The games mix elements of adventure and puzzle gaming. In essence, the player must find the solution to each area (or level), consisting of one or more screens, in order to progress to the next.
An original aspect of the series is that the player usually controls multiple goblins as player characters, each of whom has a unique set of abilities (the number of letter i's in the word "Goblin" of the title indicates the number of characters that the player may control). The player may only control one character at a time but, depending on the specific scene, may switch characters at will. The original Gobliiins features a shared health system for all three characters, which meant that leaving characters in the wrong place could be detrimental, though this feature is not implemented in the sequels.
All games are available in CD format. The first three include voices instead of the "goblinish" talk that featured on the floppy disk versions. The CD version also censors the nudity featured in the original game.