Payload is a 3D combat racing game. The plot is set in the future, on one of the off-world planets, where a new and effective fuel type called Furium has been found. Due to the lack of better prospects, player assumes the role of a courier who has to find and deliver the valuable minerals, and on the way back has to fight off gangs of marauders and other delivery workers who'd like to get their hands on his payload. There's a story mode in the game which is told through the comic-like cut-scenes.
What puts Payload aside from many racing games is an open-world approach to level design, instead of a set of fixed linear tracks. On those levels or arenas the player could traverse in a hovercraft, pick up the minerals, race or fight the enemies, pick up power-ups and such. There are 11 different "skims" as the vehicles are called in the game and 10 worlds to explore. The looks and loadouts could be customized between the stages.
Graphically it is a combination of 3D landscapes and vehicles, and 2D objects, such as debris or boulders on the map. Besides the single player mode, there's a four player multiplayer option via Bluetooth. N-Gage Arena features included unlockable vehicles, uploadable rankings and customizable race conditions.