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"There is one feature I will happily abase myself before: mid-boss checkpoints. This is a game where a boss can be the size of the moon and have eleven health bars. Chipping the first ten away only to be killed by a casual elbow to the face is frustrating enough without having to take it from the top."
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, Zero Punctuation, on Bayonetta

Anti-Frustration Features are instances in a game where the established rules of the game are suspended/modified under certain circumstances, or a particular effect that happens when the game deliberately helps you out during a specific situation.

Usually an example of an Obvious Rule Patch to prevent Unwinnable situations from developing, such as if a given Boss Battle mandates the use of one specific weapon with limited uses (be it Breakable Weapons, Cast From Hit Points, or a simple lack of Bottomless Magazines).

It can also occur in other situations, but those are fairly rare.

See also Acceptable Breaks From Reality for when it is the rules of reality that are changed. Can sometimes lead to some slight backlash, and take the form of Suspicious Videogame Generosity. Not to be confused with Mercy Mode. Direct opposite of Classic Video Game Screw Yous.

Examples of Anti-Frustration Features include:

Action Adventure

  • In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood one of the Lairs of Romulus requires you to cut down counterweights with a projectile. The counterweight you find at the end of a long platforming sequence has a chest nearby which replenishes your knives and bolts in case you got all the way up there with no ammo left.
  • When you die in Beyond Good and Evil, you're usually sent back to a checkpoint near the start of the room or the area you're in. You'll have half your regular health, and any items you may have used in the interim will be gone. There are two exceptions, however: The Looter's Caverns and the Final Boss. When you lose a Looter's Cavern, you're sent back to the start with whatever health you had when you entered (full, if you're smart) and any items you used during the challenge are returned to your inventory. Since the Looter's Caverns are... annoying, this is quite a boon. The Final Boss has a checkpoint halfway that's the same way.
  • Iji gives you a pre-made Resonance Reflector for your tennis date with the final boss, just in case you didn't have one yet. More acceptable than usual, since otherwise it would be impossible to win on the hardest difficulty level.
  • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, during the third boss fight, which can only be killed by hitting it with arrows, then feeding it bombs, if you run out of either of them, the machine will "sneeze" out a few extras to compensate. Weakly justified in that this particular boss is merely testing your strength, which, as we all know, has nothing to do with how much you can carry.
    • Similarly, in Ocarina of Time, the boss in the Shadow Temple drops arrows and magic jars every time you shoot its hands, since you need the Bow and Arrows and the Lens of Truth during the fight.
      • This is true for most post-NES Zelda games; if you need a particular weapon (such as bombs or arrows) to beat a boss battle, you can count on them being available during the boss fight in case you run out.
        • Such as King Dogongo in Ocarina (Bomb flowers) or Odolwa (Arrows) — in fact, Odolwa has plants that drop arrows and hearts, and they regrow.
        • Not so with the 6th boss of Links Awakening who can only be hurt by bombs. If you run out, you have to warp to the start of the level, restock, and try again.
        • Trinexx, the boss of Turtle Rock in A Link to The Past, can initially only be hurt by attacking his fire-and-ice-spewing heads with their opposite elements. If you run out of magic power to use the Fire and Ice Rods, however, his elemental breath attacks will have a chance of leaving a small magic container behind.
        • Also in Twilight Princess. While escorting Telma and Ilia to Kakariko you fight King Bulbin for the second time. You will need bomb-arrows and everytime you run out of them (or didn't have any to begin with) Telma will give you some.
    • Likewise, in the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin, the last two bosses can be killed only if you throw apples at them, and more apples appear every time you run out. In addition, if you fail the Rug Ride level enough times, the game will automatically skip you, giving you a "Nice try" message.
      • Similarly to the Rug Ride thing, losing all your lives to the inexplicable buzz-saws and acid pits (and the floor itself, if you fall off the trolley) in one of the early levels of Mickey Mania will not earn you a Game Over, as the game will Hand Wave you to the next area with a message to the effect of "Mickey has broken all the trolleys so he walked instead". Why didn't he just walk to begin with? It had the apple thing too, but with marbles.
  • Fail enough times at any of the Oni Island races in Okami and the game will start going easier on you. This can include changing the timing of the obstacles, slowing your opponent, or putting platforms over spikes. There is a reduction in the reward for winning each time, but it does help those that are less proficient at this sort of thing.
  • Another Zelda example, Spirit Tracks will have your train magically flip in the direction you want to go when exiting a station or a portal.
  • Uncharted makes liberal use of checkpoints, especially in platforming sequences and gunfights. Typically if you do a "milestone" of sorts, the game will mark it as a checkpoint. Unfortunately, gunfights are likely to kill you more often than the platforming sequences.
    • Among Thieves played this rather oddly at times. Sometimes it was inverted (arbitrarily losing your gun after a chapter transition, despite having no reason for your character to do so), sometimes it was accidental (skipping ahead to another checkpoint after death even if you hadn't quite reached it) and sometimes it was unnecessarily played straight (like in the part where you have to fend off the first Yeti/Guardian and your gun has unlimited ammo for no apparent reason).

Adventure Games

  • Ghost in The Sheet has two arcade sequences; you can use a command to skip them if they're too difficult for you (the rat one you should probably be able to get on your own; good luck with the fireflies though).

Bullet Hell Games

  • The Scarlet and Netherworld teams in Touhou's Imperishable Night have special abilities that help prevent wasted bombs: Scarlet drops an extra bomb item if you die while still holding one or more, and Netherworld gives you an extra bomb if you finish the stage with fewer than the starting three. Normally, bombs held at death are just lost.
    • Undefined Fantastic Object and Ten Desires from the same series do something similar for all characters: if you die with more than the starting two bombs, you keep the extras (including pieces).

