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"But you might as well not bother with items, 'cause you can run away easily enough; and even if they catch you, there's good chance they just want to shove you about, like bullies trying to push you into the opposite gender bathroom until your health runs out..."
Zero Punctuation on Remothered: Broken Porcelain

The first and foremost reason why players hate those Goddamned Bats, and the means by which many Ledge Bats send players plummeting to their doom....

Knockback is a Video Game simplification of basic physics where if a character is struck by an attack, it will physically push them aside some measure of distance*. Modern games featuring full physics engines can incorporate numerous factors (relative mass, speed, gravity/wind, etc.) to calculate the exact force and direction of it, while older and simpler (and by extension, Retraux) games will use extremely simplified rules, such as whether the attack originated from the right or left of the player and which direction the player was facing.

But regardless of its technical implementation, its actual effect on gameplay can be sorted into rough categories:

  • Flinching: Short-term knockback yields little more than a flinching animation and may interrupt whatever action the player was performing (which is most noticeable when it stops a time-intensive action such as a combo or a Charged Attack (and is a major reason why the latter can be seen as Awesome, but Impractical)). The knockback otherwise does not impede or interfere with player movement or control.
  • Knocked back: The most common manifestation of knockback interrupts the player's action and momentum and pushes them back a short distance (perhaps one or two steps); the character recovers their footing quickly, and the player is able to resume action in short order. If struck from behind, the character may be knocked forward instead, and may also take more damage.
  • Knocked down: In its extreme manifestation, the player's character may be knocked back a significant distance (and may even be sent flying through the air), and the player is unable to control them until the character comes to a stop and is able to get back up onto their feet again.
    • Knocked Up: No, this does not refer to pregnancy. In a few cases, knockback is mostly vertical, sending the victim high into the air. This variant mostly exists to facilitate combos.

In all three cases, knockback is usually accompanied by some measure of Mercy Invincibility so that the player doesn't have to worry about becoming "stunlocked", trapped in a Cycle of Hurting where the next hit lands faster than the character can recover from the previous.

Knockback can also be used strategically, as a weapon of its own: A player on the losing end of a Fighting Game may be able to trigger a surprise victory by knocking their opponent out-of-bounds, and (by extension) the Ring-Out Boss lives or dies by who gets knocked outside the arena first. A "Get Back Here!" Boss may defend himself by knocking the player out of their attack range, and on the other hand a player can scatter a Zerg Rush with it, to engage and defeat foes individually. And then there's the Good Bad Bug known as the Rocket Jump, exploiting the knockback of an explosive weapon to send the user airborne.

Of course, some enemies won't suffer any knockback (or even flinch) when struck by the player's attacks — for Bosses, which are typically larger than the player already, this may be considered a standard part of their Contractual Boss Immunity. Likewise, players may sometimes be given this advantage via a Status Buff (or as a property of certain moves), and sometimes it is the only way to survive That One Attack. In Fighting Games, being immune to knockback is sometimes referred to as having "Super Armor".

And speaking of strategic uses, knockback is all-too-often remembered for occurring during precision maneuvers, such as when making timed jumps across Floating Platforms; every videogame character has at some point been sent plummeting into Spikes of Doom, or down the nearest Bottomless Pit due to taking a hit at the wrong moment; it's the culprit for many a Game Over screen (as well as a few broken controllers).

"Damage boosting" is also a common Speedrun tactic, where the runner achieves Sequence Breaking by exploiting the knockback to reach areas too high and/or far away to reach with a normal jump, thus saving the time it would take to go and obtain the Double Jump/Grappling-Hook Pistol/whatever that is needed to get there normally.

If the player has a command to parry or block enemy attacks, this may reduce or eliminate the knockback associated with it (or it will result in a Knockback Slide, with the character still on their feet). However, defending also tends to block the Mercy Invincibility, which can become a danger of its own if the attack still inflicts Scratch Damage, or has the potential to overpower ("guard break") the character's defense.

If the protagonist is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, then knockback is rarely a concern (except for some of the aforementioned uses), but may still occur if the hit cost the player their current powerup of their current life.

See also the Law of Inverse Recoil, and for extreme cases, Blown Across the Room and its melee counterpart, Punched Across the Room.


Note: Because of its ubiquity in Video Games, please limit examples to strategic uses or unusual occurrences.

