In a realistically portrayed fight, a fighter who gets knocked to the ground tends to have a hard time getting back on their feet unless their opponent allows it. Not so in Video Games, which have to make this ability to quickly return to action possible, or else the (NPC) opponent could make the game Nintendo Hard or even impossible to complete. If taking a single hit, when you can still take more, is functionally a game over, this causes every attempt to be a No-Damage Run, and completely counters the point of even having defense at all, slower characters who rarely hit first, or many other game mechanics.
So, one safe way to counter an opponent's strategy of Attack! Attack! Attack!? Grant that strategy to the player. The Recovery Attack is where a fighter can attack while recovering from being knocked down. They may still be able to be damaged, but the ability to return fire causes the player's character to have a safe way of stopping damage, and starting to turn things around.
Contrast the One-Hit-Point Wonder.
Not to be confused with Healing Shiv.
- In X-Men: Next Dimension, these are called Tech(nical) Attacks.
- Travis can perform one to recover in No More Heroes. When crowded by enemies, this can knock them back giving room to plan and counter-attack.
- In the Super Smash Bros. series, a Recovery Attack can be performed both from knockdown and when hanging from a ledge on the end of a stage to make a safer recovery. However, once a fighter's damage exceeds 100%, the fighter's ledge recovery attack typically has a slower animation but deals slightly more damage.
- In the Viewtiful Joe games, Joe has a move called Ukemi where he can recover, decrease damage taken, and counterattack all in one.
- In Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, one of the special moves when you are knocked down involves using The Force to propel yourself off the ground and kick the enemy directly in front of you in the chest, knocking him down, in turn. The animation time of the move, unfortunately, means you might not be able to move out of the way when your opponent uses the same move, potentially leading to a kick-falldown-kick loop.
- In Undercover Cops, it's possible to do one of these when button-mashing. It doesn't do a lot of damage but it gives some breathing room.
- Present in Kingdom Hearts series as an ability that can be used if you get knocked back with sufficient force. Needs to be used with caution against enemies that are Immune to Flinching, as it can lead to receiving more abuse if you time it poorly, due to the lack of invincibility towards the end.
- Sora's version of the Wargoyle boss in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance can also use this against the player. Attacking while it's down can get you caught in a pillar of flame.
- Shows up as an ability in Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
- Heihachi can do this in the PlayStation 2 version of Soul Calibur 2, where he jumps up from lying down on his back and kicks with both feet. Throughout the rest of the series, most characters can only use rolls away or quick stands to get back up.
- Several characters in Tekken (where Heihachi originates from) can also perform this handspring technique on wakeup starting in the third game.
- Heihachi is also the only character in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale with wake-up attacks, whereas everyone else can merely roll forward or backward (he can low-kick to sweep enemies off their feet, or roll forward into a lunge/cross chop).
- All of the classes in Dragon Nest are capable of performing this if knocked down or knocked into the air, with different variations of attacks with each class, from the Cleric performing a Ground Pound to the Archer doing a spinning kick.
- Double Dragon II on the NES has the Hyper Uppercut and Flying Knee, both of which are executed by a button press while your character is crouching as a result of getting up from a knockdown or a fall or landing from a jump. The timing is pretty tricky but these moves are very powerful, and if you can time it correctly, you can chain as many Flying Knees as you want since each one causes you to jump.
- Wake-up Attacks are possible in Mortal Kombat 9, where they can consume some of the super meter if used instead of an evasive roll.
- Asura's Wrath has a rage-based twist on this; press A after taking significant damage from a pushback attack, and Asura defies all gravity with a somersault and heals a portion of the damage.
- The Ranger class from Dungeon Fighter Online can use it's Windmill/Topspin kick after being knocked on the ground when a certain passive skill is acquired.
- In Kane and Lynch 2, if you are knocked down you can still crawl to nearest cover, get up and fight back.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo has a rising uppercut that can function as this, along with somersaults and other varieties.
- Violent Dong Dong from Dong Dong Never Die, being an SNKBoss-tier character, always gets up from a knockdown with a kicking motion that can hurt his opponent if they don't back off while he's down.
- The all-class skill "Downed Fire" in Brink allows a person to fire their secondary weapon while down but not completely dead yet.