Edutainment Games

  • In the edutainment Super Solvers game Treasure Cove!, you use bubbles to attack things and move around the level. To obtain bubbles, you have to shine your flashlight at the bubble station a few times to pay for them, and bubbles could in turn be used to capture starfish, who reward correct answers to questions with more flashlight energy. Since you could, if you tried very hard, waste all of your bubbles and light, the game would place electric eels on the next screen you swam to to give you a free energy boost, rather than leave you to swim around a now-Unwinnable game.
    • This also applies to all Super Solver games. Treasure Mountain! and Treasure Math Storm! have the same thing, if you swap flashlight for coins, and electric eels with coins laying on the ground.
  • The Living Books games, back in the day, had long load times on computers that were rather slow. To compensate for this, the developers distracted the users with the cursor being a running man as the game loaded.

Fighting Games & Beat 'Em Ups

  • In Battle Fantasia's story mode, continuing after defeat will start you with a full level on your MP bar. This continues up to level 3, after which you are given infinite MP.
  • The campaign mode of Dissidia Final Fantasy is set up almost like a board game: You move your character's piece around the various boards, expending 1 Destiny Point per move, interacting with Mooks, bosses, treasures, and the like. Destiny Points are depleted, though some boards give you opportunities to recover some, and are linked to bonuses for clearing the board and for Story Points, the overall score at the end of the board. Story Points are awarded based on the percentage of the character's remaining HP (90% health is worth 90 points), number of engagements (10 points per) and number of remaining Destiny Points (again, 10 per) and penalized based on number of retries (minus ten per) and a Destiny Point total in the negative numbers (again, minus ten per). The final boards of the game's final story mode have neither Destiny Points nor Story Points, meaning that the player can challenge the Final SNK Boss as many times as they need to in order to finally win without great penalty. Nice of them.
  • The The King of Fighters series, starting with KOF 98 allowed you to continue with a slight advantage upon losing (such as reducing the enemy's health to 1/3 its normal length or starting you off with a full Super Meter).
    • Though against the final boss, it doesn't really help much.
    • In the remakes of '98 and 2002, failing any combination of the challenge games 100 times unlocks everything in the game automatically.
  • The otherwise insanely-powerful-even-for-an- SNK Boss of Arcana Heart 3 score attack, Parace, starts with less life each time you continue. After losing to her a dozen times or so, she'll start with about a quarter of full health and can be taken out with a single blaze — if you can hit her.
  • Skullgirls has a feature that allows someone being stuck in an infinite combo loop to break it with a single button press.

First Person Shooters

  • If the player loses enough times in a Brothers in Arms game, the player is given the option to replay last checkpoint with full health, instead of whatever health the player left off with. In the Road To Hill 30 game, it even tells you "War isn't fair, but a game should be."
  • During the boss fight against the Giant Venus Maneater in Bulletstorm, you never run out of PMC ammo. If you happen to run out, you instantly spawn another full clip.
  • If you find an infinite ammo crate in Half-Life 2, expect to use it liberally.
    • Also in Half-Life 2, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon upgrades your suit to allow it to heal much faster and more energy (as well as HP) from the wall-mounted recharge stations.
    • In the one battle that doesn't have an infinite crate for the one type of ammo you need, infinitely-respawning allies will provide you with the ammo you need.
    • Cherish those times when the Combine takes away all of your normal weapons, because the process "accidentally" supercharges your Gravity Gun. Not only are its normal abilities much more effective, you can grab and throw other people like dolls. The raw power is... heady.
  • When fighting the Anticlimax Boss of Halo 3, Sgt. Johnson gives you a spartan laser, which at the time is the only weapon capable of doing damage. It doesn't matter if you brought in a fully-loaded rocket launcher or fuel rod cannon, they're useless here. Luckily, the laser has infinite ammo, so you don't have to jump off the edge when you run out of charge. Though if your aim was so bad you would've shot all six blasts a SL usually has while trying to take down the final boss (who is even weaker than the Grunts), you might as well have jumped.
  • Developers' commentary for Left 4 Dead states that it's a major feature of the Director AI: It will try to estimate the survivors' stress levels and give them breathers if they seem to be fatigued by constant combat. Conversely, It'll also spawn hordes of the Infected if they try to Take Their Time.
    • When you go down, your survivor pulls out their Pistols to defend themselves until someone helps them up. In Left 4 Dead 2, you can discard your Pistol or Magnum for a melee weapon. If you happen to go down while having a melee weapon, your character will pull out a pistol from nowhere, allowing you to defend yourself until you get help. This lets players have less worry about incapacitation, knowing that they will have something to fight with even if they hold a melee weapon. This rule also applies to Chainsaws, which will be tossed away and traded for a Pistol once the Chainsaw runs out of gas.
      • The rule also applies for players in Left 4 Dead 2 who have died, but are revived from a Magical Defibrillator. Upon death, the player will drop all weapons and items they were carrying except for their secondary weapon (Pistols, Magnums, or a melee weapon) so that when they get revived on the spot, they will have a weapon to defend themselves with should their fellow survivors loot their body beforehand.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the Light, Dark, and Annihilator beams that require ammo to use. Some enemies are only vulnerable to certain beam weapons, and some doors only open with those weapons, too. Even if you run out of ammo, you can still fire the beams by charging them up, but they shoot normal shots instead.
    • Also, if you happen to run out of ammo while fighting the third form of Emperor Ing, he'll gracefully summon a bunch of cannon fodder mooks that drop health and ammo when killed.
  • Portal makes use of AFF throughout both games such as guiding you towards open portals that you'd otherwise just miss, plus you can move yourself out of an infinite fall between a ceiling and floor portal in a way that would not be possible in real life. The main character is equipped with leg springs that protect her from fall damage, you can't slice yourself in half by placing a new portal when you're half way through one, etc.
    • The second game also has one specific instance near the end of the game where you need to keep one end of a portal open on an excursion funnel and fire the other portal at a critical moment to avoid a trap. Normally if you accidentally fire the portal that the funnel is projecting through the funnel would be cut off entirely and you'd fall to your death. For this one particular instance, if you accidentally fire that portal, the other one will silently take its place, keeping the funnel open and avoiding a plummet to your doom because you forgot what colour portal you opened earlier.
      • It does this twice, actually. The second time is with the most awesome portal ever. You know the one.
        • It does it in The Part Where He Kills You too.