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    Action Adventure 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Receiving a succession of melee attacks including from explosive weapons causes immediate knockback with more heavy-damaging attacks inducing a knock down, while weaker attacks cause brief flinching. Enemies will also experience a flinch after their armor has been fully depleted.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The games have various enemies whose main power is having more knockback than most, and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games featured a ring that reduced knockback.
    • Some enemies (such as some bosses) inflict a Knockback Slide on you when you hit them. (Moldorm from A Link to the Past (and Link's Awakening, Four Sword Adventures, and A Link Between Worlds), as well as the Hardhat Beetles from the same games, are some of the most infamous examples.
    • In the original The Legend of Zelda, both Link and the enemies (some of which are sent flying all the way across the screen) are subjected to this effect. Link can actually get knocked back into another enemy and take more damage.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Knockback is a major part of combat. All weapon strikes will cause a flinching animation in basic enemies that will cancel their current action, while Link and large enemies are Immune to Flinching. Landing a full strike combo (four strikes for one-handed weapons, eight for spears and two for heavy weapons) will also cause full knockback on all enemies and send them toppling back and often ragdolling for a while before picking themselves back up. Likewise, powerful strikes by large enemies such as Moblins and Lynels will always send Link flying back several meters if they land. Link can also obtain a gimmick weapon, the Spring-Loaded Hammer, which causes low damage but deals increased knockback and will send enemies flying several times farther than normal weapons will.
  • Beyond Good & Evil: The final segment of the Final Boss suddenly ramps up the effects of the game's knockback — while present-but-negligible before, even a small attack will now result in the heroine getting totally decked. During one sequence of attacks, it is entirely possible to get "stunlocked" and make the fight Unwinnable until you inevitably die and get sent back to the checkpoint.
  • Deadly Towers has Prince Myer get knocked in whatever direction is opposite the way he's facing quite a distance without a way to stop himself. Unfortunately, this game also features Bottomless Pits.
  • Iji: Explosive weapons and melee attacks cause knockback, while weaker weapons cause flinching. This applies to both enemies and the protagonist. The knockback from some weapons reaches Blown Across the Room levels — Many secrets in the game can only be obtained by taking advantage of this.
  • Little Big Adventure, possibly due to bad programming, takes this to a new level where Twinsen always gets pushed backwards, no matter from which direction he received the hit. This leads to situations where sometimes, your best bet in trying to run away from enemies is to move backwards while facing them.
  • Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django: As a human, Django's weapons don't knock enemies back, but as a vampire, it throws them a fair distance away. Since it changes the entire game mechanic from sort-of-stealth Hit-and-Run Tactics to "run right in and thrash enemies until they die" tactics, it's a borderline Game-Breaker.

    Fighting Game 
  • Many fighting games feature "grapple" and "throw" moves, and knocking an opponent out-of-bounds can trigger a Ring Out in various titles.
  • Some fighting games, like Guilty Gear, have a pushblock mechanic that allows a defender to enter a state where the opponent is pushed away when their physical attack is blocked.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Iggy is able to weaponize his tendency of being a Gasshole where he latches onto an opponent's face and farts on them, resulting in a knockback, leaving the opponent stunned on the ground for a second.
  • The Super Smash Bros. series is based entirely around Ring Outs; characters do not have depletable HP, but instead receive greater knockback as they take damage, until they are inevitably thrown from the arena.
  • Some games, such as later The King of Fighters entries, take Knockback to an extreme, making some attacks capable of bouncing an opponent off the wall/floor in order to extend combos.
  • A key game mechanic in Dissidia Final Fantasy, in the form of Wall/Floor/Ceiling Rush. Essentially, many attacks send the opponent away from the fighter at high velocity. If an attack has the ability to wall rush, and there's a wall somewhere along the victim's trajectory, they'll slam into it for extra damage (base value of one-half of the damage done by the original hit in Dissidia, one-quarter in Duodecim). Interestingly, various attacks have various 'likelihoods' of wall rush — a lot have zero chance of rushing, no matter if your opponent is right up next to the wall/ceiling, some have wall rush for a certain amount of distance (e.g. Bitter End can wall rush, but the opponent recovers if there's no wall for a long way), and a very amusing few (Nightglow, Shadow Bringer, and Cross Slash, for few) basically have guaranteed wall rush — so long as there is a surface to slam into, the opponent will do it — even if the closest wall is hundreds and hundreds of meters away.
    • In fact, Cloud's fighting style is aggressively dependent on Wall Rushing. Almost all of his skills have a high chance of Wall Rush, and his most basic attacks will generally send the opponent flying into a wall (or enable a chase scene, if the wall is too far away). Abusing this mechanic is his raison d'etre: he's not just hitting you hard, he's hitting you hard, then slamming you into a wall for more damage while he rushes after you to rinse and repeat.
  • Sonic Battle has a similar mechanic to Dissidia above. Basically, every character's "heavy attack", as well as several special moves, can throw opponents across the arena (though not all the way across — characters automatically recover from being launched after a couple of seconds). A character who hits the wall in this state takes extra damage and collapses to the ground. Where it gets interesting is that upon launching an opponent in this way, characters can enter a special "pursuit mode" to lunge after the victim and — with a properly-timed press of the attack button — execute a special "pursuit attack" to spike the opponent into the ground for extra damage, whether or not the opponent has collided with a wall (though the pursuit attack is much easier to connect with after a wall-rush). Furthermore, the effects of being launched can be mitigated by holding in the opposite direction of the launch; this can even allow a character to, upon colliding with a wall, spring off the wall and negate the collision damage, entering pursuit mode in the process. If the character who launched them elected to chase after their victim, this leads to a mid-air Single-Stroke Battle where whoever executes their pursuit attack at the most opportune time deals heavy damage to their opponent.
    • Sonic Battle also features a few attacks with more "standard" knockback, where the victim is sent bouncing across the ground. This does not allow for pursuit mode or ukemis.
  • Skullgirls has a feature where your opponent is allowed to break out of an infinite loop if the game notices you performing the same sequence several times in a row. Knocking your opponent hard enough to make them bounce off of a wall will "reset" the loop, allowing you to continue attacking.

