Yoshi's Island has a unique gameplay compared to other Mario games. Instead of Baby Mario/ Baby Luigi, Yoshi is the main playable character. Yoshi has a range of moves, such as swallow enemies, converting them into eggs and throwing them.
If the player holds down the jump button, Yoshi will pedal his feet furiously in the air; this allows him to stay airborne for a couple of seconds and gain a little extra height. This floating maneuver may be performed multiple times if necessary.
Yoshi can collect eggs during their travels. These eggs follow Yoshi along until they are thrown. Many of the game's puzzles involve bouncing eggs around the levels or skimming them over water to hit distant enemies or objects.
In addition to eggs, Yoshi may also collect keys to open locked doors. Special eggs can be acquired: yellow eggs, which create a coin when they hit an enemy, red eggs, which create two stars, and special flashing eggs, which produce a red coin upon hitting an enemy.
Eggs, which begin green, will turn yellow, then red, after bouncing off walls. The third time an egg hits a wall, however, it is destroyed. Rarely, one can find Fat Shyguys who, when digested, create giant green eggs, which are lobbed, instead of thrown.
They create a quake when they hit the ground, turning all enemies on the screen into stars. On a few levels, duck-like creatures (called Huffin' Puffins) can be acquired; these travel a short distance before returning to Yoshi.
Generators exist for green eggs, which create an egg for each time you bump into it. Similar boxes, only yellow and red, transform into a single egg of their color, rather than generate infinite numbers. Up to six objects can follow Yoshi at a time, whether they are eggs, keys or Puffins.