In this game, a colored square will reveal in the center and a video pencil will draw a picture as a die counts down from six. The gamers must buzz in and answer what the picture is. If they guess two wrong letters or they waste time, they will be locked out from guessing the current puzzle; if all four players are locked out, the game will report No-One Can Answer, and players will be presented with a new puzzle from the same category and color. A player who wishes to answer must buzz in before the die reaches zero. If a player solves the puzzle, the player will gain a marker for the puzzle's color and then move a number of spaces equal to the face showing on the die. Victory is achieved by collecting all four color markers on each of the boards.
So yes, it's basically Pictionary, only in video game form, and surprisingly, better in quality compared to the actual NES Pictionary game.
There are 4 color puzzles (5 in levels 3 and 4):
- Grey (Only on levels 3 and 4).
The Tokens are:
- Player One controls The Shoes
- Player Two controls The Trumpet
- Player Three controls The Teddy Bear
- Player Four controls The Ice-Cream Cone
Anticipation provides examples of:
- A.I. Roulette: To balance out the Computer's perfect ability to play, occasionally it'll buzz in, only for its "guess" to be a string of symbols with a few letters from the correct answer. This can be a clue to human players capable of filling in the blanks.
- Bladder of Steel: The pause function will not work during puzzles.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Since it's hard to program otherwise, if the AI buzzes in, it will get the correct answer. (Unless it decides to throw the question.) On harder difficulties, the AI-controlled opponents tend to guess puzzles within seconds, sometimes even before the picture starts getting drawn and without a category to go off of.
- Do Well, But Not Perfect: You don't necessarily want to ring in right away. Your goal is to complete a puzzle of every colour - and on higher difficulties, avoid the Drop-Out Squares on level 4 - so you'll want to ring in when the counter die reads the right number. The caveat (and why the game is named Anticipation) is that the longer you wait for the die, the more time the other players have to solve the puzzle ahead of you...
- Easter Egg: The Grey Puzzle. When you land on Feature Square and prevent your token from flying around the board (by rapidly pressing A), it will eventually fully stop and start a puzzle. Sadly, solving it doesn't count to your progress.
- Visual Pun: The advanced Whatchamacallit category is full of visual puns that you have to decipher to guess.
- Whammy: On the Hard- and Very Hard-exclusive Level 4, there is a black square (though more of a hole in the board) called The Drop-Out Square. If you "land" on any of those, you will fall back to Level 3.