  • World of Warcraft featured knockbacks by various NPC mobs and bosses from when the game was first released, but players didn't get access to them until Patch 3.0, the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, when a small handful of abilities were given to various classes that would knock NPCs or other players back. NPCs don't take falling damage and can run up some sheer cliffs, so Knockback abilities are generally underpowered against them, but in certain limited circumstances Knockback effects can be very, very powerful in PvP.
    • Humorously, they can get so annoying in dungeons (they disrupt positioning and can knock enemies into reinforcements) that several classes have the ability to turn off the knockback aspect of the spell through the use of a glyph (Mages, Druids, and Shaman, for those who care).
    • The flinching ability is available from the start, however, in the form of various stuns as well as interrupts.
  • City of Heroes has three versions: knock back, knock up, and knock down. (In technical terms, knockdown was simply knockback of magnitudes of less than one, usually standardized to 0.67.) All melee classes (but not all melee defensive powersets) and the Leaping Power Pool had a power that resisted these effects. There also existed enhancements that provide the player with resistance to it, which are in very high demand, as most players hate being knocked around by enemies. There also exist enhancements for increasing the knockback in your own powers. Near the end of the game's life, they introduced an enhancement that reduced knockback to knockdown (by reducing its magnitude to 1% of normal), because many players hated chasing knocked enemies around with melee characters.
  • Champions Online calls it simply "Knock", as a catch-all phrase for knockdown, knockback, knockup, and what it called knock-to (which involves making an enemy fall towards your character).
  • As an action MMO, Dragon Nest practically requires players to exploit the various forms of this trope, as even Mooks can easily do the same. Resistance to this trope can be a Game-Breaker, especially in PVP.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has it in various forms. On the low end, there are simple 'interrupt' abilities that interrupt abilities being cast or channeled (and prevent them from being cast again for a few seconds, just so that the impact is felt even when an otherwise-easily-spammable ability is interrupted in this way). Then there are 'stun' and knockdown abilities that are as good as they sound (but also on very long cooldown), and finally knockback abilities that outright send the enemies flying.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has several player skills that can cause knockback to enemies, which is handy for interrupting attacks. Enemies also possess attacks that can knock back players for the same effect, and in some cases, can push them off the edge of the arena for a One-Hit Kill. In PvP, a properly timed knock back can make or break the match.

