The mode is a survival with the goal to collect enough golden eggs from boss Salmonids to pass into the next round before the time limit runs out. If the quota is failed or all the players are knocked out, the game will end. The egg basket is usually found in a central area of the map, but can move around certain maps due to rising tides or changing enemy types. Before each wave of enemies, players are given ten seconds to prepare. If a team member is splatted, instead of restarting at a spawn point as with Turf War, players instead resurface from the ink as a white lifesaver ring and can be revived by their own team's friendly fire.
The player's weapons are randomized from a set for each wave. All weapons can appear during the rotations of Salmon Run maps. Each player can use their special weapon a total of two times across each of the three rounds. Generally speaking, the four weapons given offer a balance of long-range, short-range, rapid-fire and slower firing weapons.
Upon finishing a shift, the player will receive experience based on their performance and go through the ranks. As the player increases their rank, the game will become more difficult. At the 'Profreshional' tier, Hazard Level MAX!! will unlock which increases the quotas and makes enemies more aggressive. When playing with friends, only the lowest ranked player will progress. If the players fail to complete at least 2 rounds, they will lose points. Players can earn bonus clothing items exclusive to this mode, in addition to tickets to give to Crusty Sean. If the player earns a bonus item or piece of clothing they already own, they can instead swap it for money.
While the mode currently supports 5 different maps, one map will be playable at any given time according the current Salmon Run event in the schedule.
These enemies are the most common in Salmon Run and leave behind trails of dark green ink as they slither and jump across the map to attack the player. There are three different sizes and they either wield metal frying pans or wooden spoons.
Smallfry: these small fish can move quickly and hop to attack the player. They also often accompany the Boss Salmonid, Maws, as a group of three. They try to and trap the player into Maws' attack diameter. They can also be lethal if they surround the player near water or in a corner.
Chum: these medium-sized fish attack the player with frying pans and can also come in small clusters. They can often attack whilst players are busy fighting Boss Salmonids.
Cohock: the largest salmonid enemy before the boss types
They can also appear in large groups in special, one-off waves.
In addition to splatting regular sized Salmonids (growing in size from Smallfry, to Chum and Cohock), the players must also team up to defeat boss salmonids with a variety of powers and weak points. These are larger, mechanical beasts, piloted by enemy Salmonids. A message pops up in the top-left of the screen each time: "Boss Salmonid Alert!" accompanied by the noise of a ship's horn blasting twice.
Stinger: this enemy resembles a tower of saucepans stacked up and its attack is similar to the [name] from Turf War.
Steel Eel: this snake-like enemy has headlamps for eyes, a large motorcycle wheel inside its mouth and is ridden by a Salmonid at the end of its tail. Its body hovers and covers the ground underneath it with ink. The mouth is a strong point and will generally splat players instantly.
Flyfish: this enemy pilots a spherical aircraft with two large cuboids attached to each side which open up lids and fire out missile strikes, similar to the Tenta Missiles from Turf War. Players must throw splat bombs into each attachment to successfully down the Flyfish.
Sometimes, instead of a regular wave, an event will occur which instead of random enemies.
- Fog: during the round, thick fog will envelop the entire map, making it difficult to spot and splat enemies.
- The Goldie:
- The Mothership:
- Group of Cohocks: