The Phoenix armada is about to invade Earth. Before they reach the atmosphere, you must pilot a ship and defeat each of their different attack waves and turn them away from Earth. The first two waves are the scouts, the second two waves are the soldiers, and the final wave is the mothership. Get past the scouts and the soldiers to earn the chance to destroy the mothership and rescue mankind.

Phoenix features three different scenarios across five different stages. The first two stages have the player fighting against small space birds. The next two stages pit the player against much larger falcon-like birds. The final stage is the showdown against the mothership. In addition to firing upwards, the ship can also erect a temporary shield that destroys the birds.