    Platform Game 
  • La-Mulana utilizes significant knockback. Touch even the slightest enemy or brush up against a spike, and Lemeza is sent sailing across the room at full velocity, with no ability to alter his trajectory until he lands. Although the damage is often trivial, that doesn't matter much if the knockback sends you spiraling down several screens, an all-too-common occurrence in the very tall Tower of the Goddess.
  • In the side-scrolling Mega Man titles, knockback always occurred relative to the direction Mega Man was facing, regardless of the direction of attack. In the "classic" series, it also interrupted charged Mega Buster shots (starting in Mega Man 5; Mega Man 4's Mega Buster was more stable), and in Mega Man 9, Proto Man suffered double the knockback from attacks compared to Mega Man.
    • The ROM Hack Rockman 4 Minus ∞ averts this for the most part... aside from the Jumbig, who has an incredibly large amount of knockback. In fact, it's possible to get catapulted into the next screen by touching him at one point in Toad Man's level!
    • The first Mega Man game did something that no other classic-era game has done since — namely, defying Contractual Boss Immunity and causing the Robot Masters to suffer knockback when struck by any attack, just like Mega Man. This is part of the most common strategy to defeat Cut Man, but it also turns Elec Man into a relative pushover.
    • In Mega Man ZX, one of few noticeable gameplay differences between Vent and Aile is that the latter balanced slightly faster movement speed with slightly stronger knockback effect. Noticeably, both ZX and its sequel Advent had an "Absorber" chip that once equipped eliminated knockback entirely, meaning that once you took a hit you only had a brief flinching period in place before you could act again.
  • The sidescrolling Super Mario Bros. games generally provided Mercy Invincibility without knockback, which allowed players to short-circuit the fights with Bowser simply by running through him and grabbing the axe at the far end of the arena. This was changed in New Super Mario Bros., where coming in direct contact with Bowser knocks Mario back, away from the switch at the opposite end of the arena.
    • Super Mario Bros. 2 zig-zags this in a rare Mario series example. If the player characters have three or more hit points, they get knocked back upon taking a hit. At only two hit points, they just shrink with no knockback. Of course, certain sections of the game make this troublesome.
  • Freeware Ninja Senki has all enemies (as well as things like falling rocks) deal hardcore knockback to the player character, with Mercy Invincibility being present but practically useless due to the abundance of Bottomless Pits.
  • In the Wonder Boy series (as well as its many ports), Mercy Invincibility only protected the player from further HP loss; it did not protect the player from being knocked back or juggled by repeated attacks.
    • The rocks in the first game, which were the only non One-Hit Kill hazard, tripped Wonderboy when he ran into one, potentially bouncing him into an enemy or Bottomless Pit.
  • Castlevania. :cough: Medusa Heads :cough: Bottomless Pits :cough:
  • In Crescent Pale Mist, both players and many enemies can be knocked back or Blown Across the Room from attacks, while the protagonist also has a launcher move to send her opponents upwards to use them as an improvised Goomba Springboard to reach higher places or dash jump even further than normal.
  • The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy made the player fall back and be stunned for a second when hit, often down the pit. The sequel, The Flintstones: The Surprise At Dinosaur Peak removed the knockback, although the stun effect remained.
  • The protagonist in Cave Story receives knockback only based on the direction he was hit from. This is an interesting case because while the character receives knockback, you're still in full control, enabling you to affect the distance of the knockback to a certain degree. In fact, the character rarely gets knocked back, but often forward or forward and up. Furthermore, abusing vertical knockback from crashing into a flying enemy is the only way to get a certain item without backtracking (or grabbing the Machine Gun).
  • The large knockback in the original MSX Valis, combined with the lack of Mercy Invincibility, frequently caused Yuko to be stunlocked and juggled to death.
  • The NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Like Mega Man, it always occurs opposite the direction you're facing. This can be a problem if constantly assaulted by Goddamned Bats during a platforming sequence.
  • In Holy Diver, knockback is a major hazard when fighting enemies near Bottomless Pits, which occur all too frequently.
  • In Viewtiful Joe and the sequel installment, any hit from a stage obstacle or enemy will knock Joe, Sylvia, or any other character to the ground, which will deduct from your final ranking whenever it happens in a "Just Go For It!" segment of the game, miniboss battle, or boss battle. By purchasing the move "Ukemi" in the game at some point (which requires a hefty amount of coins), with expert timing and a specific button combo, you can recover from the knockback just before you hit the ground and flip yourself back into the air, which recovers a heart in your health meter and rescues your ranking from being lowered. The same can't be said for the higher, insane difficulties that punish you for making any mistakes- Ukemi still recovers only 1 heart, which won't help you in dire straits or save face when you get your ranking after taking eight hearts of damage. Some enemies will actually deliver rapid and brief slashes, such as the ninja, that don't send the player to the ground on a hit, but make them flinch and leave them open to multiple hits until they suffer a legitimate knockback, which are impossible to counter when the player gets trapped in the Cycle of Hurting.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 has the Final Boss of the Sequel game in an arena where Sonic has to climb up a platforming challenge repeatedly to hit it. If it takes too long to hit the boss, it will spin Sonic and Tails around using gravity and forcibly blow them into a wall, forcing the loss of all your rings.
