The Border Lands is a top-down shooter with a deliberately retro appearance, released online as a promotion for the then-upcoming release of Borderlands 2. The marketing material surrounding this browser game pretended that The Border Lands had originally come out on home consoles in the late 80s or early 90s, and that the original Borderlands was in fact a modern re-imagining of this "classic" game, now brought to players as a free online experience to celebrate its anniversary. In this way, it is similar to Dark Void Zero, a download-only game pretending to be an NES predecessor to the 2010 game Dark Void. It should be noted that despite these faux-retro stylings, the playable characters in The Border Lands consist of the default playable characters from Borderlands 2.
The Border Lands is a top-down shooter akin to Smash TV. One of four characters from Borderlands 2, each with their own separate attributes, can be selected to fight through waves of baddies who enter from all sides of the arena. In the process, the stock pistol that's given to the character can be upgraded through chests that appear when certain enemies are killed, allowing the character to pick between their current weapon or one of two other weapons, each with varying effects, rates of fire, clip size, and damage. The player's character levels up as well, gaining more health and better speed with every level increased. The main objective of the game is to fight through multiple waves of enemies, and amass enough cash to earn a high score on the leaderboard before their lives run out.