Hack and Slashers

  • The Devil May Cry series invokes this in later games. In the third game, dying a few times on normal mode unlocks easy mode; in the fourth, dying to a boss three times in a row automatically gives it a handicap in future fights.
    • Which can actually feel pretty insulting to some players, especially since the fourth game doesn't tell you it's handicapping the boss until after you beat it and doesn't allow you to refuse. This can ironically frustrate some gamers even more.
  • Any time you die in Drakengard 2, you're allowed to keep whatever experience points and gold you acquired before dying—the Game Over screen outright tells you "Select 'Yes' to retain your experience points."
  • The God of War games will traditionally offer you a chance to drop down in difficulty if you're consistently dying in the same area again and again...which falls apart when the difficulty levels only change combat difficulty, and you're far more likely to die repeatedly on the platforming sections. If you continue from the same checkpoint enough times in a row with low health, it also begins respawning you with slightly more health each time.
  • In Diablo II, when you die, you respawn in the nearest town with no equipped items or gold. To get your items back, you need to go back to where you were killed and recover your own corpse. This is often unfeasible, especially on higher difficulties, because the enemies that killed you are still hanging around your corpse and now you have no weapons to defeat them or armor to survive them. Thankfully, you can restart your game and your corpse will appear in town with all the items intact and only the gold gone.
    • This was a consequence of not having this option in the first Diablo in multiplayer mode. Imagine your prized gear on the floor surrounded by monsters right at the entrance of the level waiting to chomp down on you.
    • In the third game, some bosses spawn weak monsters whose sole purpose seems to be to drop health orbs when killed. This is so the game is not by definition over should you run out of potions during the fight. The respawn rule is even more lenient: you just go back to the previous checkpoint. Inferno difficulty seems to be tuned with endless respawns in mind.

Maze Games

  • In Bomberman 64, before the big boss fights, Sirius provides you with Remote Control bombs to make the fight easier.
    • That's until you get all 100 Gold Cards from the first five worlds, and Sirius reveals himself as the real villain. From that point on, in the earlier big boss fights you'll have to bomb open a little container to grab the Remote Bombs.
  • In the first three Bomberman Land games if you lose in a minigame too many times the employee will eventually ask you if you want to skip the minigame and get your price instead.
  • In the often maddeningly difficult Atari Lynx/computer game Chip's Challenge, it's actually stated in the Windows version's Help file (not sure if it's stated anywhere else) that Melinda, the one giving Chip the titular challenge, likes persistence and will let him go to the next level if he fails enough times. Given that many of the game's levels require just the right combination of speed, skill, intelligence, and plain dumb luck, it's nice to have something to keep you from pulling out that last clump of hair.