  • Nebulus has a variation in which getting hit by an enemy will cause you to fall to the next lower platform, which will cause you to drown if there isn't one. This is actually a useful way to reach otherwise inaccessible platforms.
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, it happens when Lomax is hit. Can be rather annoying if it happens while you're jumping over a Bottomless Pit...
  • Any hits in Prince of Persia, both by the prince and by his enemies, result in some knockback. Using this knockback to push enemies over ledge is a common strategy, and is required to defeat a skeleton in level 3, since it is immortal.
  • Yoshi's Island has knockback and flinching. In the former's case, getting hit will send you flying back a few steps while in the latter, getting hit while you're on the ground or are hit in midair and fall to the ground immediately has Yoshi shake his head in a daze for a second. Flinching is something you want to avoid as much as possible because you don't want to waste time with Yoshi being stunned while the timer to get back Baby Mario ticks down.
  • In Wario Land II and 3, Wario can't be killed (and in 3, he doesn't even drop any coins when hit, unlike II); thus, enemies knocking Wario back down to a lower part of the stage (or otherwise pushing him away from his objective) becomes the primary method of introducing difficulty.
  • Aladdin (Capcom) actually turned it's knockback into a good thing. Getting struck by an enemy bounces you straight up into the air and Aladdin becomes fully controllable again at the peak of it, so many is the time an enemy will actually help you reach a ledge rather than fall helplessly to your death. This is very prominent in the Cave of Wonders, where if you jump for one of the rising platforms too late and strike the lava underneath, you'll be bounced right up onto the platform and only lose a single heart.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Gruntz, some of the weapons have this, such as the Boxing Glovez and the Sponge Gunz.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2: When your character is hit by "impact" attacks (Explosive or telekinetic powers) he or she will stumble and move back a step or two. This is completely logical given that they are being hit by a physical force, but this effect is rather egregious when your character is hit while ducking behind cover. In this case, when you are already crouched down on the ground, your character will stand up before they stumble and take a step back. This means your character is deliberately moving out of cover, since they take an independent action (standing up) before they are uncontrollably knocked back by the force, instead of simply falling down or stumbling where they were.
    • Mass Effect 3: This is the primary criticism of the Geth faction in the multiplayer. Apart from the standard Geth Trooper, every Geth enemy you face has a stun attack. It's especially bad on the higher difficulties, since the Geth Prime fires its cannon in three-shot salvos.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has an effect that may apply to power attacks called "knockback". Mechanics-wise, this is more like "go completely limp" where you then have to struggle to your feet and hope the enemy doesn't pull one off again.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • A power attack will cause an opponent to stagger.
    • The Unrelenting Force shout has this effect. One word of the shout will stagger an enemy. Two words will cause them to fall to their knees. A full three-word shout releases a projectile that ragdolls enemies and sends them flying several dozen feet through the air.
    • One of the higher tier archery abilities, Power Draw, introduces knockback to arrows, half the time. Needless to say, the ability to stun an opponent at range over and over again is almost a Game-Breaker. The only reason it isn't is because it only affects creatures that are about as big as the player; dragons, for example, don't care about knockback at all.
  • In Diablo II, knockback is a specific effect that can be either part of an attack, or a modifier on a weapon. Knockback is guaranteed to make an enemy flinch and interrupt their attack, but it may take longer to kill enemies in melee because you'll have to keep walking up to them.
  • Minecraft Dungeons: Some weapons have it more than others, with the unique Doom Crossbow notably having this effect amplified.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, enemies are susceptible to fall damage, so the well-timed use of attacks with knockback on them can shove them off cliffs for an instant kill. Coupled with moves that induce the sleep status (Which are both difficult to dodge, and reduce the affected enemy's evasion to zero), this can allow you to kill enemies that are much higher leveled then you, and reap the overpowered rewards from it. For this reason, bosses are completely immune to knockback. Of course, enemies are also just as capable of doing the same thing to you, and with greater ease, as while your attacks only shove them back a few body lengths, their attacks can send the party flying about five times as far, with the added annoyance of almost always causing you to be dazed from the landing.
    • Also present in the game is the Topple status, which knocks the victim off their feet, and makes them completely unable to act or avoid attacks. It's essential to defeating some early bosses that can't be hurt while standing on their feet, and also turns into a bit of a Game-Breaker later on, as topple inducing attacks can potentially be chained together to the point where the enemy can never get up until they're dead.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has so-called 'reaction' status effects neatly fitting into all three categories, all of which can be used both by and against the player:
    • 'Break' moves cause attacks to be interrupted and movement to stop for a split second, besides making the inflicted character susceptible to being immobilised with a Topple move.
    • 'Knockback' moves cause the target to be knocked backwards a short distance while remaining on the ground. Like in the Xenoblade Chronicles 1 example above, this can be used to kill enemies by pushing them off cliffs, but only if there is no lip or rail on the edge.
