Nielsen's heuristics, some of the most-used heuristics for user interface design, are a great way to categorically examine game mechanics to explain which components either work well or work poorly. There are a total of ten of them, but I'm going to look at just one of them here: helping users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors (I'll be using HURDRE for short).
HURDRE is an important element of game mechanics in which the player can fail. In common cases like in games with a health bar or some equivalent, the player can recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors that cause them to receive damage. It can go like this: the player receives damage, the character they are controlling reacts, the health bar goes down, and then the player recovers. The error in this case is the event that damages the player. How the player can recognize, diagnose, and recover from that error is imperative to help them be successful. Let's start with recognition.
Recognition is the mechanism(s) through which the player can recognize that they have indeed made a mistake. The best way to frame this is to see what happens in the game when the player does something "wrong" or, in other words, how the game displays the error. Often times, games will have recognition mechanisms such as a decreasing health-bar visual effect, or a grunting sound effect, or a flinching visual effect, or even something as simple as a buzzing sound effect when the player makes an error. All of them play an important role in helping the player recognize and understand that they have made an error. So if the player is having trouble understanding if they did something wrong, then this is where to look. As a side note, it's preferable to keep the recognition mechanism as organic as possible in order to maintain immersion.
Diagnosis is the ability for a player to diagnose the error by correlating their error-inducing actions with the associated recognition mechanisms. Can the player figure out what they did to cause the error? If they can, then they've passed the diagnosis step; but if they can't, then there is a gap in their understanding between the recognition mechanism and their actions. This is to say that the player may understand what they're doing is wrong (recognition) but can't figure why what they're doing is wrong (diagnosis). The cause lies with the player's understanding of the game mechanic, whether of its purpose or its functionality. To address a problem with diagnosis is to address a misunderstanding with the game mechanic. In the best case, diagnosis lets the player learn from their mistakes and not make that error again.
Recovery is the ability for a player to recover from the error. It is a measure of how punishing the game is on player-made errors. For example, falling into a pit in Super Mario Bros. is an irrecoverable error because the player can't continue on and, instead, must restart from the last checkpoint. Tuning recovery is determined by the game mechanic's context within the game. Since Super Mario Bros. is defined by platforming, falling into a pit is the ultimate error; therefore, the punishment is irrecoverable. Contrast this with running into Goombas where getting hit by them (the error) only results in losing one health or death if the player was small Mario. It's not as punishing.
(Before wrapping up, I only really discussed systems in which health was one of the main factors, so I just want to re-emphasize that HURDRE is applicable to every game mechanic in which the player can fail.)
HURDRE is a feedback loop through which the player can learn through their mistakes/errors. A simple way to remember it is by asking what, (recognition), why (diagnosis), and now what (recovery). In every applicable game mechanic, the player should be able to step through this process: what? why? now what. This feedback loop is so ubiquitous and can be so integral to gameplay that, even when it isn't applicable, players still look for it, to the detriment of games like Telltale's. There are no "right choices" and, therefore, no "errors" that the player can make, so some players can get wrapped up in trying to recognize, diagnose, and recover from a perceived error that actually doesn't exist.
Recommended Look: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/