  • In City of Heroes, the XP Debt that you accrue from dying is temporarily suspended during zone invasion events when an area of the gameworld is overrun by hordes of aliens, zombies, etc. Also deaths that occur inside the Rikti Warzone only give half as much debt as in any other zone.
    • The addition of the Patrol feature, where you gain a double XP bonus based on how long you are logged out, helps even more. Now when you die are defeated, some of that bonus is taken away. Although, if the bonus runs out it's business as usual.
    • There's also the streakbreaker feature, which prevents missing too many attacks in a row (if your tohit is high enough, it will kick in after one miss).
  • In the Korean-made driving-based MMOPRG (or MMO driving game, or whatever you want to call it) Drift City, if you fail a mission, trying it again slightly lowers the requirements. Failing again lowers them even more, and so on. Useful for those who aren't yet able to afford enhancements to their car to pass the time-limited missions.
  • The Gaia Online minigame Gaia Cards has you playing blackjack against different dealers. Each of them have their own cheat: one dealer can pull out an ace out of nowhere, one can redraw her hand, etc. Fortunately you, as the player, have a frustration meter that, when full, allows you to cheat by looking at the dealer's hand.
  • In Grand Chase, even if you lose all of your lives and don't continue, you still get to keep your GP, EXP, and quest items (and complete quests).
  • An extension of the Me and My Nemesis Quest in Kingdom of Loathing has a fiendishly difficult volcano puzzle that requires a lot of patience and careful mapping to work out. Fortunately, there's an option to skip it for a loss of 10 adventures if you don't want to go through all that trouble, though you miss out on two of the quest rewards if you do that.
  • Maple Story has a death counter that allows you to respawn when you die against a lore boss without any consequences, though there’s a set amount of deaths before you fail the boss fight. This is because while a boss may not have an instant kill attack, many lore bosses have abilities that do a set amount of damage.
  • Especially in the newer quests, RuneScape has a tendency to have quest givers give you small items that you need to complete the quest. This is especially nice when you've trekked out ten minutes to the dungeon and only then realized that you forgot to grab a hammer or a chisel. Also, if they ask you to go to a location some distance away, they'll frequently offer to teleport you there, saving some teleport runes or the need to walk that whole distance.
  • World of Warcraft has several of these:
    • In the Burning Crusade expansion, Blizzard introduced a "dynamic respawns" system which scales respawn rates to the rate that mobs/items are killed or collected. This backfired somewhat as it often caused mobs to instantly respawn on top of players, especially in the first weeks of the expansion, preventing them from resting or looting and making crowded areas an exercise in Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat!. Still, it beats the old days when crowding made certain quests a matter of racing other players for infrequent spawns.
    • One of the reasons that quest items cannot be sold to vendors is that they often look identical to Vendor Trash items, and no one wants to try to complete a quest only to learn that they accidentally sold their "Pristine Bear Tooth" and are trying to hand in an ordinary animal tooth.
    • Dungeons. In the original game going to a dungeon involved finding five people on your server willing to go. Then every one of you would have to make your way to the dungeon, for the first forty levels by foot. This dungeon could be located on a different continent. If someone dropped out after you'd arrived, a lot of time was wasted. If you had a warlock only three people had to come themselves, and the others could be summoned. Many of the dungeons were also surrounded by labyrinthine tunnels, often full of elite units. Eventually meeting stones were introduced, located near to dungeons, and allowed two players to summon the rest. The newer dungeons also tended to be located in less inconvenient places, and the final boss was located near an alternate route to the exit so players didn't have to go all the way back through the often very large dungeons to leave. All of this pales beside the changes worked during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. It introduced the "dungeon finder" system. A player puts their name on it as their character type, and the game automatically searches through everyone in the system on all servers in the same geographical area, enabling players to sign up and then carry on with other tasks until a group is found. Once that's done, it gives party members the temporary ability to teleport between the dungeon and wherever they were.
    • In patch 3.2, the drop rates of quest items were made dynamic so that players would be guaranteed to eventually find the items they're looking for.
    • In patch 3.3, Blizzard finally caved to all the players who used addons that marked the map with the locations of quest givers and objectives by implementing a system for this into the core game. Never again was "Where's Mankrik's wife?" heard in the Barrens...
    • In patch 3.3.3, quest items in your bags/bank are highlighted with an orange-yellow border so you can find them among dozens of other items, some of which have the exact same icon.
    • In the Cataclysm expansion, most new dungeons were given a teleporter that allowed you to skip to various points in the dungeon if you wipe and have to run back in, and this feature was also present in some raid dungeons. For example, in Grim Batol, once you defeat the second boss, the drakes near the entrance will fly you to the end of his hall, and after defeating the third boss, the drakes will take you to where you fought him.
    • Many bosses in various dungeons have a mechanic to reset them. Normally, hostile NPCs in dungeons will pursue fleeing players until the players are dead or have left the dungeon. If a group gets wiped out to the last man by a tough boss, regrouping can be a slow, annoying process. Fortunately, some bosses will not pursue fleeing players to the ends of the earth. Instead, they'll despawn when pulled out of their throne room and reappear in their starting point a few minutes later, so any surviving players may have a few minutes to resurrect their fallen teammates in peace, saving a lot of time and aggravation. Note that some bosses don't do this, and some bosses trap players in with them when the encounter starts, meaning that there's no middle ground between victory or death, so this may be a Good Bad Bug.
    • The total lack of any anti-frustration features is why the archaeology secondary profession is so loathed. No ability to focus on digsites you want. You only get 4 digsites a continent and what site you get after clearing one is determined purely by RNG, no relation to how many rares or commons you have completed of a race even if you have all of them it won't stop them from appearing just as frequently. The digsites you get on a continent are selected from a handful of preexisting sites so on a continent that is "balanced" toward a particular race this can be aggravating. There are only 4 continents and each continent has at least one race exclusive to them (Outland has Draenei and Orcs, Northrend has Vykrul and Nerubian digsites which exist off Northrend but are exceedingly rare, Kalimdor has Nightelves which again are exceedingly rare outside this continent and Tol'vir and Eastern Kingdoms has Dwarves) so you don't have an option to leave if you want a particular race. Also Troll digsites are common enough in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms and Northrend that they just get in the way.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic implemented a whole list of these in patch 1.2, including being able to access vehicles in certain areas, being able to jump right past orbital stations when returning to your ship, and in general cutting down on the Fake Longevity.


  • In the first three Crash Bandicoot games, if you failed at a level a certain number of times, the game would give you a free Aku Aku mask (an extra hit point).
    • Continued failures also sometimes turned some of the '?' crates into checkpoints, or made new, steel checkpoint crates (so as to not mess with the 100%-boxes rewards).
  • If you run out of ammo in Earthworm Jim, the ammo will slowly refill, but only up to 100 shots, which translates to about a second or 2 of rapid fire, the only possible firing mode.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy and its spinoffs, it is usually very easy to accidentally save in an Unwinnable situation. Unless you regularly backup your savefiles or use the savefile editor program a fan eventually created, you're out of luck. However, one fangame, Pickory automatically backs up your old saves and lets you undo a bad save just by pressing backspace.
  • Metroid games in general tend to bias Random Drops items in favor of items that you need: If you're low on health, you'll see more health pickups.
  • Realizing that "Nintendo Hard Platformer" is a frustrating enough formula, the developers of Mirrors Edge added completely unnecessary and impractical (for the enemy) visible-to-naked-eye laser sights to all enemy-wielded sniper rifles, giving the player at least a vague idea where they should run without being one-hit-killed by an enemy they could neither reach, nor even see.
  • In New Super Mario Bros Wii, failing a level at least eight times activates the "Super Guide"; selecting it will let you watch a CPU Luigi play through the level. The player can resume control at any time, or let Luigi finish the level and then choose to either try it themselves or advance to the next stage. A similar feature was included in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns. It does come at the cost of One Hundred Percent Completion, as even causing the block to appear (after losing eight times) the stars you get on your save file won't twinkle.
    • It happens again in Super Mario 3D Land with the gold Super Leaf, only this time, it's if you lose five times.
  • Mega Man starts with three items and Rush Search in Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity. In addition, dying three times on the final EscapeSequence causes the spikes to turn green and only do one damage, in addition to giving you more time.
  • Fail a mission in the first Sly Cooper game enough, and you'll start it with a 'lucky horseshoe', moving you from a One HP Wonder to a Two HP Wonder. Later games used a Life Meter, making it unneeded, although at times if you died in a mission with a 'Do Something X Times' theme, it would let you keep the ones you did already. Sometimes.
  • Sonic Heroes: During some boss fights, the players can gain level 3 with one orb container.
  • In the Game Gear/Sega Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog, the labyrinth boss battle takes place completely underwater, but you cannot drown on the stage. Instead there are no air bubbles and the drowning timer has been turned off.
  • Super Meat Boy, being the Nintendo Hard twitch-platformer it is, has several Anti-Frustration features that are actually part of the core of the game.
    • One such feature is that respawn after death literally take less than a second and is automatic. No more "PRESS R TO TRY AGAIN", yay!
    • The levels themselves are short, from 15 seconds to 90 seconds, so in the quite likely event you die, you don't have to go through too much again.
    • Various little side-quests when you get too frustrated with the main game, like beating past levels in record time, collecting bandages to unlock new playable characters, or playing through retro-styled "warp zones".
    • When you finally do beat a level, the game then shows you a replay of all your past lives doing the level simultaneously, which is good for showing you where the hardest parts of the level were. It's also kinda hilarious to see a cloud of Meat Boys get shredded to half their number by a giant saw.
  • In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, if you die during the second phase of the Final Boss, you'll completely skip the first phase upon re-entering the boss room.
    • This gets inverted while in the sub-stages marked by the star-shaped portals. Throughout this game (and the series in general) a door is usually a checkpoint, but not the ones that separate the obstacle course and mini-boss areas. If you lose to the mini-boss, you get kicked out of the sub-stage entirely.
  • In Epic Mickey, Mickey's reserves of Paint or Thinner will slowly refill to one-third of their maximum if they ever fall below the amount.