    • 'Blowdown' moves launch the target into the air for a second, causing them to be knocked farther back and preventing them from attacking until they land and pick themselves back up. This can also be used to knock enemies over cliffs when Knockback moves wouldn't otherwise work. Most bosses have resistance to minor Blowdown moves, but strong Blowdown moves such as certain Blade Combo finishers can overcome this resistance.
  • Specific chips like Air Shot in the Mega Man Battle Network series have this property attached to them and are handy for getting your opponents into the appropriate range for followup attacks. They can also be used on the otherwise harmless Rock Cube chip to send it flying into a target, which causes an excellent amount of damage early on.
  • The Dragonslayer Greatbow from Dark Souls deal tremendous knockback, even when blocked. This is exactly the reason why the weapon is so feared: the damage isn't that great unless you stat for it, but in several maps, getting hit by just one can spell an early doom by getting knocked back into a Bottomless Pit. You get to know this firsthand by having two snipers with said Greatbow sniping you from high atop a perch while you traverse a fenceless buttress. The archer also gets a little knockback from firing it, something that no other weapons do.
    • Dark Souls also has the Poise mechanic. Heavy armor (or enchanted items) will make it less likely for you to be knocked back by damage. With zero poise, even a barehanded punch will stagger you. High enough poise and you'll be able to tank multiple Ultra Greatsword attacks. Effects such as the Iron Flesh pyromancy go one step further: enemies who attack you with light, one-handed weapons will suffer knockback themselves as their weapons bounce off your skin.
      • Despite your poise, however, certain attacks will still launch you skywards or flatten you like a pancake. And poise doesn't effect your damage resistance, only how you react to taking hits.
    • On a lighter note, we also have the ability to Parry, which causes a bit of flinching to open up your target to a counterattack (or 'riposte' as it's known in-game). The caveat to this is that you have to have your timing down when you parry or else you'll miss it and take full damage. Certain shields are good for parrying, and increase your ability to do so, and potentially also increase the damage you cause once your parry connects.
  • In Live A Live, there are certain skills that cause the targets to be pushed back a square or two, negating any charging skills they might have been using. While supremely annoying while trying to pull off some of your most powerful attacks, it can be used to your advantage by constantly delaying the enemy's most devastating skills.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Vesperia, certain characters can have a special trait called "Glory" that prevents them from being knocked back. This was actually dangerous against some enemies, since characters with Glory would take multiple powerful hits when normally they'd only take one hit and be knocked away.
    • On the subject of Symphonia, knockdowns on both enemies and allies induce long periods of invincibility (unless the knockback is teched). Combo-centric players would forgo knockdowns to keep an enemy in a combo for as long as possible, but may note that somehow, an enemy gets knocked down anyway. This is because there's actually two separate knockdown states in the game: Technical and Inevitable. Technical knockdowns are done intentionally by the player, but inevitable knockdowns happen when a combo goes long enough to prevent infinites, though you can just restand them if you see it coming.
  • In Faria, getting hit by enemies can make you slide quite a few yards backward.
  • Path of Exile has knockback as part of a few skills, such as the Shockwave Totem, as well as in the form of a support skill that can be linked to any active skill. One particular unique item adds knockback to any skill equipped to it and makes the knockback pull a target towards the source of the hit. Enterprising players can get a lot of use out of the ability to drag an enemy around the map.
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, stronger enemies are capable of inflicting this onto you, with there being a talent you can invest points into to make the chance of that happening smaller.
  • In Torment: Tides of Numenera, any attack which inflicts Energy damage will push its target away from the attacker. The target will take extra damage if this pushes them into a wall or another obstacle.
  • Divinity: Original Sin and Original Sin II: "Knocked Down" is a Status Effect that can be inflicted by a variety of attacks, from the advanced Earthquake spell to the lowly Sucker-Punch. Since it renders the target helpless for a full turn, it's an important factor in the Player Character's offensive strategy and Anti-Debuff defenses.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Doom:
    • Doom was one of the first FPS games to implement basic physics for knockback, generally tied in with how damaging the attack is. Most notable is its use in accessing the third episode's secret level. A good shotgun blast or rocket hit was also the only way for non-flying enemies to fall off high ledges. The physics behind are also surprisedly sophisticated for such an early example, mainly that enemies had varying mass that also affected how readily they can be knocked back, and having a value that can give a weapon/projectile higher or lower knockback, relative to its damage (which generally can only be tweaked using source ports or mods). For insistance, the chainsaw delivers no knockback to insure it has the intended effect of ripping into targets rather than pushing them away.
    • Doom³: Shotgun Z-Secs and Pinky Demons have both deliverable sizable knockback, the former bordering on Blown Across the Room, and can result in stunlock.
  • As mentioned, Rocket Jumping is a common technique exploiting the blasts from explosive weapons.
  • GoldenEye (1997) and Perfect Dark have a knockback for the player if they get shot. This also stops the player from shooting for a brief second. Combine this with several enemy soldiers and you're bound to lose more than half your health while unable to to fire back. Luckily, the enemy AI is programmed to stop firing for a moment and then resume. Perfect Dark Zero also has it, making enemies that duel-wield machine pistols especially dangerous, with the possibility of stunlock.
