jumping, diving and rolling and she can collect new shoes to gain new abilities, like spring shoes for extra jumping height or hiking boots for better traction. After she jumps and climbs her way through the obstacles of a level, she must fight a boss for a piece of the mirror.
A two-player mode is included where Barbie competes with Theresa to complete levels, with the goal to lose the fewest number of lives and collect the most gems.