Puzzle Games

  • There have been countless versions of Breakout, a game in which you attempt to destroy a brick wall by bouncing a ball off your side-scrolling paddle against said wall, taking out a brick with each hit. One version will let a player try to get the very last brick on each level, but will eventually destroy the thing automatically and move on to the next level.
    • One variant of Breakout is called Baku Baku Block. There are many different versions of it, but the basic idea is, instead of having blocks, it has a picture, which you "destroy" to reveal a different picture behind it. (Naturally, this lends itself to H-Games.) Almost all versions automatically detect when a part of the scene is unchanged and consider those parts to be pre-destroyed, to prevent it from being impossible to see where certain blocks are.
    • Hyperballoid makes a special bonus float down if three or less blocks are left in the level; catching it instantly teleports you to the next one, so you don't have to repeatedly try to send the ball exactly right to hit the one remaining brick.
    • Magic Orbz eventually zaps the last few blocks in a level with lightning if the player is unable to hit anything with the ball within one minute.
    • Alpha Bounce has the Javelin, a weapon that is normally accessible via a power-up that destroys an entire column of blocks. When you get down to the last few blocks, however, it becomes freely accessible after a charging period, which gets shorter as you get closer to zero blocks remaining.
  • One Looney Tunes Game Boy Color game had a slider puzzle (the kind where you have to slide a bunch of tiles around to make a picture). After enough tries, you could ask another character to do it for you.
  • Tetris Blast's Contest mode will give you a break if you managed to destroy almost the entire stack of blocks. If only a few blocks remain, the next several pieces you get will be made entirely of bomb blocks, enabling you to quickly make a big bomb and finish the level.
  • In the Tetris the Grand Master series, the first piece of each game will never be an S, Z, or O, because an S or Z on the first piece forces an overhang, as well as an O followed by an S or Z. The games also heavily bias the randomizer against dealing a piece that has occurred in the last four pieces, so droughts of a single piece (such as the ever-crucial I) are rare. The second and third games also initialize the history to ZSZS, so that an S or Z in the first three pieces is also exceedingly rare.

Racing Games

  • The rewind feature in Forza Motorsport 3 takes this trope and runs with it. Are you getting to the end of a long endurance race, only to take a turn wide and crash into a wall? No problem! Just hit the back button, rewind, and take the turn again instead of restarting from scratch.
  • In Gran Turismo 3, if you fail a License Test requirement enough times in a row (I don't know how many, but it was an ungodly number) they'll give you an unlisted prize called "Kiddie Prize" lower than Bronze that would let you technically pass that portion of the test, albeit with a horrendous score.

Rail Shooters

  • In Star Fox 64, the boss of the planet Zoness can only be beaten with Nova Bombs. Ran out of bombs on your flight through the level? No problem-the missiles the boss shoots at you each produce a bomb when shot.
  • The fourth Time Crisis game moves away from hard science fiction by including bioengineered monstrosities as opponents. The termite-like things rush at you in a line and are almost impossible to beat without using a machine gun, and the literal Goddamn Bats appear in swarms and can only be handled with a shotgun. Fortunately, your NPC ally will give you his extra ammo if you run out during those fights.

Tabletop RPG

  • In any such game, especially games like Dungeons and Dragons, resurrection. At lower levels, if your character dies, he's dead and you probably aren't all that attached so you roll up a new character. Once you've worked up to mid levels, you probably don't want your character to stay dead but fortunately by this point you usually have some means to get your character raised.
  • Also, the presence of a Game Master is meant to be a built in Anti Frustration Feature as they can rule differently on anything that unduly kills the fun, if they're doing their job correctly.

Real Time Strategy

  • Starcraft II has a few cases of this kicking in. Forgot to evacuate your SCVs on Redstone during a lava surge? Raynor lets 5 new ones airdrop to get things running again. On a more general note, the defeat menu lets you easily restart a mission on a lower difficulty, and the game saves progress automatically quite often.

Rhythm Games

  • In the single American version of Beatmania IIDX, if you are playing on Hard Challenge mode and your Life Meter falls below 30%, the penalty for BADs and POORs will decrease.
    • This has been used since 9th Style in the Japanese releases, and applies to Hard, Expert Courses, and Dan'inintei Mode. Of course, Konami seems to have used this as an excuse to make the Dan'inintei courses use harder songs.
  • In the DJMAX series, beginning with DJMAX Portable Black Square, if you hit the wrong key for a note, you will still get the full percentage for it, but only get 80% of the points. The inclusion of this has proven very controversial among fans, because now you can full-combo or get 100% on a song without even hitting the right buttons at all.
  • A new feature added in the sequel to Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan was the ability to continue a song once after failing, rather than having to start over from the beginning. However, this can only be done on the easiest difficulty, and not on the final song.
  • Newer releases of Pop N Music and Pump It Up will always give you a second stage even if you fail your first one.[1] This allows you to utilize the first stage to practice more difficult songs or songs that you are not confident that you will clear.
    • This is also true for Drummania, Guitar Freaks (as of V6, at least, but probably earlier) and IIDX (at least as of Sirius, and again, probably earlier).
    • In DJMAX Technika, you can run out of Life Meter on the first stage of Pop Mixing and still get a second stage. On the second stage, running out of life won't end the game immediately, but you won't get a third stage. On stage 3, running out of life is an automatic Game Over. The same, however, cannot be said of Technika 2.
  • If you fail a minigame in Rhythm Heaven enough times, you can talk to the barista, who will let you skip that stage and go on to the next one.
  • More recent Guitar Hero and Rock Band games have a "no fail" feature, so you can finish the song no matter how badly you screw it up.
    • DJ Hero, unlike the other "Hero" games, never featured a meter showing the general quality of your performance, making failing a song impossible.