  • Medal of Honor: If an enemy catches you off-guard at close range with an automatic weapon on Hard difficulty, you may be stunlocked. Conversely, because the attack is hitscan, the knockback doesn't affect the enemy's aim, so they can continue shooting at you while apparently flinching. The snipers in Allied Assault not only deal the most damage and knockback of all mooks, but they also fire at a higher rate than the rifle infantrymen.
  • In Team Fortress 2, regular attacks have an amount of knockback generally proportional to damage and only something like the Heavy's minigun does enough damage for this knockback to significantly impede movement instead of just messing with aim. There are some special cases which do much more: explosives, the Scout's Force-A-Nature, sentry guns (which can be even harder to deal with than its damage, especially since the default Ubercharge does not protect against knockback), melee Critical Hits, and the Pyro's airblast (which does nothing but knockback). Probably the most bizarre thing is that damage over time (fire, bleeding) causes upward knockback for the sake of messing with the user's aim. The Soldier's Mantreads and the Quick-Fix's Ubercharge reduce knockback by 75% and 100% respectively.
  • Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! have various skills, abilities, and shields that dictate both how much knockback you can give to enemies as well as how much you receive, all in the name of playstyle, such as crowd control or melee builds. For instance, in Borderlands 2, melee-focused character Krieg the Psycho has a higher overall weight than the other Vault Hunters to support his playstyle, reducing knockback and preventing him from being so easily pushed away from a target. Salvador the Gunzerker from the same game has a Megaton Punch skill that causes enemies to fly across the room when he belts them. In Pre-Sequel, Claptrap the Fragtrap has a skill that causes enemies to be blown away from him if they hit him with a melee attack.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3 implement a "stopping power" system where being shot slows the player's movement toward the shooter. This was added to prevent players from charging through a hail of machine gun fire for a close-quarters execution with a shotgun. In addition, smoke grenades in 3 (and post-patch 2) cause a flinch effect, while in 1 and pre-patch 2 cause full-on knockback, though they deal no actual damage in either case.
  • In P.N.03 the amount of knockback varies with the amount of damage inflicted by an enemy attack, with the strongest attacks blowing Vanessa clear across the room. In some cases, Vanessa mysteriously is knocked forward.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • While War Craft III doesn't feature knockback, the trope's omnipresence is such that it's a very rare (custom) map that doesn't have this mechanism (such as Defense of the Ancients and its variants). It does feature plenty of ways to stun enemies or interrupt their casting.
  • Dawn of War has knockback for artillery and some units. Justified for some (Super-Strength, Psychic Powers, etc), but it does get a bit ridiculous when the Kroot (lanky hollow-boned bird-men) are upgraded to knockback units such as seven-foot-tall Power Armored Space Marines with the same ease as ordinary Guardsmen and Gretchin. Also a fallen unit ordered to move will do so while playing their "get up" animation, so they end up gliding majestically along the ground before getting up.
    • The Mad Dok's Burna Bomb does ridiculous amounts of knockback. Seeing one go off in a crowd is a thing of aerial beauty.
  • Myth 1 and 2 have a flinch mechanic that is fairly central to gameplay as it allows certain rock-paper-scissors balancing. For example, the fast but unarmored Berserks can often kill heavily armored Warriors by whaling on them fast enough that the Warrior can't get a swing in from all the flinching. However, the same Berserks have a tough time against archers, as being hit causes the Berserk to stop running while he flinches—making him an easier target. Those heavily-armored Warriors are less likely to take damage from arrows, and still less likely to take enough to flinch.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth has an entire game mechanic centered around knocking enemies into a chain of allies to incur massive damage and have a chance at stealing an item, but unfortunately setting up such a chain leaves your party very vulnerable so it's only useful for eliminating the last enemy on a map.
  • The Final Fantasy Tactics series has knock back as a strategic use. Knock backs (whether by abilities or a critical hit) will always push the character back one space and if they get shoved off a ledge or cliff, they'll suffer fall damage on the way down (enemies that float won't suffer fall damage).
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark has several abilities, like the Mercenary class’s Forceful Strike, that can push the target back one space. They’ll take extra damage if the ability pushes them off a ledge or into a wall, and if a unit that can’t swim falls into a body of water, they drown instantly.
  • In Into the Breach, many attacks will push the target back, or fire down on a specific point or area and push units on adjacent units outward. This is an integral part of the game mechnics, as knockback can prevent enemy attacks from reaching their targets, or send an enemy into an environmental hazard or another enemy.
  • In Tactics Ogre, attacking with a shield has a big chance to knock the enemy back but deals miniscule damage. It has a similar use with the example on Final Fantasy Tactics or to permanently kill enemies that stands near a Bottomless Pit, unless they have Flying walking type because they won't forget that they could fly in situations like that.
  • Worms games include the Prod attack, which does nothing except a small knockback. A skilled player can use this for various types of Cherry Tapping, such as sending the enemy off a cliff high enough to take Falling Damage, into the water, or onto a land mine.

