It's a new fad in the real world, but in the video game world, it is a standard. Ever since The Legend of Zelda on the NES, using puzzles to navigate and escape a dungeon are fairly common.
Awareness Rooms is a small indie game that tries to mix up the formula a bit, with a unique gimmick: You start out in a very basic room. But, as you examine items, you grow to understand them and your environment better, and slowly add detail to everything.
Sounds interesting, right? Like you have to solve a puzzle with half the solution? Well... it is only partly that.
One thing you don't want in a game is an unusual leap of logic. One puzzle involves a bookcase; the top layer has a partly filled shelf, and the bottom has a full shelf. You find a clue that shows you a bookshelf, with two arrows, one on each shelf layer. Naturally, one would assume that means the books on the shelf need to be moved according to the arrows. However, you cannot interact with the books.
The solution to this puzzle involves a jewelry box with two buttons marked "S" and "L". You are supposed to turn the books into a code based on their length, and the arrows were what direction to write the code in. There are too many degrees of separation to find that train of logic normally, especially since all previous and all following puzzles only have one degree of separation between the clue and the solution.
But, another unfortunate problem is that the game is just plain tedious. The concept sounds cool, but in practice it is just running around examining and touching everything until the game says you can actually interact with them. Not to mention the controls are finnicky, though I am more willing to forgive an indie game for its control scheme.
The game is also really short... I beat it in an hour and 8 minutes. No guide, no assistance. Puzzle games shouldn't have this problem of being too short, by the simple fact that more puzzles and more puzzle rooms can easily be added. Even an indie game producer is capable of more. In total, there were 4 puzzle rooms in the game, with the last one being the easiest in a bizarre twist. This game should've had double that number at minimum, and introduce new mechanics within the room awareness idea, like changing objects causing the room awareness to go down... Or make fully aware of the room be dangerous to the player, so they have to figure out how to solve the room's puzzle with less knowledge, and to not interact wildly.
This game needed expanding upon to make it truly fun.