  • Despite its punishing difficulty, Dungeon Crawl will stop you from executing a staggering amount of foolish actions. The game will stop you from doing certain things that would otherwise outright kill you (walking into deep water, auto-moving while starving), and will ask for confirmation on potentially risky actions (moving adjacent to deep water while confused, stepping into dangerous traps while badly injured). You're still likely to die for a thousand other reasons, but at least the game is rooting for you.


  • Custom Robo for lets you give your opponent an HP handicap if you lost to them repeatedly. If that's not enough, losing even more lets you give them even higher handicaps, up to taking away 75% of their health from the get-go.
    • In the GCN game this overlaps with Easy Mode Mockery in the epilogue, as it lowers your score twice (you get penalties for losing and having to retry and for using a handicap, and beating the high score in each area unlocks some stuff).
  • The original Deus Ex. A laser sensor blocking a section of the hallway in an underground tunnel: I could lockpick the hatch to the canal that bypasses it or... oh, hey, is that an EMP grenade in the sewage pipe? An army of military drones patrolling an airport cargo yard: I could just elegantly sneak past them or... oh, hey, is that a multi-shot guided missile launcher on the guard tower table? Long stretches of water: you're guaranteed to find rebreathers nearby. This made some of the more specialized nanopowers pretty useless, since you could always count on the designers to cut you some slack and provide helpful gear — to the point of being patronizing.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a lot of these. An early example would be in Lothering, when you can pick up Sten, a powerful warrior who joins you without any equipment for plot reasons. This early in the game, you can hardly afford to buy any armor for him, so he looks pretty useless... right up to the point when you loot an entire set of decent heavy armor during an unrelated side quest.
    • A more prominent example is in Orzammar, which is widely seen as one of the toughest sections of the game. Since you can and will be attacked in the street, even in what would be a safe area in any other of the game's cities, the game autosaves every time you come out a doorway, so on the off chance you get wiped, you won't lose too much progress.
  • Dragon Quest IV has an Iron Safe, an item which can be obtained by Torneko during chapter 3. It prevents a regular 50% money loss when being wiped out during battles.
    • Dragon Quest VIII does not have such safe, but unlike other games, all four characters will be revived and completely healed after you've been beaten, making a game over less painful as you don't need to spend more money reviving them.
  • In Final Fantasy XII you can go after the Elite Mark Yiazmat, who has fifty million HP. The battle can take hours. But don't despair! Unlike every other battle, you can use a nearby Crystal to save your game. In addition, as long as it didn't cast Regen before you left (which would basically reset its health to max — unfortunate if you dropped it so far it Turns Red), you could grind your heart out elsewhere and it would remain at the same HP it did as when you left.
    • Hell Wyrm works the same way, just has less HP.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, normally, a loss is a loss, whether the normal enemies or the bosses take you out. However, in certain boss battles (Xaldin being one of them), defeat instead continues the battle with Mickey Mouse taking over for your party temporarily. He can't actually defeat the boss, though; instead the main purpose is to initiate an Action Command to revive Sora at full HP. If Mickey gets defeated, Sora will revive anyway but at partial HP. Mickey can intervene multiple times (even during the same boss battle), but the chance of him showing up decreases each time, with the fourth and beyond having the lowest probability.
  • In Lufia Curse of the Sinistrals, the DS remake of Lufia II, whenever you get game over, you have the option to either continue with the levels you had when you died, or to continue with the levels of your entire party raised by five.
    • Similarly, Final Fantasy VI allows you to retain all EXP earned since your last save if you are defeated in battle; in all of the other games, you just get kicked back to the title screen.
      • However those stat point increases from Espers? You don't keep those. Enjoy having permanently lower stats.
  • In Okamiden, ink doesn't regenerate over time, unlike the previous game. Instead, they gave you twice as much ink, an item to restore three full bottles (Spirit Ink, and it restores more at larger sizes), and put things that drop ink restoring pickups everywhere, some of which respawn, as well as making bosses drop said pickups. It's still possible to get into an Unwinnable situation, so they gave you a redo option on the pause menu, which returns you to a nearby place.
  • Riviera the Promised Land allowed you to retry a boss again and again, cutting out some of their HP until they reached 25% of their original life. A family of Palette Swap Bosses also blow you away if you anger them in the battle... And you can go back and engage them again after walking back to their screen, with the HP you whittled away from them never regenerating, and only your rank and reward suffering.
  • Fail a (fairly simple) multiple-lights puzzle enough times in Shadow Hearts: From The New World, and Johnny will simply kick in the doors it was locking.
  • Tales of Hearts has several "light up all panels in a 4x4 grid by walking on them at the right order" puzzles you need to do in a row. If you take too long to solve any of them, your party members will offer to do them for you. They'll be happy to demonstrate that they're smarter than the protagonist for the first 2 times, but from the 3rd time onwards, they'll mutter angrily about your incompetence while solving it.
    • Similarly, Tales of Phantasia has a puzzle that challenges you to hit a series of switches at the same time as your computer controlled ally, who just refuses to walk straight at a consistent pace and keeps stopping, speeding up and slowing down randomly. If you, playing as Cless, fail to hit the switches with Arche enough times, your other two party members will take over, hitting all the switches in record time.
    • Also similarly, in Tales of Legendia, the party comes across many puzzle chambers where they must make use of the Sorcerer's Ring to solve them. Whenever they feel like it, the player can ask a party member to solve it for them. Doing so at any single puzzle room locks a Title away from you, however, but hey.