  • Dwarf Fortress has knockback as a possible effect of blunt attacks, launching the enemy a short distance calculated according to a staggering number of different variables. In previous versions this was insanely but hilariously overpowered, with even fairly unremarkable warriors able to launch opponents six or seven tiles. The recent combat mechanics overhaul makes knockback possible with all weapons, now that slashing or piercing attacks are re-rolled as bludgeoning ones if they fail to overcome the target's armour check, but for better or worse it also severely nerfed it.
  • Hack-and-slash Die by the Sword has a knockback system calculated by its complex physics engine, involving the strength of the swing (which is itself determined by character movement speed and mouse swing speed) and the relative sizes of the both characters (the larger Orcs will knock the smaller Kobolds around with even minimal mouse movement). Useful when knocking opponents into environmental hazards like spinning blades, bottomless pits, or lava.
    • Both characters' weapons also get knocked back in a successful block, which directly affects their position for subsequent moves.
    • The knockback is explicitly exploited in the "Ogre Hockey" arena of the expansion pack, where the whole point is to knock the "ball" character into the opposing team's goal.
  • Tecmo's Captain Tsubasa, extraordinary strong shot and tackle techniques include a knockback effect that sends weaker oppornents trying to intercept the user across the field in an exaggerated fashion.
  • In Märchen Maze, enemies and hazards cause knockback instead of direct damage, which is an effective threat because the levels are entirely on Floating Platforms.
  • The player's projectiles in The Binding of Isaac knock many Mooks away in a random direction. This seems to have been done specifically to make it harder to line up multiple shots in a row against enemies that are stationary or advancing toward the player. Red Maws in particular get knocked even further than others, and Gazing Globins' corpses slide out of the way when they die, making it difficult to land the one or two extra shots required to stop them from resurrecting.
  • Progressbar 95: Touching a pop-up or Clippy pushes the progress bar very slightly, but typically not enough to be dangerous by itself. Touching an Electricity pop-up, however, pushes the bar back through about 40% of the screen, which can easily cause problems if it's pushed into something undesirable.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
    • The Chard Guard uses this to hit groups of zombies backwards. It can only use this three times, however.
    • The Mecha-Football Zombie does this to your entire row of plants, pushing them all backwards and flinging those closest to the lawn off.
    • When the Punk Jam plays, the Punk Zombie gains the ability to kick the plant in front of them back to the closest space (or off the lawn if there isn't one)
    • The Primal Peashooter shoots boulder-like peas that sometimes knock back zombies.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Fan Works 
  • Daystar: One of Taylor's staple combat Charms, the Heaven Thunder Hammer, allows her to send opponents flying dozens of feet with a single blow. This doesn't actually make the blow any more damaging, however, except insofar as it can be used to fling enemies into a wall or the like.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Lancer: Certain weapons, abilities and Ramming attacks can inflict Knockback on enemies, blasting them back a given number of spaces depending on the armament and the size of the mechs involved; this is considered one form of Involuntary Movement. Some mechs can be immune (like the IPS-N Drake engaging Fortress Protocol) while other mechs are especially vulnerable (the HA Barbarossa's Charged Attack is completely reset by any involuntary movement). The IPS-N Caliban in particular is completely built around Knockback, having augmented strength and the massive shotguns to abuse it with: Everything it packs has Knockback of some kind, and its traits let it count as Size 3 for Knockback purposes despite being Size 1/2, chase after the unfortunate target at the exact same speed and incapacitate them once they inevitably crash into a wall.
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution, being hit with TK Push or TK Blast sends the victim flying.
  • Despite the utter ubiquity of this phenomenon in video games, the actual Trope Namer for it is not a video game. The term "knockback" was first used to describe this effect in a game by the creators of Champions and the Hero System. When video games came along, the term had become so widespread among tabletop gamers (having migrated from Champions to GURPS to Dungeons & Dragons) that it was natural to call it this.
  • In TSR's Dungeon! board game, the rule for receiving a light wound in combat involves dropping one treasure and moving one space back. The same happens with serious wounds in the Expert Game, only with more treasure lost. In the Basic Game, which lacks the "Wounded" status, being lightly wounded also means losing a turn.

    Web Comics