      • Moses offers similar help in a forest maze but getting the help loses you a title for Senel.
    • Also present in Tales of the Abyss, where at one point you must sneak through a forest without being spotted by enemy guards. Failing this five times, the game gives you the option of simply attacking said guards.
      • There is also the short "re-draw the fonic glyph" minigame, where Tear will do it for you if you fail. Unlike the above example, however, you rob yourself of Hundred-Percent Completion this way (at least unless you do it right the next time).
    • In Tales of Symphonia too, you have to do an ice puzzle across a geyser. If you mess up, the character with the highest affection will save Lloyd, and then Kratos will do the puzzle for you.
  • In the Baten Kaitos games, dying to a boss will allow you to modify your decks and start the boss fight over from the beginning, as opposed to kicking you to the title screen like normal deaths do. You'll be thankful for it; bosses in these games are hard and tend to have long-winded Exposition Breaks before the fight.
  • In Pokémon Colosseum, if you fail to snag a Shadow Pokemon from an enemy trainer, you had to refight that trainer — in the case of bosses, with noticably improved teams. In the sequel, Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, a failure to snag resulted in said Shadow Pokemon being stolen by Miror B, a preferrable fight because a) his team was considerably weak throughout the entire game, save for what is essentially a Bonus Boss fight for One Hundred Percent Completion, and b) his battle music was one of the best tracks in the series.
  • In Chrono Cross, you can run away from literally any fight in the game. If you're losing to a boss, you can escape, and while some of them will just draw you back into the fight, it'll at least reset your elements and give you a chance to heal.
  • The various Shin Megami Tensei games have as a central mechanic the fact that you can fuse demons together to get new, more powerful demons. Only recently, in Devil Survivor, did they add a feature to let you look up fusion combinations for certain demons instead of working it out with a fusion chart and a guide. It also finally allows you to choose inherited skills instead of leaving it up to the whims of the Random Number God.
  • In Mass Effect 3, there are several weapons and upgrades that you can pick up during missions, as well as items required to complete minor Fetch Quests. If you miss the opportunities to get these items, then they become available to purchase on the Citadel, so they are not Lost Forever or Unwinnable By Mistake (with the exception of a few secret weapons).
  • In The Elder Scrolls Skyrim you have a limited inventory—it is loosely based on the amount of stuff your character could feasibly carry, divided into units—so your character starts with a capacity of 300 units, and gold ingots "weigh" one unit, a heavy armor helmet weighs maybe five units, so on and so forth. Every item in the game you can put into your inventory has a weight—including bees, flowers, and butterfly wings (thus making Skyrim a place where steel ingots and five butterflies weigh the same). There are only three exceptions to the weight rule: Lockpicks, of which you'll burn five or more per high-level lock, easy. Arrows are also weightless, so being a bad shot isn't so painful. And lastly, the game's currency is also weightless. Thank Divines.
    • Quest items also weigh nothing despite having a weight value (particularly helpful as quest items cannot be dropped), although this can actually lead to problems. If you pick up a common item that's also used in a current quest you can't drop any of them until the quest item is removed by the game (for example, returning the item to it's owner).
  • When you're infiltrating the Shinra Headquarters in Final Fantasy VII, you have to try and sneak past several patrols of armed soldiers. If they see you, you're forced into a fight. However, if you botch it four times, you'll have ended up killing all the guards and you can just continue on.
  • Pokémon added these little by little throughout the generations:
    • Generation II added Steel and Dark types to better balance the gameplay, since Psychic-types were unfairly broken in Gen I.
    • Generation III added natures that determined how each individual Pokemon's stats would grow.
    • Generation IV let you go underground to hunt for evolution stones, though this in and of itself could be a test in patience.
    • Generation V really started upping the ease, though. Not only did the player get a free Lucky Egg (an item you once had to farm for by catching or using Thief on wild Chansey), but TMs were now re-usable, so you could teach different Pokemon the same move as many times as you wanted.
    • Generation VI: Free lucky egg, re-usable TMs, and Pokemon Amie. The last thing automatically boosted the EXP your team gained if you raised their friendship high enough. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire upped the ante by letting you fly to individual routes, rather than just towns and cities.
    • Generation VII's biggest anti-frustration feature may be the best one of all: getting rid of the need for HM slaves. No longer did you have to fill a slot in your party with a 'mon you were never going to battle with, or teach useless HM moves to your team! Instead, the Ride Pager was introduced so you could call upon various Pokemon to ferry you across the water, break through rocks, push boulders, and fly you from place to place.
      • Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee may have the Alola games beat, however. Not only could your starter learn the HM moves now known as Secret Techniques, but you could access Pokemon storage through your bag! You could swap Pokemon to and from your party without having to boot up a PC, making it easy to level up and evolve any you needed to complete your Pokedex. Also? You could change your Pokemon's names by yourself. The option came as part of the menu when you selected a Pokemon.

Shoot 'Em Ups

  • The Flash Game Bubble Tanks had Level Drain as a mechanic- when you killed enemies, you collected their bubbles as experience points. However, if you took any form of damage, you would lose experience points depending on how strong the attack was. Thankfully, if you get hit one too many times in an area, the next unexplored area will usually contain harmless Pinata Enemies who cannot attack and tend to drop a lot of experience bubbles.

Simulation Games

  • In the original The Sims, advancing up one's career ladder requires your Sim to have a certain number of friends. For example, reaching the level ten job in the politics career track, Mayor of Sim City, requires a whopping seventeen friends. This is made even more difficult by the fact that relationships degrade by a few points every day regardless of what you do, and once the relationship score falls below a certain threshold, the friendship ends and must be restored. It's very difficult for a working Sim to have enough time to form and maintain so many friendships. However, the friends requirement is actually household friends, not personal friends, meaning that the friends of all the people in the working sim's household count toward his friend total. A classic strategy is to have one Sim work and a second to do all the socializing.
  • During one mission in the first Trauma Center that requires you to work on five Kyriaki patients, if you've got at least three of them done and run out of time, the backup team takes over and you move on. However, you still need to finish working on the current patient with the time limit at 0. If the patient dies, you don't get this relief, and the Medical Board will be notified.
  • In Crimson Skies, if you fail a mission repeatedly, you get the option to skip it.

Sports Games

  • Punch Out for Wii features an interesting rule — if Little Mac loses 100 matches he is allowed to fight with protective headgear. Unfortunately, this rule applies to all boxers — and after KO'ing the 1-99 Glass Joe for your first fight, guess who your first opponent will be when you're defending your title?

Survival Horror

  • In the first Silent Hill game, if you run out of bullets at most times, you're in trouble, but if you run out of bullets in the last boss fight (or simply enter with none in the first place) the boss keels over dead straight away.
    • Ditto for Silent Hill 2. Upon entering the boss without any ammo, the game then becomes a timed battle, with the boss dropping dead upon the timer running out.

Third Person Shooters

  • In Gears of War 2, there are parts where you have to use your lancer's chainsaw bayonet to cut through obstacles blocking your path. No worries if you drop your lancer to pick up another gun, though, as there is always a lancer on the ground somewhere near the obstacle.
    • Also found in the first Gears of War game, where any time you absolutely need a Hammer of Dawn to progress, one will be found somewhere nearby. This is made even more obvious by the fact that two will be found side by side. This is even more required to avoid headaches than the obstacles in the sequel. The Lancer actually has some motivation for you to keep it, but the Hammer of Dawn is a worthless piece of trash when you're out a boss fight that needed it, since the satellites always seemed to be out of alignment shortly after completion (or you had to go indoors).
    • On the other hand, when you do get the chance to use the Hammer on ordinary Mooks (for example, when a Seeder is protected by a Mook Rush), it is awesome.
  • The final scene of Max Payne is unwinnable without a grenade launcher (or any other explosive) and a sniper rifle. And just in case you run out of ammo, the final group of Mooks has two guys who wield just those two weapons. You'd wonder what use are they in THAT situation...
    • Similarly, the final boss in The Warriors can only be defeated by throwing a knife at him after you get his health down a certain amount. If you managed to fudge it up, the boss will send mooks after you with knives.
    • In the third game, your health will reset to full if you die and need to go back to a checkpoint, even if you were on the verge of death when you trigger it.
  • In the tanker chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2, if you have 4 out of the 5 photos Otacon needs, but the timer is nearly expired, Otacon tells you to forget about the last photo and get out.
    • Also, on some difficulties, Snake will offer to beat up the drones that are attacking Emma while she makes her way across the water, as long as you have them in your rifle sights.
    • There's also an anti-frustration feature built into the guards' AI. When an enemy spots you they will run off to take cover and call for backup, at which point Alert Mode is activated and reinforcements arrive. Running into a loading screen (like transitioning between maps) before the enemy finishes his call to HQ resets the map as if nothing happened. Since the game grades your sneakiness on the number of times you enter alert mode, and not the number of times you are caught, some speed-runners use this as a shortcut. However, getting caught by a CYPHER or surveillance camera would instantly activate Alert Mode.
      • Unfortunately, Metal Gear Solid 3 changed it; enemies will instantly go into Alert Mode if they spot you and delaying the call to HQ only affects when backup will arrive.
    • Throughout the entire series, starting from the first Metal Gear, you can always get unlimited ammo by getting said ammo, leaving that part of the map and go back in for more. You never really run out of ammo unless you decide to just keep going.
  • The Ratchet and Clank series lets you retain all the experience for your weapons and maximum HP if you die. Plus, you've got an infinite number of lives, so dogged persistence will eventually get you through any part of the game.
    • But it doesn't help that at times, the last checkpoint was five minutes ago and you have to go through a sequence again.
      • A Crack In Time features puzzles that make you use several versions of Clank to stand on multiple switches to open the door to the next section. If you fail enough times, the game will give you the option to skip the puzzle, but you won't get any bolts.
  • In the first Splinter Cell game, the final step of the final level requires you to snipe the Big Bad with a head shot. Fortunately, there is a magazine of rifle ammunition conveniently placed on the railing of the balcony from where you need to take that sniper shot.
    • Also, he may be the only body the player doesn't have to worry about hiding.
  • In Warhammer 40000 Space Marine, when your game autosaves it doesn't save your health. If you die with a sliver of health left after the autosave, you revive with full health.
  • Whenever a situation arises in Sniper Elite V2 that requires a lot of bullets to solve, you will always have nearby a box with a full refill for your sniper rifle, just in case you've managed to run out to get to that point.

Wide Open Sandboxes

  • LA Noire has an option to let you skip an action sequence if you fail it three times in a row, along with letting your partner drive to a destination you set to avoid bad driver penalties, or as a form of fast travel.
  • In The Simpsons Hit and Run and The Simpsons Road Rage, if you fail a mission five times, it lets you skip it. However, Hit and Run doesn't allow it for the final missions, though. Preventing many from finishing the game. Unfortunately, doing so also skips the cutscenes you see after completing the mission, resulting in some confusion (for instance skipping the last mission of the first stage will make you have no clue why everyone stopped suspecting Mr. Burns or the black vans).
  • In The "Destiny's Child" mission in Saints Row 2 You have to use flash bangs to separate the title boss from his human shield Shaundi. Don't have enough? Well DC was kind enough to leave some lying around.

Non-Video Game examples

  • In the book Heir Apparent, there's a 'cheat' in the game that makes the game easier to play, and the characters act out of character to help the main character if the main character starts to cry.
  1. unless, in Pop'n, you're playing in Cho-Challenge mode